Sydney Design Festival 2018: MAAS presents Common Good
The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) will open a major contemporary design exhibition on 2 March 2018 to celebrate the 20th Sydney Design Festival. Curated by and exclusive to the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, Common Good explores design trends in Australia and neighbouring regions and the positive design-lead responses to social, ethical and environmental challenges.
“Design practice is constantly evolving, reacting to the challenges of its time. With Common Good we examine the place of groundbreaking designers from our region in shaping solutions for our future society,” said MAAS Director and CEO, Dolla Merrillees.
“MAAS is pleased to be working with a new generation of socially-engaged designers from Australia and Asia, to both display and acquire works through this exhibition.”
“The Asia-Pacific is our creative commons. This exhibition is an opportunity to broaden our lens to explore the work and practices of a new generation of designers who are boldly taking action to affect positive change and influence long-term sustainability in our region,” said exhibition curator, Keinton Butler.
Common Good surveys contemporary design practices from Australia and the Asia-Pacific. Designers from a range of disciplines and countries are profiled, including leading international designers and architects Nendo, Studio Swine, Bijoy Jain, Jo Nagasaka, Kwangho Lee and WOHA, as well as globally recognised local designers Ken Wong, Lucy McRae and Henry Wilson.
The exhibition is framed by five themes that address increasingly complex challenges including housing affordability, waste management, population pressures and technological obsessions.
Life Cycles explores emerging sustainable design practices in a reference library of design materials, including those made from industrial and agricultural waste. Award-winning Japanese designers AMAM demonstrate how algae and agar bio-materials can be used in packaging that could ultimately replace non-biodegradable plastics. The Life Cycles resource library will be made available during and beyond the exhibition, contributing to the education of emerging designers.
Return to Craft profiles contemporary designers preserving cultural heritage through collaborative projects with artisans, craftspeople and manufacturers. Crafts such as woodworking, enamelware, ceramics and weaving are being given new relevance when worked by technologically driven designers. For instance, South Korean designer Kwangho Lee is reviving the ancient practice of Ott-chil high-gloss lacquering in projects such as the New Armor stool. Such projects bring fresh attention to otherwise forgotten traditions and can contribute to the survival of centuries-old crafts.
Connected Experiences demonstrate the ability of technology to generate social awareness and influence personal behaviour. In an exclusive commission for MAAS called Watermelon Sugar Wellness Lab, graphic designer and visual artist Pamm Hong invites you into an immersive installation where your online behaviour is transformed into a personalised virtual organism, providing a health check on your digital engagement habits.
Community Engagement explores projects that address social integration and poverty in the face of rapid urbanisation as well as international development initiatives and fully integrated, collaborative design concepts.
Design Fictions considers the role of the designer in shaping our future. Through their speculative and critical design projects, designers are questioning and debating the possible social implications of our scientific and technological developments, through carefully staged fictional scenarios. The Rare Earthenware project by Unknown Fields is the result of an expedition to Inner Mongolia, in which toxic mud was taken from a radioactive rare earth tailings lake and used to craft a set of ceramic vessels into the shape of highly valuable and recognisable Ming dynasty porcelain vases. Each vessel is sized in relation to the amount of waste created in the production of three items of technology: a smartphone, a laptop and an electric car battery cell. Such projects shape our patterns of excessive consumption and waste into powerful statements.
Common Good opens as part of the Sydney Design Festival, an annual celebration of design with over 100 events at venues across Sydney from 2 – 11 March 2018.
What: Common Good
When: 2 March – 2 December 2018
Where: Powerhouse Museum, 500 Harris Street, Ultimo NSW 2007
Price: Included in general admission
Sydney Design Festival
2 – 11 March 2018
Full program to be announced in January 2018