Rigg Design Prize 2018

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2018’s inspiring Rigg Design Prize celebrates 10 of the best Australian interior design practices

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

Interiors gets their hour in the sun at the 2018 Rigg Design Prize exhibition at Melbourne’s NGV Australia, which runs until 24 February 2019. Celebrating different contemporary design disciplines, the triennial prize focused on interior design and decoration for the first time in 2018, shortlisting 10 leading Australian practices. Each was tasked with creating a bespoke, purpose-built room in the gallery, responding to the theme of ‘Domestic Living’. The results are inspiring, suggesting fresh ways of inhabiting our homes, new trends and creative solutions to modern pressures. Even if you can’t get to Melbourne, check out our round up the 10 designs below…

HECKER GUTHRIE
Melbourne design practice Hecker Guthrie (aka Paul Hecker and Hamish Guthrie) bagged the AU$30,000 triennial prize for their graphic yet tactile installation ‘The table is the base’ (above). Riffing on the idea of the humble table, and its charismatic central role in domestic living spaces, the custom-made room plays with clean lines, form and scale. It explores the table as surface, support and enclosure. Judge Shashi Caan said, ‘Using only two elements – the simple form of the ‘Parsons’ table and terracotta as material – the project demonstrates the power of design restraint and curiosity at play.’


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MARTYN THOMPSON STUDIO
New York-based Australian photographer and designer Martyn Thompson’s space celebrates the ‘Atelier’, channelling the modern blurring of work and home life as an opportunity for creative expression. Bathed in light and shadow, his moody space features many of his own designs – including upholstery textiles, rugs, ottomans, wall treatments, ceramics, art and photos shown alongside collaborative, vintage, found and hand-crafted pieces. Even Thompson’s records, shoes and fleamarket finds make the cut. Clothes are hung like artworks and ambient music generates emotion. Flexible and ever-evolving, this is the home as heartland, layered, textural and deeply personal.


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DANIELLE BRUSTMAN
Like a chic spaceship or cool club, Danielle Brustman’s installation ‘Inner-Terior’ is somewhere we’d like to hang out. It helps that it stars a contemporary update of a cocooning, conversation pit and a futuristic record player (shown above right). A set designer before founding her Melbourne studio, Brustman drew on theatrical aesthetics for this curvy white space, edged with vibrant colour, glossy metallics and eye-catching illuminations. A lounge room that borrows from stage and spectacle, it takes its cues from Art Deco bandshells, European retro-futurist designs from the 60s, 80s movie Xanadu, rollerskating rinks and amusement rides. We reckon it’s 2001: A Space Odyssey gone domestic.


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THE SOCIETY INC BY SIBELLA COURT
Stylist and author Sibella Court, of Sydney interiors store The Society Inc, has always had a love affair with global curios, vintage finds, old tools, pirates and gypsies. For her Rigg Prize entry, dubbed the ‘Imaginarium’, she envisaged a space to ‘wonder, imagine, interact, research and create’. An entire home distilled into a single room, it feels darkly magical, with a rich mix of materials from pressed metal to wood and fabric. Layers of textures and colours, old and new, and real and imagined offer a modern take on a 16th-century ‘cabinet of curiosities’. The space celebrates craft, with displayed objects, including a striking feature wall, acting as a catalyst for memory and imagination. From an alchemy workshop to a ship’s crow’s nest, a bar, dress-up cupboard and pot-belly stove, it’s a mini world of wonders.


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RICHARDS STANISICH
Texture rules in the mesmerising tone-on-tone sculptural installation crafted by Richards Stanisich, titled ‘Our natural needs in a digital world’. The Sydney practice, established in 2018 by former SJB talents Jonathan Richards and Kirsten Stanisich, addresses our fundamental need for shelter, sanctuary, hygiene and intimacy and how it has been transformed by integrated technology and the Internet of Things. A central ochre living, sleeping and kitchen space champions the handmade, simple and earthy, with natural fabrics, ceramics and tiles. By contrast, it’s surrounded by black gloss tiles edged with blue light, representing the digital realm.


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FLACK STUDIO
Melbourne interior architecture firm Flack Studio has a way with vibrant colour, bold pattern and unexpected details, as seen in their striking portfolio of residential spaces, cafes, restaurants and boutiques. For the Rigg Prize, David Flack and his team ‘Flackify’ their living/dining space with saturated gold hues, luxe textures and quirky art and ornaments. ‘We’ve boundless plains to share’ references diversity and inclusion, creating an emotionally charged room for a golden age in Australia, encouraging collaboration and community.


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ARENT&PYKE
Elegance and beauty are at the heart of ‘Home: feast, bathe, rest’ by Sydney interior design studio Arent&Pyke (Juliette Arent and Sarah-Jane Pyke). The smartly zoned space combines areas for dining, washing and retreating, offering ideas for respite and emotional and physical wellbeing in a stressful world. Each area includes a contemporary Australian artwork and a bespoke piece of furniture, blending inspiring design-art with comforting, restorative simplicity.


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AMBER ROAD
Sydney interior design and landscape practice Amber Road’s seductive space ‘Take it outside’ is full of burnt colours, floaty textiles and dreamy desert and starlit views, centred around an inviting lounger. It celebrates the verandah or porch as a key transitional zone for relaxing and chatting together, especially in Australian homes. Principal designers and sisters Yasmine Ghoniem and Katy Svalbe spent time in the Middle East, as well as on their family farms in Australia, capturing this heritage in a beautifully crafted indoor-outdoor room.


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DAVID HICKS
Have homes become inner sanctums, fortresses or vessels for consumerist ideals? Melbourne- and LA-based David Hicks studio presents ‘Panic room’, combining Hicks’ trademark eye for luxe detail with lighting strung on chunky chains and threatening screens. It’s a slick satire on our panicked, media-saturated times, suggesting a life on stage, voyeuristic and yet paranoid about threats from outside. Has the aspirational ideal of a perfect life morphed into homes as psychological retreats and cocoons for self-protection?


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SCOTT WESTON ARCHITECTURE DESIGN
A sequence of six rooms forms ‘Wunderkammer’, an installation by Sydney-based Scott Weston Architecture Design which takes its cue from the renovation of Weston’s own Victorian Italianate terrace house, Villa Carmelina. Each contains a cabinet, or wunderkammer, featuring prized ‘jewels’, miniature artworks by favourite makers. An abstract representation of the house, it makes use of monochrome dioramas with coloured highlights and wallpaper vignettes or ornaments and collectibles.

Catch the Rigg Design Prize 2018 at Level 3, NGV Australia, Federation Square, Melbourne until Sunday 24 February 2019 (10am-5pm) or see the gallery’s website for a virtual tour and online interviews with the designers

The Big Design Market Sydney

Need gift inspiration? Check out The Big Design Market in Sydney

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

Christmas shopping can be inspiring and support design talent too. For the first time, The Big Design Market brings more than 200 independent Australian and international designers together for three days of stylish shopping in Sydney, running from Friday 25 to Sunday 27 November at Moore Park's Royal Hall of Industries. The market then moves on to Melbourne (2-4 December), where it has proved a hit in recent years. Crafts, homewares, lighting, fashion, jewellery, lifestyle accessories, stationery and kids' kit are all in the mix, with a different line-up for each city and a focus on original, quality and sustainable products.

ABOVE: Sydney's line-up includes Bridget Bodenham's handmade ceramics; Robyn Wood's tulip-inspired timber and bonded parchment 'Bud' table lamp; Fictional Objects' soft-finish cotton bed linen sports minimal patterns

Some of our fave FizzPicks for Sydney include Bridget Bodenham's graphic, textured ceramic tableware; Angus & Celeste's quirky hanging planters; Skimming Stones' Australian-inspired porcelain; and artists Rowena Martinich and Geoffrey Carran of Martinich&Carran's painterly plates. Fictional Objects designs subtly contemporary bed linen. For cool jewellery, don't miss A Skulk of Foxes and Emily Green's pastel-pretty pieces. Trent Jansen's 'Cyclesign' bicycle wheel reflectors, made out of recycled road signs and bike tubes, are eco-friendly stocking fillers.

ABOVE: Angus & Celeste's hanging 'Jelly' planters; 'Original Dutch' paper origami shade by Studio Snowpuppe from Paper Empire Australia; handmade 'Lion Snuggle' cushion and 'Elfie Elephant' soft toy from Miann & Co; 'Hydrangea Mixed Bead' necklace by Emily Green, featuring hand-formed polymer clay and rectangular brass beads

Creative types can get involved in workshops, with sessions on personalised colour palettes hosted by Sydney stylist supreme Sibella Court (known for her innovative hotel, bar and restaurant interiors, and inspirational shop The Society Inc. in St Peters). Melbourne illustrator Beci Orpin will also be teaching you how to design your own block printing stamps. Children can enjoy free kids' activities, plus a magical hand-painted forest play area by author/illustrator Penny Ferguson of Min Pin. This year's guest artist is renowned paper artist Benja Harney of Paperform, who will craft a colourful large-scale installation. 

ABOVE: Hand-painted ceramic platter by artists Martinich&Carran; artwork by illustrator Beci Orpin; cute paper works by Enemies Yay (illustrators Laura Blythman and Pete Cromer); 'Ice Cream Bicycle Bell' by Beep Bicycle Bells; Sydney distillery Archie Rose will be mixing vodka, gin and white rye cocktails at the market

You won't go home hungry with some of Sydney's finest food and drink purveyors setting up shop at the market. Mary's, Porteño, Smoking Gun Bagels and Taco Truck will be dishing up food, with sweet treats by Gelato Messina and All Day Donuts, and drinks by Tasmania's Moo Brew, Lunar Wines and Archie Rose Distillery, among others. Early birds can scoop designer showbags, limited to 300 a day, and filled with over $120 worth of treats from stallholders (just $15 each).

ABOVE: Stylist Sibella Court, with Instagram-friendly interiors from her Sydney store The Society Inc., just one of the talents hosting creative workshops

sydney.thebigdesignmarket.com
The Big Design Market is at Royal Hall of Industries, Errol Flynn Blvd, Moore Park, Sydney, from 25-27 November 2016; Fri 10am-9pm, Sat 10am-7pm, Sun 10am-5pm; adults $2, free for kids 12 and under. See our follow-up post for more on Melbourne's market from 2-4 December 2016