The Big Design Market Melbourne

For stylish Christmas gifts get down to The Big Design Market in Melbourne this weekend

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

For three inspiring days of Christmas shopping, backdropped by alluring architecture and fuelled by gourmet food and drink, make for The Big Design Market in Melbourne, from Friday 2 to Sunday 4 December at Carlton Gardens' Royal Exhibition Building. This homegrown design fair has won a loyal following over the last few years for its cred line-up of local talent, with 2016 gathering more than 230 designers for your delectation. Expect handmade crafts, design, homewares, fashion, jewellery, cards, art, accessories, kids' kit and more, drawn from Australian and international independents.

Look out for bespoke installations by guest artists too, including vibrant paper hangings by Benja Harney of Paperform, who has worked with fashion labels Hermès, Kenzo, Adidas and Romance Was Born, plus the Kaldor Public Art Projects. Mornington Peninsula furniture firm Industria X has also collaborated with six designers – including ceramicists Bridget Bodenham and Leah Jackson, and artist Leah Bartholomew – to create custom stools for the cocktail lounge.

TOP: Benja Harney's vibrant paper art will decorate the market
ABOVE: LED neon lighting by Electric Confetti; 'Bell Tent' by Homecamp, ideal for creating airy garden rooms; The Australian-designed 'Cape Classic' blanket from the 'Eastern Point' collection by Kate & Kate

Fizz picks include Electric Confetti's rainbow-bright neon lighting; Here and Far's graphic Japanese ceramics; Cottage Industry's kooky local crafts; and TheSuperCool and Design Dispensary for global design finds. Able and Game and Surfing Sloth are your go-tos for witty local cards. For art, visit Studio Cockatoo and Heide Museum of Modern Art's stalls. Corky Saint Clair and Bride & Wolf will kit you out in quirky modern jewellery. Also look out for contemporary South Australian furniture, lighting and accessories on the JamFactory stand. Memobottle's slimline water vessels and Orbitkey's ergonomic key fobs are great for guys; gals will love Kleins Perfumery and Leif for Australian native-inspired toiletries. For eco design, the Melb-made 'Rhombus' table trivets from Champ Co are formed from recycled aeroplane tyres.

ABOVE: Carlton's Royal Exhibition Building hosts The Big Design Market; Powder-coated steel 'Minimo' table-top plant stand by Capra Designs, shown with eco resin pot; Leah Bartholomew's artworks, including 'Philodendron' and 'Xanadu' acrylics on timber board, and 'Stay with Me' acrylic on canvas; Industria X stools in collaboration with Leah Bartholomew, Bridget Bodenham and Leah Jackson, featured in the cocktail lounge

You can eat and drink local too, with Melbourne foodie faves Beatbox Kitchen, Misschu, Taco Truck and Earl Canteen serving up snacks, LuxBite and Gelato Messina keeping the sweet treats coming, Sensory Lab serving coffee, and Port Melbourne's Starward Whisky, Merricks General Wine StoreSofi Spritz and cider co-op Faire Ferments pouring quality drops.

ABOVE: 'Geo Floral' shoulder bag handprinted with teal foiling by Tinker by Printink Studio; Orbitkey's key organiser in aqua; Botanical body balm by Leif; Kid-friendly 'Kinetic Sand' includes a bonding agent, making it easy to sculpt; 'Broad Strokes' digitally printed dog bed and 'Confetti' leather collar by Nice Digs; Melbourne's Sensory Lab will be brewing coffee

Fancy putting your own talents to the test? Then why not join in with the market's creative workshops? You can design and block-print tea towels with Home-Work, create and decorate rope baskets with Gemma Patford, make block-printing stamps to customise cards and gift wrap with Beci Orpin, or learn the trade secrets of terrariums with Petite Green. Sessions are selling out fast, so get in quick. Rock up early for a chance to buy a designer showbag ($25 each, but worth $200), limited to 300 each day and drawn from the stallholders (think sneaky presents for your posse). Remember, it's the thought that counts...
melbourne.thebigdesignmarket.com

ABOVE: Workshops include block-printing with Home-Work and basket decorating with Gemma Patford


The Big Design Market is at Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson Street, Carlton, Melbourne, from 2-4 December 2016; Fri 10am-9pm, Sat 10am-7pm, Sun 10am-5pm; adults $2, free for kids 12 and under. See our earlier post for more on Sydney's market last week