Sydney Design Festival Top 12: Part 1

Aki Inomata, Why Not Hand Over a ‘Shelter’ to Hermit Crabs series, 2009–16_Courtesy of Maho Kubota Gallery copy.jpg

Sydney Design Festival brings exhibitions, talks, films and workshops to town. Here's Part 1 of our Top 12 FizzPicks. See our follow-up post for six more must-sees…


Sydney Design Festival transforms Australia's most vibrant city from 2 to 11 September 2016, offering more than 100 inspiring design experiences citywide, bringing people, ideas and disciplines together. Now in its 19th year, the festival is led by the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS), with core events at its Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo. 2016's theme is 'Make or Break', creating something new by reimagining the old, reflected in exhibitions, talks and workshops. Here are six of our top 12 FizzPicks, with six more to come...

ABOVE: Aki Inomata, Why Not Hand Over a 'Shelter' to Hermit Crabs? series, 2009-16, courtesy of Maho Kubota Gallery, from exhibition 'Out of Hand: Materialising the Digital'


Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, 2-3 and 7-10 September (11am-5pm, free)

16-20 Goodhope Street, Paddington
Paddington gallery Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation hosts ‘Green Ladder’, a grid-like alfresco forest room installation of eco-friendly bamboo by influential Vietnamese architect Vo Trong Nghia, exploring the potential of ‘green steel’ scaffolding to bring nature back to the city. It’s the fourth in SCAF’s ‘Fugitive Structures’ series of annual architectural pavilions, and runs until 10 December 2016. Also look out for Australian architectural photographer John Gollings presenting ‘The Hero Image’ at SCAF on Thursday 8 September (6pm-8pm, free, but register), a visual collection of defining images of ancient and modern work from around the world.

Powerhouse Museum, Saturday 3 September (10.30am-5pm, free with $15 museum entry)
500 Harris Street, Ultimo

Indigenous Design Day celebrates indigenous design talent, bringing together three events at Ultimo's Powerhouse Museum. In his groundbreaking initiative 'Virtual Songlines' (10.30am-11.30am), Brett Leavy strips back the contemporary Australian landscape to reveal its pre-colonial contact environment. Leavy will discuss this virtual, interactive tool, and its potential future applications. 'Deadly Designers Now' (12.30pm-1.30pm) sees indigenous talents share their success stories. Finally, 'Indigenous Technologies in the 21st Century' (2pm-5pm) explores the ethics and opportunities presented by new 3D scanning and printing techs in the context of cultural objects, curation and the preservation of heritage.

OUT OF HAND: Materialising the Digital
Powerhouse Museum, 3 September-25 June 2017 (10am-5pm, $15 with general admission)
500 Harris Street, Ultimo

Discover cutting-edge design innovations at major show 'Out of Hand: Materialising the Digital' at the Powerhouse Museum. Touring from New York's Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), the exhibition delves into the growing role of digital manufacture in design, architecture, fashion, science and contemporary art, with fresh Australian and AsiaPacific examples. Highlights include radical Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen's 'Bubble Dress, formed from silicone-coated glass spheres, US designer Michael Schmidt's fully articulated 3D-printed gown, originally modelled by burlesque queen Dita Von Teese, a 3D-printed jet engine, and Sydney artist Louis Pratt's 3D printed and scanned sculptures (pictured). Don't miss designs by Ron Arad and Zaha Hadid.

KINTSUGI with Studio Enti
4, 7, and 10 September (see link below for hours)
20-28 Carrington Road, Workpod 1, Marrickville

Learn the traditional Japanese art of repairing ceramics with gold or silver lacquer, accentuating the cracks, at workshop Kintsugi with Studio Enti in inner-west Marrickville. Studio Enti, run by maker Naomi Taplin, is known for covetable handcrafted modern porcelain tableware. Repairing broken crockery never looked so beautiful!

Theatre, Powerhouse Museum, Tuesday 6 September (6.30pm-8.30pm, $40)
500 Harris Street, Ultimo

We’re huge fans of the worldwide PechaKucha events, originated by Klein Dytham architects in Tokyo in 2003, in which designers give a snappy slideshow while talking through their work (the word is Japanese for chit-chat). For 'Pecha Kucha: Sink or Swim' in the Powerhouse Museum, seven leading creatives, including graphic, digital and motion designers plus colourful Sydney artist Ken Done, take seven minutes each to share career smashes and screw-ups.

Golden Age Cinema & Bar, Wednesday 7 September (6pm-8pm, $20)
Lower Ground Floor, Paramount House, 80 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills

Catch a screening of seminal 1965 cult film Alphaville by Jean-Luc Godard at Surry Hills’ gorgeous intimate Art Deco Golden Age Cinema & Bar. Dealing with themes of technophobia, digitalisation and creativity, this cult sci-fi classic is set in a tyrannical dystopian space city run by a computer that doesn’t allow emotion of love. Rock up early for pre-screening drinks and toast #sdf16!

Sydney Design Festival runs from 2 to 11 September 2016, with events based across town including the Powerhouse Museum hub. See our follow-up post for six more FizzPicks.