Melbourne Design Week, 12 – 22 March

Melbourne Design Week opens on the 12th March for ten days filled with over 300 events; comprising of talks, exhibitions, tours and workshops. Sustainability is at the heart of the programming, through the questioning of ‘How Can Design Shape Life?’ Major themes include Design Cultures, Healthy Cities, Design Evolution and The War on Waste, as we are encouraged to consider global impacts on the environment and how design is problem-solving to avoid the looming climate crisis.

Transformative Landscapes: Reshaping The City That Shapes Us, Presented by Foreground, Victorian Health and Human Services, Building Authority (VHHSBA). Image courtesy of Foreground

Highlights include NGV’s symposiums Transformative Landscapes: Reshaping The City That Shapes Us by Foreground and The New Normal: New Models of Design in the Age of Global Computation by Moscow-based Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design. Both invite cultural thinkers to consider new technologies and the integration of these within modern, urban cities.

SEASONS at Blak Box is an invitation to consider the climate and weather patterns as a deeper connection to culture through deep listening in the Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens. Aboriginal broadcaster and radio journalist Daniel Browning curates a listening experience of music, spoken word and song from First Nations artists that explores the integral role of plants in the Kulin seasonal calendar.

Workshop highlights include bush weaving by contemporary artist Aunty Bronwyn Razem inside Yhonnie Scarce and Edition Office’s In Absence — the 2019 NGV Architecture Commission. While, throughout the ten days, Scanlan & Makers are organising Local Colour, a workshop that looks at the paints derived from Australian raw materials, bringing the landscape into design elements.

Debbie Millman by John Madere Photography

Debbie Millman invites an Australia audience to her storytelling workshop and talk, ‘Courage vs Confidence’; RMIT offers workshops dealing e-waste; and Monash presents a reframing of the evolving nature of design. Other talks of note include, combating burnout in the design industry; a presentation of the new generation of creatives by RUSSH, with artist Stanislava Pinchuk; and ‘Designing A Legacy’ with modernist lover Tim Ross.

E-Waste Challenge Live Pitch Final, Victorian Design Challenge, 2020
Presented by NGV Formafantasma, 2017, Taxonomy, 01_05_58 from Ore Streams.
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

A&A: Exquisite Corpse/Cadavre Exquis, Presented by Tolarno Galleries, A&A Archant, 2019, Photo: Josh Purnell

During MDW, across Melbourne, galleries will be activated with design exhibitions like The Concrete Waste Challenge presented by Curvecrete at Testing Grounds; The Australian Furniture Design Award at Stylecraft; The Grey Zone: Collecting and Collaboration in Contemporary Art and Design at Artbank; and A&A: Exquisite Corpse/Cadavre Exquis at Tolarno Galleries. Central to these exhibitions are the intersections of design and art, and how they transport us into the future of sustainable practices.