Sydney Indesign 2017


Sydney Indesign 2017 brings two days of design fun to town, from product launches to happening precincts 


Whether you're in the design industry or simply a passionate design hunter, Sydney Indesign will tempt you out to play. Held every two years, it hits town this Friday 11 and Saturday 12 August, offering '2 Days, 4 Districts, 50 exhibitors, 300+ brands and $50,000 of prizes to be won!' Just register for free at any participating showroom to join in the fun, which includes product launches, special projects, seminars and design store gatherings. Cue bubbles!

For #SID17, the action is focussed on Sydney's growing inner-south design precincts, Alexandria and Waterloo, with a host of design showrooms and studios welcoming visitors across both districts. In Alexandria, look out for LightCo (100 Collins Street) celebrating a new lighting collaboration, and Savage Design (40-42 O'Riordan Street), launching its 'Dave', 'Dale' and 'Rob' ranges of architectural hardware. In Waterloo, Cafe Culture + Insitu's pop-up (1F Danks Street) will showcase the 'Rail' modular office table system by German duo Kaschkasch for Zeitraum.

ABOVE: Vibrant outdoor 'Vega' aluminium wicker chairs and bistro table by Maiori at Obodo, which will showcase new designs at The Venue

Alexandria also features two curated multi-brand group shows. The Venue (55 Doody Street) hosts around 30 select design brands, including furniture, lighting, outdoor living, surface materials and more. Look out for fab modernist-inspired, Minneapolis-born brand Blu Dot, launching its 'Cat's Pajamas' lounge chair, as well as Hong Kong-based designer Sean Dix's four fresh furniture launches for Obodo. Get a taste for Dutch contemporary design at NL Curated, prior to its Surry Hills pop-up this October, or savour Japanese and British talent at Sydney-based SeehoSu's stand, sharing designs by Naoto Fukasawa and Jasper Morrison for Maruni.

ABOVE: Blu Dot's new ash and bent powder-coated steel 'Cat's Pajamas' lounge chair, featured at The Venue, available in five colour combinations

Discover a dozen more brands at group show B2 Studios (46-62 Maddox Street, Alexandria), which features Sydney talent Tom Fereday's work for Dessein, Gavin Harris's new 'Toku' range for Australian furniture-maker Schiavello, plus Melbourne label Didier's latest furniture and local industrial design studio So Watt's freshest creations in Pioneer, the show's dedicated Australian design hub.

Planning a visit? Both design districts and the two multi-brand zones will be open on Friday from noon to 6pm (with various Up Late Events at select venues from 6pm until 10pm), and on Saturday from 10am to 6pm. A free hop-on, hop-off shuttle bus on Saturday will help you move between venues. Check out Sydney Indesign's website for an online handbook and maps, list of timed events, the thought-provoking ticketed seminar series (starring international guest speakers) and 15 collaborative installations under The Project banner (this year's theme is 'Click', exploring instant connectivity). See you out on the design trail...

White Rabbit Gallery: 'The Dark Matters'

It's the last chance to catch contemporary Chinese art show 'The Dark Matters' at Sydney's White Rabbit Gallery


Much as we love colour at DesignFizz, we're also enchanted by black. This week marks the last chance to encounter noirish thriller 'The Dark Matters', a brilliant exhibition at Sydney's contemporary Chinese art space White Rabbit Gallery in Chippendale, which runs until Sunday 30 July. Spanning darkly delicious sculpture, installations, painting, tapestry, and video works, it's an inspiring fusion of classical and cutting-edge techniques, drawing on calligraphy and computers to generate provocative pieces. Black, grey, cream and white star in its minimal, zen palette, albeit charged with political and emotional content.

TOP: Yang Mushi 'Grinding', 2013-2016, wood, lacquer and metal plate
ABOVE: Lin Yan 'Sky 2', 2016, paper and ink; Yang Yongliang 'Infinite Landscape', 2011, Blu-Ray video still

We were wowed by this introductory text by Elizabeth Keenan, which sums up the eternal appeal of black to China's creatives: ‘The ancient Chinese got their ink from smoky oil lamps, brushing away deposited soot and mixing it into a paste that hardened into “stones”. The black was pure, indelible and did not fade, and they fell in love with it. They used it not only for writing but for painting, which they saw as just another way to express their thoughts. By adjusting the ink’s dilution and the density of their brushstrokes, painters could create a multitude of shades, from deepest blue-black to palest dove grey. Black had always been the colour of mystery, night, the void. The better the artists got to know black ink, the more superficial, even gaudy, colour seemed. As the Daoist philosopher Laozi declared: “Colours cause the eye to go blind.” Black – utterly simple yet infinitely subtle – allowed one to see the truth.'

'Chinese artists no longer live in a simple, natural, orderly world. They get their blacks not just from ink stones but from printer cartridges, spray cans, propane torches, X-ray film, newsprint, polyester, computer bits and steel. And they use blacks to convey realities the classical masters never dreamed of: oil spills, air pollution, megacities, mass production and political machinations. The artists in this show don’t shun light or colour, but in using them they follow Laozi’s advice: “Know the white, but hold to the black.” Containing more than ever, the dark also conceals more than ever. And it matters more than ever that we see.’

ABOVE: Gao Ge 'Trinity', 2010-2013, carbonised wood, detail

Curated by David Williams, the show's standout pieces include Lin Yan's 'Sky 2' (2016) sculpture in the atrium, a suspended dark cloud formed from ink-darkened handmade Xuan paper, a comment on China's industrial pollution. On the top floor, Yang Mushi's spectacular installation 'Grinding' (2013-16) took three years of hard labour to complete, consisting of hundreds of black-lacquered wooden blocks, shards and scraps, sanded and shaped to form a graphic landscape. Wen-Ying Huang reinvents tapestry with 'Searching II' (2014) – shine a torch on it to reveal hidden images in reflective thread. Blu-Ray video 'Infinite Landscape' (2011), by Yang Yongliang, is reminiscent of traditional Chinese painting but on closer inspection you'll spy moving traffic, cranes, cable cars and construction workers amid its densely populated peaks. 

BELOW: Feng Mengbo 'Not Too Late', 2010, video installation still

Feng Mengbo, Not Too Late, 2010, video installation still.jpg
Tang Nannan, Billennium Waves, 2015, video (colour), 4 min 3 sec.jpg

ABOVE: Tang Nannan 'Billennium Waves', 2015, video (colour) still

Don't miss Feng Mengbo's video installation 'Not Too Late' (2010), which fuses calligraphic brushstrokes with the Quake III Arena combat game to mesmerising effect. You'll also be seduced by Tang Nannan's 'Billennium Waves' (2015) video, replicated endlessly in the room's surrounding mirrors, an inky-blue ocean that's both beautiful and threatening. And we go back to black...

'The Dark Matters' is at White Rabbit Gallery, 30 Balfour Street, Chippendale, Sydney until 30 July 2017; follow-up exhibition 'Ritual Spirit' runs from 30 August 2017 to January 2018, Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm (the gallery closes for the re-hang in August).

Pictures: Courtesy the artists and White Rabbit Collection

Zaha Hadid: There Should Be No End To Experimentation


An exhibition of Zaha Hadid's early artworks in Hong Kong sheds light on the late architect's radical vision


The late great Iraqi-born, British architect Zaha Hadid may be gone, but her influence has not been forgotten. 'Zaha Hadid: There Should Be No End To Experimentation', an inspiring exhibition of Hadid's early paintings and drawings at Hong Kong's ArtisTree gallery, shows the futuristic scope of her vision, with bold, kinetic works poised between architecture, art and sci-fi. Originally devised for London's Serpentine Sackler Gallery in collaboration with Zaha Hadid Design, the hit retrospective has been newly expanded with extra archival material, allowing Asian audiences to share the inner workings of Hadid's mind.

ABOVE: 'Confetti, The Peak', Hong Kong, China, 1982/1983

ABOVE FROM TOP: 'Metropolis', 1988; 'Vision for Madrid', Spain, 1992

First conceived with Hadid herself – who died suddenly on 31 March 2016 – this revelation of an exhibition focusses on the early years of her career, before her first building (Germany's Vitra Fire Station) was erected in 1993. Spanning the Seventies to the Nineties, it includes paintings, sketches, calligraphic drawings and private notebooks, revealing Hadid's utopian ideas about architectural form and function during a period when her radical, pioneering works were either not commissioned or were unbuildable in terms of technology. A highlight is Hadid's award-winning scheme for The Peak (1982-83), a leisure club for the Hong Kong hills awarded first prize in a prestigious design competion.


ABOVE FROM TOP: Concept painting, Cardiff Bay Opera House, Wales, UK, 1994-1996; Sketch selection, from Sketchbook 2001

Inspired by Kasimir Malevich and Russian Constructivist artists Alexander Rodchenko and Vladimir Tatlin, Hadid used drawing and painting to generate and communicate her ideas. Her paper and canvas creations were design tools, feeling the way towards as-yet-unrealised buildings. When she did go on to build in 3D, the sweeping, light, space-age volumes of her abstract art came to fruition in the flesh. Four experimental virtual reality experiences, developed with Google Arts & Culture, also bring Hadid's dynamic vision to life, alongside a mobile tour. 'With experimentation, you think you're going to find out one thing,' said Hadid, 'but you actually discover something else... more than you bargain for.'

ABOVE: 'Hafenstrasse Development', Hamburg, Germany, 1989
BELOW: The Zaha Hadid exhibition in Hong Kong, a collaboration between London's Serpentine Galleries and Zaha Hadid Design

Free exhibition 'Zaha Hadid: There Should Be No End To Experimentation' is at ArtisTree, 1F Cornwall House, Taikoo Place, 979 King's Road, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong, until 6 April 2017; open daily 10am to 9pm

Pictures © Zaha Hadid Foundation; Hong Kong exhibition images courtesy of Swire Properties

William Eggleston Portraits


Take inspiration from the colourful world of iconic US photographer William Eggleston


If you loved the vibrant palette of dreamy primary hues in movie 'La La Land' – which recently garnered directing, cinematography and production design Oscars – you'll be seduced by new exhibition 'William Eggleston Portraits' at Melbourne's National Gallery of Victoria. A pioneer of colour photography, acclaimed mid-century US photographer Eggleston's suburban Americana images from the Sixties and Seventies are peppered with cars, diners, petrol stations, supermarkets and street life, inspiring filmmakers David Lynch, the Coen Brothers, Gus Van Sant and especially Sofia Coppola, as well as contemporary snappers Martin Parr and Juergen Teller.

ABOVE: 'Untitled (Memphis, Tennessee)', c. 1969-71, dye-transfer print, by 'the godfather of colour photography' William Eggleston

ABOVE: 'Untitled', c.1965-8, dye-transfer print, printed 2004

The moment I first set eyes on Eggleston's arresting images, I was blown away by his rare talent for capturing standout colour, even in casual, momentary snaps (he was famous for only ever taking one shot). From a cobalt blue dress to a ruby red car, patterned orange woman's blouse or girl's long auburn hair, Eggleston sees colour like a painter, giving his documentary images a stylised, choreographed air. But these photos of family, friends, acquaintances and strangers are drawn from everyday life, not an art directed shoot or stage-managed ad campaign, finding beauty in the banal. At a time when black-and-white photography was considered more highbrow, groundbreaking Eggleston also experimented with dye-transfer printing, a commercial technique that produces highly colour-saturated imagery.

ABOVE: 'Untitled', c.1965-9, pigment print, printed 2016
BELOW: Installation views of 'William Eggleston Portraits' at the National Gallery of Victoria, including 'Untitled', 1974 (Biloxi, Mississippi); 'Untitled', c.1975 (Marcia Hare in Memphis, Tennessee)

Direct from London's National Portrait Gallery, the exhibition is on show until 18 June as part of the NGV Festival of Photography, featuring more than 100 works by Memphis-born Eggleston (1939-), including evocative images of the American South and never-before-seen shots of actor Dennis Hopper and The Clash frontman Joe Strummer. The head-turning colour combinations, such as Yves Klein blue and lemon yellow, or retro red and white stripes, could even give you fresh ideas for revving up your home...
'William Eggleston Portraits' is free at NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne, until 18 June 2017

Pictures: All William Eggleston images copyright Eggleston Artistic Trust; Sean Fennessy (installation views)

Melbourne Design Week 2017


5 Top Tips for Melbourne Design Week


'What does design value, and how do we value design?' The inaugural Melbourne Design Week, running until 26 March 2017, tackles this topical question, with more than 100 citywide exhibitions, launches, workshops, tours and talks showcasing local and international talent. The first of four planned annual design weeks for the city, the 10-day festival is an initiative of the Victorian government curated by the National Gallery of Victoria, spanning iconic chairs, high-density apartments and indigenous design. Here are my five top FizzPicks...

ABOVE: Collingwood's 'Watchmaker' exhibition space, including surreal mirrored installations by Folk Architects, for Melbourne Design Week


NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road
Until Sunday 26 March
Discover 35 inspiring seats at 'Creating the Contemporary Chair', spanning from 1980 to 2016, including designs by major names Tord Boontje, Konstantin Grcic and Patricia Urquiola. All recent NGV acquisitions, they include a stool coated in volcanic rock and a suspended chair resembling a killer whale.

ABOVE: Installation view of 'Creating the Contemporary Chair', The Gordon Moffatt Gift, at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, including Jacopo Foggini's LED-lit 'Alice' armchair for Edra


Piccolina Gelateria, 296 Smith Street, Collingwood
Until Sunday 26 March

A derelict historic Collingwood watchmaker's shop gets a minimal mirrored makeover by local studio Folk Architects in pop-up satellite space 'Watchmaker', which hosts six shows. Friends & Associates invites 26 Australian designers – including Tomek Archer, Tom Fereday and Ross Gardam – to reconfigure replicas of Jasper Morrison's oft-copied 'Hal' chair for Vitra in '26 Original Fakes', celebrating authenticity in a murky world of fakes. Hub Furniture's Jaci Foti-Lowe curates 'The Found Object', sharing inspirational pieces collected by Melbourne creatives.

In 'Undervalued' Australian designer Nick Rennie champions beautiful, useful designs costing up to $2, £2 or ¥2. Egg forms are explored in 'Ovoid', fine-art photos shot by Nick Horan. Interactive installation 'Apparatus 4' by 227768c is animated by an algorithm which causes its inflatable surface to undulate. Short film 'Untitled (with Gelato)', by Coco and Maximilian, looks at the design arc of relationships.

ABOVE: Converted store space 'Watchmaker', including Smith Street exterior; and installation views of '26 Original Fakes', presented by Friends & Associates, which riffs on replica chairs; Hub Furniture's curated exhibition 'The Found Object' showcasing creative collections; Nick Horan's 'Ovoid' egg photos; and interactive blue floor surface 'Apparatus 4' by 227768c


NGV Design Store, NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road
Until Sunday 26 March

From Brutalist Polish churches to Oscar Niemeyer's uncompleted designs for Lebanon's International Fairgrounds (interrupted by civil war), 'Modern Forms' recalls the architecture of post-war modernism. Warsaw-based Nicolas Grospierre's shots capture the sculptural, geometric nature of these unfamiliar works.

ABOVE: Nicolas Grospierre's photos for 'Modern Forms' include this 2012 shot of 'Bus Stop #4, Crimea, Ukraine' reflecting Soviet architecture


Sophie Gannon Gallery, 2 Albert Street, Richmond
Until Saturday 25 March
Sophie Gannon Gallery presents contemporary Australian design at 'Designwork 01'. The sleek space showcases 10 designers, including Trent Jansen's sculptural Indian-inspired stools and vessels, David Mutch's acrylic leaning lamps, Ash Allen's recycled cork and tyre stools, and Dale Hardiman's 'Wood Is Made From Trees' customised timber IKEA 'Frost' stools, clad with native paperbark used by the indigenous Wurundjeri.

ABOVE: Ash Allen's ceramic 2013 'Dollop' pendant lights part of group show 'Designwork 01' at Sophie Gannon Gallery



Brickworks, 490 Swan Street, Richmond
Saturday 25 March

Catch the work of local young designers from two states at the Victoria Tasmania Graduate of the Year Award 2016, presented by the Design Institute of Australia, which features furniture, industrial and interior design, as well as visual communications, textiles, fashion and jewellery.

ABOVE: Next-gen design talent on display at the Victoria Tasmania Graduate of the Year Award
Pictures: Tobias Titz, Wayne Taylor, Jeremy Dillon