Sydney Design Festival 2019 – 5 Must-Sees


Sydney Design Festival 2019 brings inspiring exhibitions, talks and workshops to town. Here are five Fizz faves for getting your design on!


Sydney Design Festival is back for 2019, unpacking new design, sharing emerging and established talents, and tackling design challenges. This year’s theme is ‘Accessing Design’, making design accessible to fresh audiences, with the action spread beyond the obvious inner-city hot spots. Running from 1 to 10 March – but with many shows lasting longer – the festival also shines a light on local design, including indigenous creativity, hosting events from exhibitions to talks, workshops, open studios, screenings and parties. Here are five of our #SDF19 Fizz faves…

Arborescence by Loop.pH.jpg

TOP: Sydney Design Festival keynote speaker Rachel Wingfield of Loop.pH with a range of dynamic past projects. ABOVE: Loop.pH’s ‘Arborescence’ installation for 2014’s Amsterdam Light Festival, proposing a future hybrid of trees and street lighting harnessing the studio’s signature bio-luminescence. Think sustainable ‘living lighting’

Powerhouse Museum, 500 Harris Street, Ultimo
8 March (6pm-8pm)

London designer Rachel Wingfield, co-founder with Mathias Gmachl of Loop.pH, will give the festival keynote speech at Ultimo’s Powerhouse Museum. Launched in 2003, their spatial laboratory is known for cross-disciplinary designs that combine digital, light, art and craft details, often in public spaces. Exploring design, architecture and science, Loop.pH’s intriguing installations and experiences harness diverse materials from LEDs, electro-luminous fibres and NASA’s reflective silver mylar to carbon, bamboo and algae. Buy tickets to the talk online or check out Wingfield’s collaborative workshop ‘Archilace’ on Sunday 10 March (3pm-5pm).


ABOVE: Mungo Scott Flour Mill, historic home to authentic Australian design showcase ‘Home.Grown’ in Summer Hill

Mungo Scott Flour Mill, 2 Smith Street, Summer Hill
8-10 March

A three-day celebration of Australian furniture, lighting and home furnishings, ‘Home.Grown’ is presented by the Authentic Design Alliance and curated by its director Anne-Maree Sargeant. Expect three halls over two levels featuring exhibitions, installations and pop-ups, championing locally designed and made products and homegrown talents. All up you’ll discover around 175 designers and 100 brands. Ground Floor Hall 1 features a combined showcase of designers and smaller independent brands, spanning innovative lighting by Lumil, rugs by Designer Rugs and stylish storage by Sagitine, alongside a pop-up mini mart of Australian homewares available to buy from top3 by design. Installations occupy Ground Floor Hall 2, including ‘Undervalued’ by Nick Rennie, ‘Project Replica’ by Mitch Tobin, ‘Brand a Fake’ by ADA, ‘Used by 3018’ by Will Thompson, a Mercedes-Benz Design Award display and atmospheric photos of the historic venue itself. Upstairs, the First Floor Gallery presents curated zones by 10 established Australian design brands, including Nau, Catapult, Didier, Furnished Forever and Artedomus (‘New Volumes’). Talks, starring talents including Adam Goodrum, Adam Cornish and Christina Bricknell, tackle issues affecting the country’s design scene. The location is a wow too, with the event taking over the 1922 Mungo Scott Flour Mill. A free preview afternoon on Friday 8 March is by RSVP only; for the weekend, buy advance tickets cheaper online or snap them up at the door.

Trent Jansen, Tidal Collection, 2014_Photo_Haydn Cattach.jpg

ABOVE: Trent Jansen’s ‘Tidal Lounger’ chairs and ‘Tidal Coffee Table’, made from premium stainless steel wire for Australian outdoor living brand Tait, feature in ADC’s exhibition ‘Steel’

Australian Design Centre, 101-115 William Street, Darlinghurst
Until 3 April (closed Sundays and Mondays)

Discover the innovative ways artists, designers and architects are using steel in the 21st century at this major touring exhibition from Adelaide’s JamFactory. Free to visit at Darlinghurst’s Australian Design Centre, it showcases the work of 29 Australian creatives, including Korban/Flaubert’s bold steel sculptures, Trent Jansen’s wave-inspired ‘Tidal’ outdoor furniture collection for Tait, and BVN’s graphic Australian PlantBank research building at Mount Annan in New South Wales. A selection of steely works is also displayed across the road at Stylecraft’s showroom (24/100 William Street). Fancy some craft shopping? ADC hosts a Makers Market on Saturday 9 March (10am-4pm), featuring more than 27 local makers.


ABOVE: ‘Purple with Black, White and Blue’ photo (detail) by Jon Setter, part of the artist’s exhibition ‘The Urban Text’ at design store Koskela

Koskela, 1/85 Dunning Avenue, Rosebery
Until 31 March

This series of 12 minimal photographs explores the unnoticed aspects of urban environments and our everyday streetscapes. Detroit-born, Sydney-based Jon Setter’s free exhibition ‘The Urban Text’ is on show at inspiring design store Koskela in Rosebery, so call in for a culture fix, then stick around to shop for Australian-made furniture, homewares and accessories. The artworks are available to buy as unframed prints in three sizes, and their abstract, graphic, simple, colour-block style will look a treat on your wall. Feeling peckish? Three Blue Ducks cafe shares this atmospheric former factory space.


ABOVE: Bernabei Freeman’s contemporary ceramic ‘Hybrid Vessel’ (2018), incorporating 3D-printed ABS and handwoven rattan, is part of digital craft show ‘Femufacture’ at The Japan Foundation

The Japan Foundation Gallery, Level 4, Central Park, 28 Broadway, Chippendale
Until 30 March (closed Sundays)

Lovers of craft and design will enjoy cutting-edge exhibition ‘Femufacture’, which explores the interface of craft traditions and digital fabrication technologies. Hosted by The Japan Foundation Gallery, upstairs in Chippendale’s Central Park mall, it features new works by Japanese and Australian women including 3D-printed ceramic and hand-woven rattan vessels by Melbourne’s Bernabei Freeman (Rina Bernabei and Kelly Freeman). Mediums include weaving, wood turning, indigo-dyeing, paper cut, silversmithing and knitting, combined with 3D printing, CNC machining, coding and robotics. The show also includes wearable technology by light artist Erina Kashihara, who joins the gallery’s free panel discussion to mark International Women’s Day (8 March, 6.30pm-8pm).

Sydney Design Festival 2019 runs until Sunday 10 March at venues across the city, but many events continue beyond this weekend. For more inspiration check out SDF’s suggested itineraries, from free and family-friendly ideas to sustainable thinking and design after dark.

Sydney Open 2015

For Sydney Open, the city’s best buildings throw open their doors, just for one day…


Architecture fans, rub your hands together in glee. The annual Sydney Open offers you an access-all-areas pass to the city this Sunday 1 November. More than 50 of Sydney’s most inspiring spaces will unlock their doors for 2015's event, with cutting-edge architecture, heritage edifices and art on display, as well as secret spots normally off limits to all but employees and bike couriers. Descend to disused station platforms, tunnels and crypts, ascend via glass lifts, galleries and roof terraces, or just swing by the quirky Sydney Masonic Centre to discover a hidden universe.

With Sydney Open's buildings list ranging from the CBD to The Rocks, Darlinghurst, Ultimo and Chippendale, it pays to plan your day. Buy a City Pass ticket online, pick up your wristband from one of three central venues, download the mobile app or map, and get ready to share your finds on social media (#SydneyIsOpen @SydLivMus). Adult tickets cost $49, or pay $99 for host Sydney Living Museums' membership deal for priority entry and extra benefits.

Also look out for free talks and tours at some buildings, and queues at others (the app and Twitter feed will tell you where to expect them). Opening hours are 10am to 4pm at most locations, but check the website for specifics. You can also enjoy special offers at Sydney Living Museums' three foodie outlets: The Governors Table, Bistro Mint and Hyde Park Barracks Café. But to feast on inspiration, here are our architectural must-sees…

ABOVE: Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) in The Rocks; looking down into the lobby of Deutsche Bank Place, CBD; the New Hall (Sydney Grammar School Assembly Hall) in Darlinghurst
BELOW: Reserve Bank of Australia Building foyer; Shakespeare Room, State Library of NSW; the Atrium inside 50 Martin Place, all CBD sites

CBD – contemporary meets heritage
Boasting 35 of Sydney Open's sites, the CBD is a dynamic tapestry of the old and new, from colonial sandstone to sheer 21st-century surfaces. Enjoy a sticky beak into the cathedrals of finance (from the Reserve Bank of Australia to Deutsche Bank Place) and religion (St Mary's Cathedral) here, as well as cultural icons such as the State Library of NSW. Fans of modern architecture should check out 50-storey Australia Square by seminal architect Harry Seidler, and his Grosvenor Place. To see a contemporary architecture practice, visit BVN.

Chippendale – creative quarter
Chippendale and neighbouring Ultimo form a new precinct for Sydney Open 2015. Peppered with independent art galleries and new-wave architecture, 'Chippo' is fast transforming into one of the city's most creative quarters. Don't miss newly launched boutique stay The Old Clare Hotel, revamped from heritage pub The Clare Hotel and a former Carlton & United Breweries administration building by Singaporean whizz Loh Lik Peng of Unlisted Collection and local architects Tonkin Zulaikha Greer. It's set on Kensington Street, where old workers' cottages are being reimagined as cafés and niche shops, backed by hidden hawker centre Spice Alley. Nearby Central Park Sydney is home to The Steps, design-led student accommodation by a team including Foster+Partners. For more morbid thrills, explore the Mortuary Station, an ornate Gothic Revival building once used by trains transporting the dead.

ABOVE: The Clare Bar inside The Old Clare Hotel; sandstone terrace on Kensington Street; The Steps Central Park, all Chippendale hot spots
BELOW: Ultimo's UTS Building 7, internal stairs, by Durbach Block Jaggers; interior of Dr Chau Chak Wing Building, UTS, by Frank Gehry; Denton Corker Marshall's green LED-lit UTS Building 11, exterior; UTS Building 7, exterior, featuring undulating colour and eco design

Ultimo – university smarts
The University of Sydney's Camperdown campus may win props for its pretty Oxbridge looks, but its upstart neighbour the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) is bagging kudos for commissioning contemporary architecture. For the Open, you can check out four of its buildings, from Frank Gehry's bricktastic Dr Chau Chak Wing Building for UTS Business School to Melbourne firm Denton Corker Marshall's green LED-lit, sheeny-skinned UTS Faculty of Engineering and IT Building. The Brutalist 1979 UTS Tower is rightly famous; perhaps less well known is the undulating UTS Faculty of Science and Graduate School of Health Building, by Sydney firm Durbach Block Jaggers in association with BVN Architecture. Inspired by a ripple in a grove of trees, its exterior draws on recycled glass, window boxes and refreshing colour with a bold concrete staircase making waves inside. Oh, to be a student again...

BELOW: Denton Corker Marshall's UTS Building 11 interior, puts the vertigo into Ultimo

Sydney Open takes place on Sunday 1 November 2015 at venues across town

Photo credits, from top: Brett Boardman, Deutsche Bank Place, Paul Eichorn, Reserve Bank of Australia, State Library of NSW, Haley Richardson, The Old Clare Hotel, Simon Wood courtesy of Frasers Property & Sekisui House, David Clare, Anthony Browell, Andrew Worssam, Darren Bradley, Andrew Worssam.