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

London Design Biennale 2016

Visions of Utopia from over 30 countries have taken over Somerset House in the first London Design Biennale


The debut London Design Biennale is staking its place in the cultural calendar, rivalling Venice's famous art and architecture biennales. Taking over the whole of Somerset House for three weeks until 27 September, in partnership with Jaguar, the event is a veritable United Nations of talent. Challenged to explore the theme of ‘Utopia by Design’, 37 countries and territories from six continents have created inspiring new installations, artworks and prototypes.

TOP: 'Chakraview', India's vibrant installation by Sumant Jayakrishnan
BELOW: Chile's retro-futurist 'The Counterculture Room' by FabLab Santiago; Albania's stainless steel 'Bliss' sculpture by Helidon Xhixha; Israel's 'Human.Touch', by Yaniv Kadosh, explores first-aid drops for disaster zones; Spain's 'VPolis, Diving into the Future', by Dimeloami Productions and Maria Levene, looks at smart cities

Part of Somerset House’s celebration of the 500th anniversary of Sir Thomas More’s radical 1516 text ‘Utopia’, the biennale champions the role of design to improve our future, addressing modern issues from pollution to migration, social equality to sustainability. Commissioned by leading design museums and organisations, top designers, architects, artists, writers and scientists have generated an entertaining mix of immersive digital installations, culinary pop-ups, kinetic sculptures, performances and VR renderings. They include homages to unrealised past utopias, innovative solutions for 21st century problems and bold imaginings of future societies.

As Biennale president Sir John Sorrell said, 'All over the world, nations and cities are increasingly recognising the power of design to bring social change and economic growth.' Countries from Austria to Nigeria, Mexico, South Africa and Taiwan took part, but here are our fave five FizzPicks…

Sometimes real life is forgotten in the cerebral world of design, which tends to flock around Western values. No wonder then, that French-born Annabel Karim Kassar’s vibrant recreation of a bustling Beirut street on the Thames waterfront feels like a breath of fresh air. At medal-winning ‘Mezzing In Lebanon’ you can get a wet shave at the authentic barber’s shop, enjoy street snacks of falafel and pomegranate juice, or just marvel at the painted posters, old-school utes and piles of tempting oranges. Street signs, coffee stalls, a small lounge cinema, carts and convivial chaos hint at the way ordinary people worldwide occupy sociable space.

You’ll feel blue in the surreal sculptural space curated by The Netherlands. Taking the archive as a future arbiter, Studio Makkink & Bey has created an evocative blue foam tone-on-tone diorama. Entitled ‘Design Diorama: The Archive as a Utopic Environment’, these products and memorabilia, sourced from the home of Dutch architect Rianne Makkink and designer Jurgen Bey, form a potent autobiographical display, exploring the ways designers and institutions curate objects and collect history.

Representing the UK, London design duo Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby’s installation ‘Forecast’, in collaboration with the Victoria and Albert Museum, is a striking 14-metre-high blue kinetic sculpture that moves with the wind. Occupying the outdoor Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court, it explores the nation’s nautical past and its innovative relationship with renewable energy, drawing on engineeering by Arup. Proof that eco-friendly can be easy on the eye too.

London-based Australian designer Brodie Neill (of Made In Ratio) tackles the pressing issue of ocean waste in his installation ‘Plastic Effects’, forming the beautiful ‘Gyro’ table from fragments of harvested and recycled marine micro-plastic. The terrazzo-like composite is inlaid in a dreamy kaleidoscopic pattern. With five trillion plastic items estimated to pollute the world’s oceans, many of them washing up on Australia’s beaches, this once-utopian material now poses a huge challenge for the environment.

‘The Wish Machine’, Turkey’s entry by Istanbul architecture/design duo Autoban, is a contemporary take on a wish tree, on which people tie notes of hope. Walk through the tunnel of transparent, pneumatic hexagonal tubes, then feed your handwritten wish message into an opening and watch it glide away. At the Fizz, we wish for a brighter future for all, aided by imaginative design…

BELOW: A colourful contribution from India, including circular forms and trad textiles; Pakistan's 'Daalaan' adult playroom features wood objects, spinning tops and henna-dye screen prints; Spain's take on new tech

London Design Biennale (#LDB16) is at Somerset House, Strand, London WC2, from 7–27 September 2016. Open daily from 11am; tickets £15 (concessions £10), on sale via Ticketmaster.

Pictures: Ed Reeve; Gui Bonsiepe (Chile)

LDF 2015 – 'A Child's Dream' at designjunction

The design fraternity has got together to raise money for charity at designjunction with help from some of Eames' four-legged friends...


Last year's London Design Festival saw designjunction host 'A Child's Dream', a special charity auction to raise money for Teddy's Wish, which backs research into Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, neo-natal death and stillbirth, and supports grieving families. Designers such as Benjamin Hubert, Tom Dixon and Afroditikrassa customised Anglepoise lamps and Ercol chairs which were then sold to the highest bidder. The impressive sum of £10,000 was raised, every penny of which went directly to Teddy's Wish.

For 2015, 'A Child's Dream' is back only this time around it's been invaded by a herd of baby elephants. Swiss design brand Vitra has donated classic Eames Elephants – originally designed by Charles and Ray Eames in 1945 in plywood, but now manufactured in plastic – which have been distributed to 21 leading designers to decorate in their own inimitable style. Lee Broom, Kit Miles, Fredrikson Stallard and Sebastian Wrong are just some of the design elite playing 'elephant stylist'. From what we've seen so far there'll be Indian exotica from Zandra Rhodes, Patternity has come over all dotty while Eley Kishimoto's soft geometric design brings quilting into the mix.

ABOVE RIGHT: Zandra Rhodes goes to Bollywood
BELOW: The florid design of Kit Miles; Patternity's monochrome dots; geometric quilting from Eley Kishimoto 

Visitors to designjunction can preview these elephantine designs at Victoria House, in an installation by Anthony Dickens. A two-week bidding period kicks off on 23 September 2015, with a live online auction following the show. So if any of the one-off, hand-decorated pachyderms has caught your eye, don't be a Dumbo, put your bid in. You could go home with a truly unique piece having helped raise funds for a very good cause. Trumpety trump!

‘A Child’s Dream’ exhibition is on from 24-27 September 2015 at designjunction, Victoria House, 37 Southampton Row, London WC1.

Register in advance online using code DJDESIGNFIZZ to get 50% off the standard ticket price. Tickets are priced at £10 in August and £12 in September so the sooner you register the more you'll save!
Go to before 24 September 2015 to enjoy this exclusive discount. 

Jeff Koons: The Retrospective

Switched-on commentator of our times or narcissistic charlatan? American artist Jeff Koons has always split opinion neatly in two. Now the Pompidou Centre in Paris lays his work bare for all to see, so are you friend or foe?


America’s enfant terrible Jeff Koons is probably the last living exponent of Pop Art to have a major retrospective of his work. The Pompidou Centre in Paris is currently hosting 100 sculptures and paintings by this irreverent and controversial artist, tracing his colourful 35-year career.

Like Warhol before him, Koons’ fascination with everyday objects led him to glorify the banal and the functional and to transform them into covetable works of art. Years before British artist Damien Hirst put a shark into formaldehyde, Koons was displaying vacuum cleaners in glass cases and basketballs in aquariums, attracting both acclaim and scepticism from the art establishment and public alike.

ABOVE: 'Balloon Dog (Magenta)' 1994-2000
ABOVE RIGHT: 'Split Rocker (Pink/Blue)' 1999
BELOW: 'Three Ball Total Equilibrium Tank (Dr J Silver Series)' 1985

Koons’ most definitive artworks are on show here. The iconic larger-than-life stainless steel balloon animals are instantly recognisable, while the NSFW exhibits of his controversial Made In Heaven collection (Koons and ex-wife La Cicciolina in the throes of passion) are sure to raise a few eyebrows.

Lovers of kitsch will find plenty to drool over too as the infamous ‘Michael Jackson and Bubbles’ sculpture crowns Koons the King of Kitsch in no uncertain terms.

3. Dutch Couple 2007 ∏ Jeff Koons.jpg

For those who wondered where Lady Gaga got the inspiration for her album ‘Artpop’, look no further than ‘Gazing Ball’, a collection of white sculptures accompanied by a hand-blown bright blue glass ball. 

The Pompidou retrospective is the first to stage such an ambitious collection of Koons' work outside America, so love him or loathe him we certainly can’t ignore him. In fact, we think Pop Art’s finest hour is finally here…

ABOVE, TOP ROW: 'Teapot' 1979; 'Hoover Celebrity III' 1980
ABOVE: 'Dutch Couple' 2007
LEFT: 'Lobster' 2003
BELOW: 'Michael Jackson and Bubbles' 1988
BOTTOM: 'Gazing Ball (Ariadne)' 2013

'Jeff Koons: A Retrospective' is on now until 27 April 2015

All works © Jeff Koons
Pictures: Santi Caleca, Douglas M Parker Studios, Markus Tretter Fotographie, Tom Powel Imaging