Rigg Design Prize 2018


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


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…

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.’


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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?


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

Sydney Design Festival Top 12: Part 1

Aki Inomata, Why Not Hand Over a ‘Shelter’ to Hermit Crabs series, 2009–16_Courtesy of Maho Kubota Gallery copy.jpg

Sydney Design Festival brings exhibitions, talks, films and workshops to town. Here's Part 1 of our Top 12 FizzPicks. See our follow-up post for six more must-sees…


Sydney Design Festival transforms Australia's most vibrant city from 2 to 11 September 2016, offering more than 100 inspiring design experiences citywide, bringing people, ideas and disciplines together. Now in its 19th year, the festival is led by the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS), with core events at its Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo. 2016's theme is 'Make or Break', creating something new by reimagining the old, reflected in exhibitions, talks and workshops. Here are six of our top 12 FizzPicks, with six more to come...

ABOVE: Aki Inomata, Why Not Hand Over a 'Shelter' to Hermit Crabs? series, 2009-16, courtesy of Maho Kubota Gallery, from exhibition 'Out of Hand: Materialising the Digital'


Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, 2-3 and 7-10 September (11am-5pm, free)

16-20 Goodhope Street, Paddington
Paddington gallery Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation hosts ‘Green Ladder’, a grid-like alfresco forest room installation of eco-friendly bamboo by influential Vietnamese architect Vo Trong Nghia, exploring the potential of ‘green steel’ scaffolding to bring nature back to the city. It’s the fourth in SCAF’s ‘Fugitive Structures’ series of annual architectural pavilions, and runs until 10 December 2016. Also look out for Australian architectural photographer John Gollings presenting ‘The Hero Image’ at SCAF on Thursday 8 September (6pm-8pm, free, but register), a visual collection of defining images of ancient and modern work from around the world.

Powerhouse Museum, Saturday 3 September (10.30am-5pm, free with $15 museum entry)
500 Harris Street, Ultimo

Indigenous Design Day celebrates indigenous design talent, bringing together three events at Ultimo's Powerhouse Museum. In his groundbreaking initiative 'Virtual Songlines' (10.30am-11.30am), Brett Leavy strips back the contemporary Australian landscape to reveal its pre-colonial contact environment. Leavy will discuss this virtual, interactive tool, and its potential future applications. 'Deadly Designers Now' (12.30pm-1.30pm) sees indigenous talents share their success stories. Finally, 'Indigenous Technologies in the 21st Century' (2pm-5pm) explores the ethics and opportunities presented by new 3D scanning and printing techs in the context of cultural objects, curation and the preservation of heritage.

OUT OF HAND: Materialising the Digital
Powerhouse Museum, 3 September-25 June 2017 (10am-5pm, $15 with general admission)
500 Harris Street, Ultimo

Discover cutting-edge design innovations at major show 'Out of Hand: Materialising the Digital' at the Powerhouse Museum. Touring from New York's Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), the exhibition delves into the growing role of digital manufacture in design, architecture, fashion, science and contemporary art, with fresh Australian and AsiaPacific examples. Highlights include radical Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen's 'Bubble Dress, formed from silicone-coated glass spheres, US designer Michael Schmidt's fully articulated 3D-printed gown, originally modelled by burlesque queen Dita Von Teese, a 3D-printed jet engine, and Sydney artist Louis Pratt's 3D printed and scanned sculptures (pictured). Don't miss designs by Ron Arad and Zaha Hadid.

KINTSUGI with Studio Enti
4, 7, and 10 September (see link below for hours)
20-28 Carrington Road, Workpod 1, Marrickville

Learn the traditional Japanese art of repairing ceramics with gold or silver lacquer, accentuating the cracks, at workshop Kintsugi with Studio Enti in inner-west Marrickville. Studio Enti, run by maker Naomi Taplin, is known for covetable handcrafted modern porcelain tableware. Repairing broken crockery never looked so beautiful!

Theatre, Powerhouse Museum, Tuesday 6 September (6.30pm-8.30pm, $40)
500 Harris Street, Ultimo

We’re huge fans of the worldwide PechaKucha events, originated by Klein Dytham architects in Tokyo in 2003, in which designers give a snappy slideshow while talking through their work (the word is Japanese for chit-chat). For 'Pecha Kucha: Sink or Swim' in the Powerhouse Museum, seven leading creatives, including graphic, digital and motion designers plus colourful Sydney artist Ken Done, take seven minutes each to share career smashes and screw-ups.

Golden Age Cinema & Bar, Wednesday 7 September (6pm-8pm, $20)
Lower Ground Floor, Paramount House, 80 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills

Catch a screening of seminal 1965 cult film Alphaville by Jean-Luc Godard at Surry Hills’ gorgeous intimate Art Deco Golden Age Cinema & Bar. Dealing with themes of technophobia, digitalisation and creativity, this cult sci-fi classic is set in a tyrannical dystopian space city run by a computer that doesn’t allow emotion of love. Rock up early for pre-screening drinks and toast #sdf16!

Sydney Design Festival runs from 2 to 11 September 2016, with events based across town including the Powerhouse Museum hub. See our follow-up post for six more FizzPicks.

New Designers 2015 – Part 2

We've been thrilled by Part 1 and can't wait for Part 2 of New Designers 2015, the London show that brings this year's freshest design graduates under one roof. Plus we've got a little something for you too...


If Part 1 of New Designers 2015 is anything to go by, Part 2 is going to wind up the show in style. We've been blown away by the level of talent this year, having seen quite a few 'want it now' pieces with textiles and wallpapers being particularly strong.

Fancy free entry to Part 2 of the show, followed by a three-course meal at Frederick's with champagne, plus a limited-edition bottle of Absolut Vodka? Seriously, what's not to like?
Just answer the question below for the chance to win this Fizztastic prize.

Which young British design star is hidden in the following anagram?
R  O  M  E  O  B  L  E

If you think you know who it is, email your answer to info@thedesignfizz.com with 'DesignFizz Competition' in the subject field by 30 June 2015. The lucky winner of this incredible prize will be chosen at random on 30 June. See below for terms and conditions. Only UK entrants over 18 can enter.

So we're looking forward to Part 2 (1-4 July) which brings in furniture, product and industrial design, graphics, spatial design, illustration, animation and digital work. Once again One Year On will showcase graduates in their first year of business, some of whom are selling their debut commercially produced collections at the exhibition.

To cap it all, we have a very special competition to win two VIP passes for unlimited entry to Part 2 of the show, plus a three-course dinner at rated Islington restaurant Frederick's with a bottle of champagne, and a limited-edition bottle of Absolut Vodka. See the panel to the right for details then read on for a few of our favourite things in Part 2...

ABOVE: JULIETTE NEVEU L'Ecole de Design Nantes Atlantique Juliette Neveu has devised 'Twist:id', an ingenious puzzle that takes the place of passwords for all your internet accounts. Choose a configuration instead of a password, align the vibrant pieces correctly and the Bluetooth Smart chips inside each segment connect to your device to open your corresponding accounts. Passwords could soon be a thing of the past.


Five Fizzpicks at New Designers Part 2

Beth Lewis-Williams' collection of illustrated lights explores the art of the lithophane, a process dating back to the 1800s which involved pressing images into translucent porcelain that was then backlit to reveal the design. Her mesmerising lamps portray contemporary scenes from Ramsgate beaches to London cityscapes and idyllic pastoral landscapes from a bygone era.

RICH ABRAMS Plymouth College of Art
Rich Abrams' illustration of synchronized swimming at the Atlanta 1996 Summer Olympics makes us giggle. It manages to be witty and representational while also displaying a keen eye for colour and form. His flat almost naive style using subtle textures and muted tones is simple, direct and instantly engaging. Now if only we could remember where we put that swimsuit...

Rugs are like catnip to some designers, allowing them to play with texture, colour and pattern on a large scale. We love Robyn Hinchcliffe's geometric designs that recall the glamorous age of Art Deco. The 'Mohair Dot Carpet' (above) features soft grey ellipses, minty green ribbing and little bursts of orange. If we had one of these it would definitely be 'shoes off!'

MARIE BOURGAT Arts University Bournemouth
Textile designer Marie Bourgat's love of abstract art comes through loud and clear in her theatrical designs. The works of Henri Matisse, Kasimir Malevich and Stuart Davis have all informed Bourgat's compositions which resemble carefully constructed abstract paintings using a variety of techniques including digital fabric printing, freehand brush stokes and laser-cutting.

It happens to us all the time. We've been out and about, taking pictures, texting and Instagramming and before we know it our phone's as dead as a dodo. Frank Milani has designed a sleek answer to this 21st-century problem in the shape of the 'Popcord' charger. It's a clever little device that allows you to plug your phone into any USB socket to charge up. Small enough to fit on your keyring it's a discreet power source that comes into its own at the end of the day.

New Designers 2015 Part 2, 1-4 July 2015. Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, London N1

COMPETITION TERMS AND CONDITIONS Entrants must be 18 or over and reside in the UK. The winner will be selected at random from correct answers emailed to info@thedesignfizz.com by midday on Tuesday 30 June 2015, and notified the same day. The Editor's decision is final. DesignFizz reserves the right to amend the terms and conditions for this competition at any time without notice. The three-course dinner at Frederick's includes a bottle of champagne, but no other drinks. The prize must be collected from New Designers, Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, London N1 by 4th July.