Highlights from Melbourne Design Week

By Penny Craswell

This year’s Melbourne Design Week centred on the topic “design values”, covering furniture, objects, installations, publishing and architecture. Apart from the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), the other key venue for exhibitions and events was Watchmakers, a temporary exhibition space in Collingwood donated by the owner of Piccolina Gelateria, who will be building their kitchen and gelateria in the space following the event. Folk Architects was responsible for its transformation, stripping back the space to its original patina and applying subtle use of mirrored Laminex to provide an ideal site for the experimental exhibitions within. Here are some of the highlights of this year’s event.

1. 26 Original Fakes

This exhibition at the Watchmakers venue by young designer/curators Dale Hardiman and Tom Skeehan of Friends & Associates challenged 26 designers to modify a fake Jasper Morrison Hal chair as a statement on Australia’s replica industry. The resulting show explored a huge range of issues, from authenticity, to ethics, to material concerns, with a dose of humour thrown in. I was very pleased to write the accompanying exhibition text myself – see my separate post. More on 26 Original Fakes.

Tom Skeehan (left) and Dale Hardiman (right), curators of 26 Original Fakes at Watchmakers, part of Melbourne Design Week. Image: supplied
Exhibition view of 26 Original Fakes. Photo: Wayne Taylor


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Investment in Australian design at Melbourne Indesign

By Penny Craswell

One of the most important events on the Australian design calendar, Melbourne Indesign (previously Saturday Indesign) featured some wonderful content, especially from the largest furniture suppliers, and especially by home-grown talent.

Stylecraft celebrated Australian design at Melbourne Indesign. Image: Stylecraft
Stylecraft celebrated Australian design at Melbourne Indesign. Image: Stylecraft

CULT featured two impressive launches. The first was Wrong for Hay, featuring a mini-market enticing visitors on the day to buy a piece of the action and hosting a visit by London-based designer and founder of the brand Sebastian Wrong. He spoke on Saturday morning about the origins and aims of the brand, continuing his fostering of emerging design talent as initiated when he was at Established & Sons. “People are buying work not because of the designer name but because it works for them,” he said. Read more

Object Future exhibition shows fresh face of design

By Penny Craswell

Design exhibitions have always played second fiddle to art exhibitions. Perhaps this is because, in order to sell their work, the artist must exhibit it, whereas the designer can sell it via a manufacturer who makes and sells it for them.

Jonathan Ben-Tovim's Up-Down Light
Jonathan Ben-Tovim’s Up-Down Light

However, the benefits of design exhibitions cannot be underestimated. Apart from online, an emerging designer may have no other way to show their work when first starting out.

For the second year in a row, Object Future gives emerging designers the opportunity to exhibit, this year at Allpress Studio in Melbourne. The co-curators of the show, emerging curator Suzannah Henty and emerging designer Dale Hardiman, have sought out some exceptional design from some great fresh talent this year. Read more