Our picks for Sydney Design Festival 2019

Sydney Design Festival will run from 1 – 10 March 2019 across Sydney. This year’s theme – Accessing Design – is a challenge to designers to expand upon and experiment with their creative practice through cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural collaboration.

Curated and produced by the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS), this year’s festival features 138 events presented by over 100 partners. We’ve singled out a few notable events from the engaging 10-day program with a focus on local and Indigenous Australian design, architecture and sustainability.

2019 MAAS Indigenous Design Symposium

Focusing on the work of our women, the 2019 MAAS Indigenous Design Symposium provides a practical platform that demonstrates the marriage between Indigenous ways of being, ways of knowing and ways of doing as a pathway to accessing and understanding design principles that have been 60 000 years in the making.

With two days of sharing concepts and innovations in Indigenous design theory and practice, the symposium will include a range of guest speakers providing catalysts for conversation and yarn-ups. The symposium will showcase the approaches and techniques of some of Australia’s leading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artisans whose work brings traditional cultural practices and perspectives into contemporary contexts.

During the sessions the guest presenters will share their knowledge, perspectives and techniques providing a window to new ways of thinking about how we can engage with, sustain and reposition skills and ways-of-doing that have been in development on country for over 60 000 years.

9 March – 10 March, 10am – 4pm

Sydney Observatory
1003 Upper Fort St, Millers Point NSW 2000, Australia

Design in Motion: Sustainable Solutions

Last year it was announced that China was ‘banning’ its intake of Australia’s recycling. Most Australians didn’t even realise that their recycling was being sent 7000+ kilometres away. With some councils simply being unable to afford recycling, and instead finding quick fixes by sending reusable materials to landfill, where does this leave the future of Australia?

Is this a problem for our government to solve? Or an issue that needs to be spearheaded by corporates and everyday Australians?

Join us for a deep dive into how we as a nation can solve this crucial issue through accessing design. Three experts in the industry will present their solutions and answer important questions such as:

  • How do we save our recycling efforts from going into landfill?
  • How can we create a permanent solution?
  • Where can we reuse these materials?
  • Are there any countries leading the way?
  • Is it up to the government, corporations or individuals?
  • And most importantly, how do we transform this crisis into a opportunity?

7 March, 6 – 8pm

Powerhouse Museum, Sydney
500 Harris St, Ultimo NSW 2007, Australia

How open source design is enabling us to be the creator vs the consumer

Over half the global population has access to the internet and the Internet of Things provides us with a platform to share, to connect and to create. Open source technology has given us the ability to share socially and environmentally progressive ideas and designs in the aim of enabling individuals with the ability to become the creator vs the consumer.

Join us for an intimate conversation with forward-thinking panellists to explore future trends and the positive impact that open source design coupled with technology offers us to level up for present and future generations.

Speakers include:

HY William Chan Cities, Urban Design Strategist
Angela D’Alton Craft & Maker Movement, mentor and advisor
Liane Rossler Superlocalstudio
Valentina Zarew New Romantic

Topics include environmental design thinking for an evolving world, the commercial revolution for makers, design for urbanisation and growing populations, breaking years of tradition and creating your own products.


23 Ebley Street, Bondi Junction NSW 2022, Australia

Methodic Optimism: fala atelier

Hear Ana Luisa Soares of renowned Portuguese studio fala atelier as she provides insight into their prolific architectural practice that defies the norm. fala is a naïve architecture practice based in porto, led by Filipe Magalhães, Ana Luisa Soares and Ahmed Belkhodja. Established in 2013, the atelier works with methodic optimism on a wide range of projects, from territories to birdhouses. fala’s projects are a medley of formal languages, references, quotations and themes, regulated by an obsession for clarity; its architecture is both hedonic and post-modern, intuitive and rhetorical.

1 March, 6 – 8pm

Powerhouse Museum, Sydney
500 Harris St, Ultimo NSW 2007, Australia

For more information and to find tickets for these events, head to sydneydesign.com.au/2019. To view the festival’s Sustainable Thinking itinerary, click here.

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