Melbourne Design Week 2019 – 6 Must-Sees


This year’s Melbourne Design Week offers a thought-provoking mix of exhibitions, talks and tours. Take a peek…


2019’s Melbourne Design Week features more than 200 exhibitions, talks, tours, films and workshops, with events across town and in neighbouring city Geelong. Running from 14 to 24 March, Melbourne’s largest festival programme to date celebrates both local and international talent, with the core theme of ‘Design Experiments’ – asking how design can shape the future. A mix of ticketed and free activities embrace diverse challenges from the environment to social issues and materials. This year’s festival wraps up on Sunday, but many of the inspiring shows continue beyond the weekend. Here are six of our top FizzPicks…

Ground Level/Foyer, NGV Australia, Federation Square
Until 28 July (10am-5pm, free)

Visitors are invited to peek through five portals within timber and steel structure ‘Somewhere Other’, a compact, interactive experience by Melbourne practice John Wardle Architects. At NGV Australia until late July, this intriguing installation was first shown as part of 2018’s 16th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Architecture Biennale (pictured, top and above). Each of the wooden volumes, voids and apertures in its interconnected series frames views of the studio’s projects, the Australian landscape or the craft of collaborators including artist Natasha Johns-Messenger and filmmakers Coco and Maximilian.


TDF Gallery, 14 Little Oxford Street, Collingwood
Until 24 March (11am-5pm, free)

We’re big fans of Artedomus’s ‘New Volumes’ collection, which showcases solid marble homewares by eight Australian designers. This Collingwood exhibition, curated by interior designer Fiona Lynch and designer Thomas Coward, represents the range in an installation that follows the journey of this sculptural material from the ‘ground to the house’, contrasted with a series of chunky marble plinths.


Modern Times, 311 Smith Street, Fitzroy
Until 24 March (see link for times, free)

Presented by Fitzroy interiors store Modern Times, group exhibition ‘Material Thought’ explores material through the work of innovative Australian designers. On show are furniture, lighting and objects by nine top talents, including Henry Wilson (‘Stone Surface Sconce’, in Calacatta Marble, above), Coco Flip and Christopher Boots, all illuminating themes of design experimentation and sustainability.

Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne, Swanston Street
Until 24 March (see link for times, free)

Fans of modernism will enjoy exhibition ‘Clement Meadmore: The art of mid-century design’, a homage to the acclaimed Australian talent. The first major survey of Meadmore’s industrial design practice, it explores the inspirations that shaped the renowned sculptor’s early career as a designer. Part of a new wave of Australian design in the Fifties and Sixties, Meadmore championed streamlined forms, fresh materials and new manufacturing processes. His furniture and lighting appeared in the houses of iconic architect Robin Boyd, with well known designs such as his 1951 corded dining chair on view at the Ian Potter Museum of Art.


Compound Interest, 15-25 Keele Street, Collingwood
Until 24 March (11am-5pm, free)

Presented by Friends & Associates, ‘Welcome to Wasteland’ shares the work of cutting-edge local talents involved with sustainable design. Featuring architects, industrial designers, furniture makers and researchers, the show explores the potential of waste materials recycled into fresh, eco-friendly products. Typically innovative is Vert Design’s ‘HuskeeCup’ made from coffee husk waste, their collaboration with Spark & Burnish to craft ‘Marine Debris Bakelite Door Knobs’, and Maddison Ryder’s use of discarded Iceberg lettuce to form ‘Lettuce Eat’ disposable plates. Other materials in the mix include waste glass, ceramic, plastic, oyster shells, rubber bands, paper pulp, denim jeans, pigs’ blood and even golf balls!


7 Glasshouse Road, Collingwood
Until 24 March (see link for times, free)

A curatorial showcase of experimental design, fine art and objects, interior designer Fiona Lynch’s new permanent gallery Work Shop aims to celebrate work by Australian and international designers and artists, as well as doubling as a testing ground for her own studio’s practice. For Melbourne Design Week, the debut show curates a selection of pieces examining the tension between resolved and incomplete elements, including ceramics by Olivia Walker (black porcelain collapsed vessel, above), burnt wood bowls by Makiko Ryujin, paintings by Jiaxin Nong and lighting design by Mary Wallis.
Melbourne Design Week 2019 runs until Sunday 24 March at venues across the city and Geelong

25XDesign: Amanda Levete's inspiring Melbourne tour

MPavilion 2015 architect Amande Levete shares her 25xDesign Melbourne inspirations for a smart tour


At DesignFizz, we’ve long been fans of Melbourne’s design charms, from modernist architecture to quirky laneways, cutting-edge shops and salvage-chic bars. So imagine our delight when we heard that Amanda Levete of AL_A studio, the UK architect behind this year's magical MPavilion, had teamed up with London Design Festival director Ben Evans to create a guide to Melbourne's most inspiring style spots.

Launched at MPavilion today, the 25xDesign smart tour was conceived by Evans as an interactive digital event, intended to celebrate design and place. You can experience Levete's 25 hand-picked, favourite Melbourne design destinations as a traditional walking tour, but that would be like so 1985! This so-now tour was developed with Google Creative Lab's 360 degree technology, so you can access the locations as a virtual immersion on your mobile or online (provided you've got compatibility, 'natch). Dubbed Story Spheres, the platform uses experimental browser technologies including webGL and 3js, and can be viewed on your desktop, mobile or via Google Cardboard for a virtual-reality-esque experience. Future tours will help design fans discover other cities with the help of select tastemakers, but Melbourne is the first cab off the rank.

Tours start and finish at MPavilion, in Queen Victoria Gardens, and include a thought-provoking mix of art, architecture, transport and streetscapes (think Melbourne's iconic trams and 19th-century laneways, right), plus drinking and dining dens (such as Patricia's cafe, right, by Foolscap Studio and Beyond the Little Pixels on Little William Street, with pavement pews formed from trademark Melbourne plastic crates).

We won't give the whole game away, but top picks include artist Ugo Rondinone's 2007 'Our Magic Hour' light art installation in South Yarra (main image above) as well as Napier Waller's 1933 Newspaper House mosaic (inset on mobile above), Carlton's kookily nautical 1936 Cairo Flats by Best Overend with their swirly cream stairways (above), and Harry Seidler's modernist 1980s 1 Spring Street block (formerly Shell House, above). So wherever you are, take a tour...