Melbourne Design Week 2019 – 6 Must-Sees

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

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

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…

‘SOMEWHERE OTHER’: JOHN WARDLE ARCHITECTS
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.

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‘NEW VOLUMES BY ARTEDOMUS’: AN INSTALLATION BY FIONA LYNCH AND THOMAS COWARD
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.

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‘MATERIAL THOUGHT’
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.

’CLEMENT MEADMORE: THE ART OF MID-CENTURY DESIGN’
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.

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‘WELCOME TO WASTELAND’
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!

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WORK SHOP: FIONA LYNCH
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.

www.ngv.vic.gov.au/melbourne-design-week
Melbourne Design Week 2019 runs until Sunday 24 March at venues across the city and Geelong

Lee Broom – Park Life

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British designer Lee Broom reveals ‘Park Life’, a dazzling pop-up exhibition in a car park in Sydney

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

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UK design talent Lee Broom is known for glamorous lighting, furniture and accessories. His shows are just as cutting-edge, with the rising star previously exhibiting his work in a mock department store, a mobile van (albeit one tricked out with an elegant room interior) and on a fairground carousel. Now Broom is taking over an underground car park below Space’s Sydney furniture showroom for ambitious pop-up ‘Park Life’, sharing his new lights with the public in a modernist maze. The Alexandria installation will be his largest to date, covering 4,000 square feet, with the free exhibition running from 14 to 20 March.

‘I am delighted to return to Australia to present this exciting exhibition with Space Furniture,’ says Broom. ‘Australia has been a big supporter of my work for many years and it is an honour to create such a significant installation to showcase my collection in Sydney.’

TOP: The entrance to Sydney’s subterranean ‘Park Life’ maze pavilion, with Lee Broom flanked by his ‘Orion Globe’ and ‘Orion Tube’ lights. ABOVE RIGHT: Fix up, look sharp… London lighting designer Lee Broom before he turned blonde for his Australian tour

A former actor and fashion designer, Broom is known for his trademark sharp look, teaming simple classic and street-savvy details. His designs also reinterpret classical styles in contemporary ways, giving them an unexpected edge. Expect more striking fusions at immersive experience ‘Park Life’, where he’ll be transforming the raw, concrete, industrial car park into his take on a trad English garden.

ABOVE: Lee Broom’s surreal modernist garden maze ‘Park Life’ in Sydney, a beautifully resolved installation featuring his lighting, accessories and furniture in a series of 16 illuminated room sets. Enchanting vignettes play with ideas from chess boards and Newton’s Cradles to cascading waterfalls and trompe l’oeil reflections

Channelling a meandering maze, the pop-up will take guests on ‘a poetic journey of discovery through hidden passageways, with tableaus and vignettes,’ says Broom, showcasing his lighting, furniture and accessories. Inspiration hails from 18th-century pleasure gardens, with their mazes and miniature waterways, amusing visitors with the latest art, architecture, music and illuminations. However, Broom gives the concept a modernist spin, aiming to create a sense of escapism, entertainment and drama.

ABOVE: More mesmerising moments from the ‘Park Life’ pavilion. A white polycarbonate box within the concrete car park, its interconnecting spaces are lined with pale gravel, with designs displayed beside classical statues on boxy, layered plinths. Black acrylic, cut-outs and mirror add surprise to surfaces

If Broom’s mind-bending 2017 trompe l’oeil installation ‘On Reflection’ at his London showroom is anything to go by, design hunters should be in for a treat. Broom chose to show in Sydney, not Milan this year, reaching out to his Australian and Asia-Pacific fanbase, and has put all his creative energy into crafting a surreally beautiful space, guaranteed to whisk visitors into wonderland.

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ABOVE: Lee Broom’s new ‘Eclipse’ pendant lights, updated in polished gold, will be showcased at the pop-up

Debuting at the ‘Park Life’ installation is a new version of Broom’s award-winning ‘Eclipse’ light in a polished gold finish, a warmer, softer interpretation of the original chrome. Like an elegant mobile, these sculptural pendants look different from every angle, with mirror-polished gold and acrylic discs interacting, simultaneously eclipsing and revealing their charms.

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ABOVE FROM LEFT: ‘Eclipse’ chandelier three piece in sheeny gold. The design also comes as a table lamp, with all three variations available to order from April. Broom’s ‘Orion Tube’ and ‘Orion Globe’ pendant lights in polished gold

‘Park Life’ is part of Broom’s wider #LBTour of Asia and Australia, which has seen him give design talks at Space’s showrooms in Singapore for Singapore Design Week (4-17 March), and Brisbane, with another to come at Space Melbourne on 14 March (6pm-9pm) for Melbourne Design Week (14-24 March). Design fans can buy tickets to the Melbourne event, in which Broom will chat about his career, global brand and the experimental nature of design. Plans are also afoot for him to talk at ECC’s Auckland showroom in New Zealand. Don’t miss this illuminating talent…
leebroom.com spacefurniture.com.au

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ABOVE: Broom’s circular ‘Carousel XL’ pendant light in matte black at the installation, inspired by British fairground merry-go-rounds

Free exhibition ‘Park Life’ is at Space, 84 O’Riordan Street, Alexandria, Sydney, from 14 to 20 March 2019 (open daily 10am to 5pm); a launch evening on 13 March is by invite only. Lee Broom’s products are available exclusively in Australia, Singapore and Malaysia from Space Furniture. His ticketed Melbourne talk is at Space, 629 Church Street, Richmond, on 14 March (6pm-9pm)

Pictures: Craig Wall (Sydney installation)