Our guide to Melbourne Design Week 2019

Melbourne Design Week opens today and will run until 24 March. Its extensive and varied program brings together leading designers, artists and thinkers to respond to the central theme of Design Experiments, in addition to addressing the five “big ideas” of Reconnecting with Birrarung, The War on Waste, Materials, Possible Futures and Inclusive Cities. We’ve picked out a few events and exhibitions from the 200-strong program that aren’t to be missed.

Welcome to Wasteland

Welcome to Wasteland presents projects by makers from a range of creative disciplines who are addressing Australian waste issues as not merely an obligation, but as “an opportunity of crisis”. Indeed, no chance to minimise waste has been overlooked in all aspects of this project, right down to the website (run by solar panels) or the text printed on the wall (done using an EBS 250 handheld inkjet printer with a highly-efficient cartridge).

Co-curator Dale Hardiman (along with Tom Skeehan) explains of their approach to the creation of the exhibition: “How can we attack the issue of waste through every way possible?” Standouts from the thought-provoking and fascinating array of pieces include a lounger made of denim pulp by Danny Ngo and Adam Goodrum; a table constructed with 3D-printed components, made from old 3D-printed parts melted into extrusion, a whipper snipper and a shower screen by Mark Richardson; and Ebony Heidenreich’s sculptural wall lights crafted from clay water waste collected from the studio’s silt traps.

Green magazine will present Welcome to Wasteland – An Intimate Chat on Monday 18 March at 6:30pm, bringing together six designers to discuss their submissions for Welcome to Wasteland. Stay tuned for a recording of the talk.

Dates: 14-24 MAR, 11AM-5PM
Venue: Compound Interest, 15–25 Keele St, Collingwood


Designwork 03 The Supply Chain

Curated by Guy Keulemans, The Supply Chain is a group exhibition of works by leading Australian designers focusing on the supply chain and materials of design. Elliat Rich and James B. Young’s Strata Stratum Stratus uses augmented reality to blur the line between tangible and intangible materials; Jonathan Ben-Tovims An Ode to the Airbag takes a generally hidden but ever-present device and elevates it into an alien, pulsating tower; Dale Hardiman has created interior furnishings out of building offcuts and waste and Blake Griffiths’ Wreath of the Darling Martyrs; a crown of eternal life is a mesmerising work crafted from olive oil-tanned bony bream fish skin that must be seen to be believed.

Dates: 5 – 23 MAR, TUE–SAT, 11AM–5PM
Venue: Sophie Gannon Gallery, 2 Albert St, Richmond


Material Thought: exploring material through the work of innovative Australian designers

Modern Times examines material beyond the superficial through showcasing the work of some of Australia’s most innovative furniture, lighting and object designers. Highlights include The Cosmos Coffee Table by Ebony Heidenreich – a softly swirling, curvaceous form rendered in recycled clay offcuts – and Alterfact’s Field Kit #1, which has been 3D-printed in porcelain and raku clays sourced in Victoria.

Dates: 14-24 MAR, MON-FRI 10AM-6PM, SAT, 10AM-5PM, SUN, 11AM-5PM
Venue: Modern Times, 311 Smith St, Fitzroy, 3065


How do we build the next generation of affordable housing?

Presented by MGS Architects, this panel discussion unites representatives from government, housing associations, the development industry and the design sector to analyse what makes for a functioning and productive city.

Date: Fri 15 Mar, 6pm–7.30pm
Venue: NGV International, Clemenger BBDO Auditorium (enter north entrance, via Arts Centre forecourt)


Circular Thinking: Design Your Own Circular Food System

Part of a series of hands-on workshops presented by Assemble Papers, this workshop on food and food waste in urban systems explores two key questions: how do we design a sustainable food system? What is the role of an individual household in the city-wide food system, and how can we be better citizens?

Date: Thu 14 Mar, 4pm–6pm
Venue: Arup Melbourne, 699 Collins Street (entry via Sky Park), Docklands


Waterfront: Reconnecting with Birrarung

Open House Melbourne presents a program of events that investigate and explore Melbourne’s relationship with water and our urban waterways. Among these are River Swim: a cruise through the Yarra’s historical swim sites and Water Sensitive Urban Design in the City: a presentation on the water-based design interventions in Council House 2 which includes a tour of the building.


Toxic City? Symposium

Local and international experts will come together to analyse the problems facing our cities and ask how we might build cleaner, healthier, more resilient cities to confront the systemic issues that are poisoning them in the first place.

Date: Tue 19 Mar, 2.30pm–6pm
Venue: NGV International, Great Hall


Victorian Design Challenge – the Waste Challenge Live Pitch

On Tuesday 19 March from 9am, shortlisted teams will pitch their design solutions to the Jury and a live audience on stage in the Great Hall. Each team will have to convince the Jury that their idea is the best way to reduce, recover or eliminate waste. Who will be crowned the Waste Challenge Champions?


This exhibition, presented by Alt. Material, features a series of experimental works from leading Australian design studios in response to the theme ‘Elasticity’.

Dates: 18 – 24 MAR, 10AM–4PM
Venue: 408 Smith Street, Collingwood


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