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.

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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.

Rigg Design Prize

Catch the last weekend of the Rigg Design Prize at Melbourne's National Gallery of Victoria for an exciting survey of Australian talent...


Ghostly houses, pandanus-leaf pendant lamps and futuristic loungers… Australian contemporary design is celebrated in all its creative diversity at the Rigg Design Prize 2015, which sees furniture, lighting, accessories and installations on display at Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria.

The triennial prize is Australia’s most prestigious gong for contemporary furniture and objects, with AU$30,000 awarded to an outstanding Australian design practitioner. Established in 1994, the invitational showcase is now curated by the NGV Department of Contemporary Design and Architecture, which looked for original, independent and current work. 2015’s winner, Adam Goodrum, was chosen by international judges Gijs Bakker (co-founder of Amsterdam’s Droog Design) and Wava Carpenter (a former Design Miami curator).

This weekend is your last chance to catch the show, which features seven design talents each populating their own zone with purpose-built installations, new and existing works. Proof that the Australian design scene is kicking goals…

Adam Goodrum
We first came across Sydney designer Adam Goodrum when his multi-coloured folding aluminium ‘Stitch’ chair for Italian megabrand Cappellini wowed 2008’s Milan Furniture Fair. Now he’s bagged 2015's Rigg Design Prize for his ethereal installation ‘Unfolding’, three miniature houses formed from transparent acrylic sheets with pastel-rainbow hues. They explore his fascination with 2D designs that morph to 3D, casting dreamy reflections. ‘I see the house as an expression of my career,’ says Goodrum, starting flatpacked but unfolding from experimental planes to an evolved form. An industrial design lecturer at the University of Technology, Sydney, Goodrum has also created standout furniture for Australian stores Tait (the sporty outdoor ‘Volley’ chairs) and Cult, as well as accessories for Normann Copenhagen and bespoke tables and benches for Canberra's Hotel Hotel. 

Daniel Emma
We’re huge fans of Adelaide design duo Daniel Emma, aka partners Daniel To and Emma Aiston. They create ‘the unexpected from simple objects using simple forms’, drawing on sculptural shapes, quirky colours and a playful sense of fun. 'It’s our version of existing geometric forms. It’s almost normal, but not quite normal.’ Industrial design graduates from the University of South Australia, both honed their skills at witty UK design store Thorsten van Elten. Their graphic room set at the Rigg Prize feels Memphis yet minimal, housing vibrant pieces such as their ‘Pick ‘N’ Mix’ table and bench for Tait and smile-inducing ‘Mish Mash’ chair and ‘Cherry on the Bottom’ light. Daniel Emma’s own-line ‘D.E’ desk accessories are home office heaven; their ‘Marble’ watch for Melbourne’s AÃRK Collective is equally covetable. 

Brodie Neill
We’d give Brodie Neill a straight A for his ‘Alpha’ chair, a solid wood, stackable A-shaped seat which drew admiring glances at 2015’s Milan Furniture Fair. It was first exhibited by Made in Ratio, the East London-based label founded by Neill in 2013. The University of Tasmania furniture design graduate is known for combining traditional craft and digitally produced designs in startling forms. Neill says, ‘I’m adopting processes that are more accustomed to the field of architecture, and physical processes more familiar to sculpture.’ Also on display in Melbourne is his star-shaped, slimline ‘Supernova’ table cast from recycled aluminium, his organic ‘Cowrie’ rocker in natural ash, clover-inspired LED pendant lights and limited edition chaise longues.

Is it sculpture or is it design? It's tricky to define Korban/Flaubert’s work, but this Sydney-based duo’s creations definitely turn heads. Australian metalsmith Janos Korban and UK-born architect Stephanie Flaubert bring a hybrid art-design approach to their Rigg display, which includes chairs, a sculpture/bench and a screen. Materials such as steel and aluminium are their inspiration, with the pair combining Korban’s metalworking skills and Flaubert’s conceptual model-making in abstract yet functional forms. 'We like getting down to the work’s emotional impact,' says Flaubert, 'what it does to your perception, the sense of your own position in space.’

Koskela and Elcho Island Arts
Sydney design store Koskela is known for its Australian-designed and -made, sustainable furniture and products. Here, partners Russel Koskela and Sasha Titchkosky have collaborated with the indigenous weavers of Elcho Island Arts, based north of Arnhem Land in Australia’s Northern Territory, on a bold collection of pendant lights and high-backed wooden chairs featuring pandanus leaf weaving. The project provides economic benefits for the local women, and helps preserve traditional craft techniques. ‘It’s more than a beautiful object, it is embedded cultural storetelling,’ says Titchkosky.

Kate Rohde
Imagine being invited to the Mad Hatter’s tea party – and Salvador Dali had done the styling! Colours and forms are surreal, theatrical and extreme in designer-maker Kate Rohde's synthetic Wunderkammer, a dining room set created for the exhibition featuring a table and chairs, tableware and wallpaper. The magical, zoomorphic installation mixes taxidermy with powerful prints, and rainbow-bright cast resin vessels with animal pelts. Rohde graduated from Melbourne’s Victorian College of the Arts, taking an extravagant art sensibility into her sculpture, jewellery and design projects, including textile collaborations with Sydney fashion duo Romance Was Born. Her installation will also go on show at the 2016 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art until 15 May 2016.

Khai Liew
Born in Malaysia, Khai Liew arrived in Australia in 1971, and now crafts limited edition and one-off designs in his Adelaide studio. Having worked as a conservator and curator of Australian colonial furniture, Liew borrows from heritage techniques to create his sleek, timeless wooden furniture, combining beauty and utility. Here he's showing pale oak and maple tables, chairs and a wardrobe that feel traditional yet modern, featuring tactile details, cross-cultural references and subtly surprising shapes. ‘Beauty comes from taking something to its purest form,’ says Liew.

The Rigg Design Prize 2015 runs until Sunday 7 February 2016 at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia. Entry is free; open 10am-5pm daily.

Photos: Brooke Holm

Art Month Sydney

Sydney is crackling with contemporary art this March, with craft, style and photography events in the mix. Don't miss these six Fizz faves…


Sydneysiders are in luck; from 6 to 29 March 2015 the city is getting its art on. Whether you’re an artist, a collector, a craft fan or an installation buff you'll find something to intrigue you at not-for-profit festival Art Month Sydney, with late-night gallery openings, dinners, debates and drinks. Explore artists’ studios, take an artist-led walk or join a Buy Art tour to snap up something special to display at home. For investment inspiration, check out the Collectors’ Space (Ray Hughes Gallery, 270 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills), where you can ogle the personal collections of art-savvy types, including chef Kylie Kwong. You can even get your culture hit by artcycle if you’d rather explore on two wheels…

Art at Night: East Sydney
When: 12 March, 6pm-10pm
Where: Firstdraft Gallery, 13-17 Riley Street, Woolloomooloo

Three of the city’s buzziest art precincts will open after dark on Thursdays during March, including this debut culturefest in East Sydney, taking in Darlinghurst and Woolloomooloo. Cruise 20 of the area’s local galleries and project spaces from 6pm-8pm, then hit the official Art Bar at Firstdraft Gallery for drinks, tunes and performances from 8pm until late. Firstdraft will be showing ‘Chromatic Syncopation’, featuring three artists including Rebecca Baumann, Ross Manning and indigenous street art talent Reko Rennie.

Follow-up Art at Nights take place in the same time slot at Chippendale/Redfern on 19 March and Paddington/Woollahra on 26 March, with Art Bars at Wellington St Projects (19-25 Wellington Street) and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery (8 Soudan Lane) respectively. Don’t miss Redfern hot spot The Bearded Tit (183 Regent Street), with its kooky 'Grot(to)' show, or Chippendale’s White Rabbit Gallery (30 Balfour Street) for contemporary Chinese art, with new exhibition ‘State of Play’ running until August. Download zone maps on the festival website, and follow the hashtag #artmonth. Artcycle tours (5.30pm-8pm) are available for East Sydney and Chippendale/Redfern.

The Art of Eating: Ceramics, Food & Conversation
When: 14 March, 6pm-10pm
Where: Utopia Art Sydney, 2 Danks Street, Waterloo
$190pp, book online

Exploring tactile contemporary ceramics in a hands-on way, this convivial event brings together four Australian ceramicists, a delicious Thai banquet from Longrain and Lisa McGuigan Wines. Art Month’s artistic director Glenn Barkley will host the conversation with craft talents Brett Stone, Merran Esson, Liane Rossler and Kati Watson. Tickets include dinner, wine and a ceramic artwork by Stone for each guest.

The festival also offers a self-guided ceramics tour, a debate on collecting ceramics (25 March, National Art School), plus exhibition 'Shelfie', showcasing former Dinosaur Designs' director Liane Rossler's sensual, still, monochrome pieces at Annette Larkin Fine Art.

I can do that! The Rise of the Makers
When: 17 March, 6.30pm-8.30pm
Where: Koskela, 1/85 Dunning Avenue, Rosebery

Free, register online

A celebration of craft, from the handmade to the art-led, brings together a group of makers at Rosebery gallery/boutique Koskela. The conversation will explore new tech platforms for promoting art, building new online and local markets. Speakers include Luke Temby of CUPCO, Fictional Objects' Emma Rutherford and Rebecca Chua of Chuchu, with design writer Gillian Serisier as MC.

You Can’t Put That There! Public Art in Sydney
When: 18 March, 6.30pm-8.30pm
Where: State Library of New South Wales, Macquarie Street, Sydney
Free, book online

With public art a hot topic in Sydney after a spate of controversial commissions, this debate at the State Library tackles the thorny question of best practice for urban installations. Sure to get airtime will be Hany Armanious's cheeky conceptual 'Pavilion' for Belmore Park, riffing on generic plastic milk crates, and sinuous sculpture the 'Cloud Arch' by Junya Ishigami, intended for the CBD's George Street, both due to be installed in 2017.

Artist Tour: Garry Trinh
When: 28 March, 10am-12.30pm
Where: Chrissie Cotter Gallery, Pidcock Street, Camperdown

Free, book online

Sydney-based photography Garry Trinh hosts a one-off stroll – also available as a self-guided online tour – focusing on snapping the unexpected, spontaneous moments of everyday life, from the mundane to the magical.

Gotta Have It: Art in the Home
When: 29 March, 2pm-4pm
Where: Collectors’ Space, 270 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills
Free, book online

As viewers of Oz reality TV show ‘The Block’ will know, art in the home is fraught with issues of subjective taste. Should you match your couch to the artwork, or style your room, then find art you love afterwards? Speakers discussing how to live with art include author/stylist Amanda Talbot, Belle magazine's Richard Waller, Liane Rossler and Gillian Serisier.