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

Nite Art 2015


Art-loving Melburnian vampires are in luck; Nite Art strikes again, with galleries open late across town tonight


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Fancy getting a Melbourne art fix? Now in its third year, Nite Art sees 30 art sites open late across three central precincts from 6pm tonight (Thursday 23 July). With more than 75 artists on display, it encourages fans to wander the city, checking out photography, painting, drawing, installations, sculpture, printmaking, and digital and light works, plus art happenings, talks and walks. DesignFizz can vouch for the fun factor, having cycled around 21 studios, museums and galleries on Nite Art’s debut event, stopping to quaff beers along the way. Who said art was intimidating?

To map out your Nite download a map, which details the three core precincts – City Central, Arts Precinct – Federation Square and the atmospheric University of Melbourne, plus some Open House Melbourne spaces. See our FizzPicks below or follow Nite Art’s suggested routes Mix it Up 1, Mix It Up 2 and Nite Seekers

City Central
Boasting 16 spaces, City Central precinct is a great place to start, including galleries in the historic, multi-level Nicholas Building (37 Swanston Street) and along popular eat-street Flinders Lane (look out for the projection wall by Roy Chu outside Chin Chin). Snoop around Blender Studios (110 Franklin Street), then see Dark Horse Experiment’s curated group show in the main space, including Adrian Doyle’s paintings riffing on suburban Australia. Next up, head to nearby Screen Space (ground floor, 30 Guildford Lane), where Amie Siegel and Victor Burgin’s exhibitions explore the connections between modernist architecture and new media technology. Fans of interiors should also make for the White Library, a small sculpture by Ruth Johnstone at the Athenaeum Library (188 Collins Street) inserting blank tablets among the shelves, a reflection of the compression of information in the digital age.

Arts Precinct – Federation Square
Online pre-bookings for Melinda Hetzel’s site-specific performance Fly By Night, journeying through the secret passageways of Hamer Hall (100 St Kilda Road), have been snapped up but walk-ups will be permitted where possible. It’s a participatory promenade involving dance theatre, music and digital technology. The central Arts Precinct – Federation Square zone also takes in two shows at ACMI (Federation Square), including inspiring new exhibition David Bowie is (on until 1 November 2015), which shares the influential videos, films, album artwork, stage designs and costumes of the genderbending UK music star. 

ABOVE: Julia Weissenberg’s Nothing to Retain (video still), Total House
ABOVE RIGHT: Nite Art's laser-eyed poster by Work Art Life Studios

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ABOVE FROM TOP: Adrian Doyle’s Never Forget to Remember painting at Dark Horse Experiment; Late-night hub The Ian Potter Museum of Art

The University of Melbourne
The seven spaces around the University of Melbourne offer individual exhibitions and group shows such as Light Speculation at The Carlton Connect Initiative LAB–14 (700 Swanston Street, Carlton), which looks at light as a wondrous phenomenon. It includes Erica Seccombe’s GROW, a projection of mung beans and alfalfa germinating in 4D, which resemble alien life forms. The zone also hosts several shows involving Liquid Architecture, featuring sound installation and video, at the Melbourne School of Design (Masson Road), allowing access to its Japanese Room, designed by architect Shigeru Yura.

Open House Melbourne
Tying in with Open House Melbourne, which throws open the doors to intriguing spaces around town this weekend (25 and 26 July), a clutch of Open House Melbourne x Nite Art sites form part of tonight’s offerings. Julia Weissenberg’s Nothing to Retain is a two-channel video exploring a temporary reconstruction of a Mies van der Rohe-designed building that was never built. It’s being screened at Total House (aka TV House, 170-190 Russell Street), a hybrid car park/office/night club building which is one of Melbourne’s best examples of Japanese-inspired Brutalist architecture. Added to the Victorian Heritage Register in 2014 and home to various design studios, it’s still the subject of debates about its preservation or redevelopment. The Default Collective’s site-specific video here focusses on the entrance lift. Booking essential.

Late-Night Hub
Wrap up at the event’s late-night hub at The Ian Potter Museum of Art (801 Swanston Street, Carlton), where you can enjoy a drink from 10pm until midnight. Julie Rrap’s video will be projected onto the building's wall and Melbourne band The Orbweavers will play around 10.15pm (just hashtag those dance moves #niteart15!). Alternatively, late-opening Art Bars around town include GoGo Bar (125 Flinders Lane) under Chin Chin, Bar Americano (20 Presgrave Place) and Hell’s Kitchen (20a Centre Place). Culture and cocktails go together like a Swanston Street horse and carriage!

Nite Art is on from 6pm until late tonight, Thursday 23 July 2015, in Melbourne