Vivid Sydney 2016

Bright-spark festival Vivid Sydney illuminates the city again, bringing lights, music, ideas and design to the party


Vivid Sydney is back, bringing illumination and inspiration to the Harbour City. Whether you're into laser light shows, 3D-mapping projections, large-scale installations, edgy gigs or intriguing talks, you'll find something to entertain you in this ever-popular event, which this year offers an extended 23-night run until 18 June.

Exploring lights, music and ideas, Vivid is the largest festival of its kind, shining a light on the city's architecture and technology, and tapping into light-bulb thinking. Alongside the core precincts, 2016 sees three more districts added to the mix – Taronga Zoo, The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney and mall The Galeries – as well as an expanded number of venues and guest speakers. There's also a cluster of strong design dates for your diary. Here are our top festival tips...

ABOVE: Vivid Sydney's Harbour Lights with ferries and boats lit by LEDs; Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House are also illuminated
BELOW: Sydney Opera House's 'Lighting the Sails: Songlines' projection including art by Donny Woolagoodja; Customs House; MCA; Cadmans Cottage; Circular Quay

Vivid Light: Core precincts
6pm-11pm (until 18 June)
Kick things off at Vivid's hub at Sydney Opera House and Circular Quay, with more than 60 cutting-edge lighting installations along the Vivid Light Walk, including major projections at the Customs House ('Sydney's Hidden Stories'), MCA ('The Matter of Painting') and Cadmans Cottage ('Impossible Voyage'). A wow this year is the 'Lighting The Sails, Songlines' at Sydney Opera House, which screens work by six artists from different Aboriginal clans onto the building's shells. From vibrant flora and fauna to black-and-white human figures and earthy brown palettes it's a strong statement, including work by Fizz favourite, street artist Reko Rennie. Keep going into The Rocks, Campbell's Cove and Walsh Bay for more, including luminescent laneway stunner 'Tectonic', formed from 1,500 suspended, upcycled PET bottles filled with tonic water. Harbour Lights sees boats and ferries lit up with LEDs, while for the first time many of the skyscrapers facing the Quay are given the colour-block lighting treatment ('Dress Circle'). Intel's 'Drone 100' will see 100 illuminated drones take to the skies for five nights only (8-12 June, 7.55pm), performing a colourful choreographed seven-minute routine over Sydney Harbour. Controlled by one main pilot, the bespoke animation will be set to music.

BELOW: Martin Place's 'Fountain' installation; Central Park beckons with a 'Silent Disco' and architectural projections

You can spy the towering columns of light created by 'Geometrics' from across town, let alone from beneath the kinetic sculpture at central-city precinct Martin Place; nearby 'Fountain' live-streams global birth data as 'human water droplets' to highlight our burgeoning 7.4 billion population. Further afield, Central Park teams a 'Silent Disco' with arty projections onto the former Carlton & United Brewery building in 'X Factory' (5.30pm-10pm). 

Vivid Light: Taronga Zoo
Bradleys Head Rd, Mosman (5.30pm-9.30pm, last entry 9pm, until 18 June)
Vivid's wildest new precinct for 2016 is Taronga Zoo, featuring 'Be the Light for the Wild', an illuminated trail of 10 critically endangered species from Australia and Sumatra, including the Asian elephant and platypus. Created by Ample Projects, the giant multimedia sculptures include interactive lighting, sound effects and moving parts, making them among the largest and most technologically advanced lanterns to appear at Vivid. A supporting cast of creatures, from an echidna to a crocodile and pygmy tarsiers, ups the cuteness ante. Pre-purchase tickets online ($17.95 adults, $11.95 kids aged 4-15); entry costs aid the conservation effort.

ABOVE: Animal lanterns at Sydney's Taronga Zoo, including a vibrant echidna, pygmy tarsiers and a crocodile

Vivid Light: The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney
Entry Queen Elizabeth II Gates via Opera House Forecourt (6pm-11pm, until 18 June)
A new precinct for 2016 is The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, where trees and plants will be lit up with a magical cluster of light art for Vivid. Highlights include the glittering 'Cathedral Of Light', a sinuous long arched tunnel onlookers can walk through, framing views of the Opera House. Made up of thousands of dazzling LED lights, it takes its cue from the traditional arched windows of historic churches and is selfie heaven. Also look out for 3D-mapped fig tree projection 'Synthesis', interactive installation 'Sentiment Cocoon' and fantastical 'Will 'o the Wisps'.

ABOVE: The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, featuring Vivid crowd favourite the arched 'Cathedral Of Light', tree projection 'Synthesis' and interactive experience 'Sentiment Cocoon'

Vivid Music: Björk
Carriageworks, 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh (10am-6pm, 4-18 June)
Tickets for Björk's two DJ sets for the opening of 'Björk Digital' at Carriageworks (3 and 4 June) went quicker than a hot toddy in a Reykjavik bar, but you can still see the world premiere of her new touring virtual reality project, which takes over the evocative former rail yards until 18 June. Divided into five spaces and accompanied by collaborations with key filmmakers and programmers, the exhibition draws heavily on videos created for recent album 'Vulnicura' (above) and 'Biophilia', including immersive spaces, surround-sound and 360-degree film. 'I felt it was time to premiere my recent virtual reality stuff,' says Björk, 'We have made seven 360-degree videos for 'Vulnicura', and I am enthusiastic about this natural continuity of the music video; the intimacy, and total merge of surround-sound and vision, makes VR an ideal home.' It's free to attend, but book asap for the virtual reality rooms.

Vivid Music: New Order
Sydney Opera House (until 5 June)

New Order's four gigs at the Sydney Opera House, showcasing recent album 'Music Complete', may be sold out, but you can still see images of the band, including iconic portraits of their earlier incarnation as Joy Division, in a free photography exhibition in the Concert Hall Northern Foyers. By UK photographer Kevin Cummins, known for documenting the Manchester music scene, it runs until 5 June (6pm-late). The show is accompanied by artwork for the band by seminal British graphic designer Peter Saville, famous for setting the house style for Manchester's Factory Records label as their hugely influential art director. As part of Vivid's 'New Order Project', a talk with New Order in conversation with filmmaker/MFS label head Mark Reeder has just been announced for Friday 3 June (6.30pm, Playhouse); get in quick.

ABOVE: New Order plays the Opera House (photo, Nick Wilson)

ABOVE: Factory Design District in Waterloo showcases local talent and products, such as ISM Objects' 'Wink' table lamp, Studio Liam Mugavin's glass-topped 'Tangle' table and Boardgrove Architects' 'Two Tables'

Vivid Ideas: Factory Design District
901 Bourke Street, Waterloo (3-5 June, 11am to 6pm, 5pm and 4pm respectively)

Factory Design District takes over creative co-working space COMMUNE in Waterloo for three days, hosting industry talks, demonstrations and workshops, celebrating Australian design talent, the authentic and the handmade. Over 30 local designers, producers and makers are on board, with a curated exhibition including furniture by Jonathan West, bespoke joiner JP Finsbury, Boardgrove Architects and Studio Liam Mugavin, lighting by Abalos and accessories by The Fortynine.

Up-and-coming Thirroul-based designer Trent Jansen, who worked with Marcel Wanders, is speaking on Friday (4pm-5.30pm, ticketed), while established brand founders from Dinosaur Designs, TaitMUD Australia and ISM Objects give a talk Sunday (11.30am-1pm, ticketed), alongside a showcase of their recent designs. New Zealand lighting and furniture whizz David Trubridge discusses design copyright on Sunday (2pm-5pm), which is also market day with COMMUNE's Locally Made (11am-4pm) featuring some of Sydney's best inner-west makers across crafts, arts, fashion and music. See Factory Design District's own website for full details. Food and drink is local too, with contributions from Newtown's Young Henrys brewing co, Bloodwood and Continental Deli, St Peters' Urban Winery and Mecca Coffee.

Vivid Ideas: Design (various)
Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Level 6 Terrace Entrance (Circular Quay West Side)
The MCA is also hosting a few interesting design talks and interactive workshops, covering everything from humble design (7 June, 2pm-4pm) to 3D printing (8 June, 8am-10am) and the ethics of drones (8 June, 5pm-7pm). Check out Vivid's website for more events tackling architecture, digital design and so-now social media for your own lightbulb moment...
Vivid Sydney runs until 18 June 2016, with lights on from 6pm (usually until 11pm). Most of the public light art is free, but some events require booking or tickets. Lead image, Destination NSW

Sydney Indesign 2015

Inspiring event Sydney Indesign will see industry pros and design hunters alike out in force this week


Australia's premier design festival Sydney Indesign (13-15 August 2015) kicks off this Thursday, promising three days of hashtag-worthy product launches, showroom displays, installations, talks, prizes and parties. Having run for 12 years, and been hosted by five cities (including Melbourne, Brisbane, Hong Kong and Singapore), Indesign: The Event has international cachet, yet still manages to feel bespoke, boutique and local. And while it targets the trade, from interior designers and architects to retailers, specifiers and journalists, it also welcomes regular design fans, with free registration at any participating venue. So pick up a handbook, download the app and discover some fresh design finds...

ABOVE: Hub showroom in Surry Hills design precinct, which represents major international brands including Moroso
Designs at group exhibition Galleria: 'Ombre' lights by Dennis Abalos and Haryono Setiadi for Abalos, 'Byrdie' sofa by Ross Didier for Didier and the 'Setto' low chair by Skeehan for Catapult Design.

The event's buzzing hub Galleria takes over the Australian Technology Park in Eveleigh, with an open-plan space featuring more than 70 curated brands, including furniture, lighting, rugs, kitchens and bathrooms, and fixtures and fittings. International and interstate names make the cut, as well as emerging local design houses. Don't miss new Australian talent zone Launch Pad, an exhibition of 12 finalists up for this year's prize, a grant to take their prototype to production.
Galleria, Australian Technology Park, Bay 10-14, 2 Locomotive Street, Eveleigh; Thursday 13 August, 4pm-9pm, Friday 14-Saturday 15 August 10am-6pm

ABOVE: Must-see showrooms include Alexandria's Jardan and TCW (featuring naughtone's 'Fold' table and bench and 'Bounce' dining chairs), and Waterloo's Koda Lighting (launching 'Wireflow' pendants by Arik Levy for Vibia)

Design Precincts
Unlike many design fairs, held in boring, corporate exhibition halls, Sydney Indesign started life as a way to celebrate the showrooms of creative design brands around town. This year you can visit 30 seductive stores in six dedicated design precincts, spread around the inner-west and south, from Alexandria to Chippendale, Redfern/Waterloo, Darlinghurst and Surry Hills. Download handy precinct maps, and look out for free hop-on, hop-off shuttle buses to help you connect the dots. Not only do the showrooms capture the essence of each brand, displaying their signature collections in style, but they also offer a chance to see new launches and meet the designers.
Showrooms, Friday 14-Saturday 15 August, 10am-6pm

The Project
Keep an eye out for The Project, a series of installations examining the theme of 'Ritual: The Art of Tradition', created by architects, designers, artists and studios in tandem with Indesign's exhibitors. Expect pinboards, projections and interactive fun. A multi-sensory experience by Karndean Designflooring with Latitude Group (above) explores wood as a base note for scents.

Timed Events
A feast of timed events – some ticketed, others casual – across the three days brings debates, celebrity designers, prize giveaways, and drinks and canapés to showrooms and stands around town. Check out the programme for more details. Habitus magazine will present the LiveLife Design Hunter Series of conversations, including talks at major showrooms Spence & Lyda, Living Edge and Jardan. WorkLife 2015 sees panels of experts discussing 'The Future of the Workplace' at the Indesign Podium at Galleria and select showrooms. DQ magazine's DQ RoundTable discusses design industry issues with a distinctly Sydney flavour. Book early for ticketed events as they may sell out. Finally, let your hair down at Saturday night's Wrap Party. You've earned those bubbles...

Sydney Indesign runs from Thursday 13 to Saturday 15 August 2015. Hong Kong Indesign follows from 19-20 November 2015.

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

White Night Melbourne


White Night Melbourne festival brings art, music, performance and illuminations to the city streets. Time to light up…


Calling all night owls! White Night Melbourne takes over the CBD this Saturday 21 February from 7pm until 7am, bringing illuminating action to landmark buildings, laneways, galleries, cinemas and parks. With nine curated precincts and more than 90 free cultural events, the festival looks set to draw more than half a million people like moths to a flame, fluttering around projection and lighting works from dusk till dawn.

White Night (or Nuit Blanche) was born in Paris in 2002, before spreading to cities worldwide. 2015 marks the third Melbourne edition, attracting new works by local and international creatives. Popular hub Wonderland, along Flinders Street, will be lit up like Christmas, with crowds soaking up visuals by the Electric Canvas. For more must-sees in White Night's urban playground, check out our six Fizz precinct picks…

4 Elements
Video mapping projection will transform the exterior of Carlton’s Royal Exhibition Building, with Portuguese group Ocubo’s multimedia show ‘4 Elements’ turning the historic architecture into a giant canvas. Expect jaw-dropping visuals of earth, wind, fire and air teamed with music, dance, synchronised swimming and circus skills.

Music fans should make for the adjacent Melbourne Museum forecourt, where Music for a World Stage features a global line-up of live bands. At around 2.50am, indigenous Australian hip-hop artist Briggs, from rural Shepparton, will be taking to the stage. The talent behind 2014 album ‘Sheplife’, he’s supported Oz rappers The Hilltop Hoods and is signed to their label.

Northern Lights
For ‘Rabbit Hole’, the façade of the heritage State Library will become a vibrant homage to Lewis Carroll’s book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. Start your journey watching Nick Azidis's projections outside, before disappearing down the rabbit hole to ‘Eat Me’ within the Dome. A 360-degree projection by French artists Antoine+Manuel, it’s matched with an electo-pop soundtrack by Melbourne musician Sui Zhen.

Public dance marathon ‘I Could Have Danced All Night’ will be going gangbusters on the corner of Lonsdale and Elizabeth Streets. All night.

The Engine
Cast resin pods appear to sprout from the crevices of a wall in Rachel Prince’s installation ‘Nocturnal Bloom’, glowing under Princes Bridge at St Kilda Road.

Nearby in Queen Victoria Gardens, immersive installation ‘Circles of Light’ encourages you to interact with an electronic herbarium of plant life, touching sensory leaves to play music or light up the glade. Created by the Design Circle, it’s in the Janet Lady Clarke Rotunda. Giant, multicoloured ‘Neon Angel Wings’, by Carla O’Brien, will also be suspended in this idyllic Eden, ideal for posing for saintly photos. You’ll also find kinetic sound sculpture ‘Chorus’ here, a series of giant metal tripods by British sonic artist Ray Lee, emitting coordinated notes.

More tunes await at the nearby Indie Music Stage, at Alexandra Gardens on the Southbank, where Melbourne bands will be strutting their stuff.

Fancy some chemical romance? In performance work ‘Presage 2014’, Paris-based Moroccan artist Hicham Berrada and musician Laurent Durupt will create hypnotising chemical reactions in the NGV International’s Great Hall. The live ‘chemical theatre’ of Berrada's experiments, concocted in small beakers, will be projected on huge screens, producing colourful, dynamic effects, accompanied by Durupt’s soundscapes captured with an underwater microphone.

Also look out for ‘Keyframes’, by Groupe LAPS (France), animating the façade of the NGV International with luminous skeleton figures in motion. Melbourne audio-visual light artists Kit Webster and Dave Leigh’s projection ‘Infinite Curve’ brings beams of colour and cosmic lighting to the gallery’s garden, with a large-scale work mimicking an interstellar nebula system. DJ tunes, a pop-up bar and Huxtaburgers ensure much fun is had by all.

Rivers of Gold
End the night with some spooky bat action in a church. Alinta Krauth’s ‘Colonise’ combines projection mapping and handmade hanging sculptures to summon Melbourne’s misunderstood flying foxes. Find them in Scots’ Church on the corner of Collins and Russell Streets.

Sita’s Garden
Peckish? ‘Sita’s Garden’, beside the Yarra River, will transform the Birrarung Marr into Little India, with tasty street food, Bollywood movies, dance, music and a pond of glowing lanterns.
White Night Melbourne runs from 7pm Saturday 21 to 7am Sunday 22 February 2015. See the website for a full programme, map, itineraries and public transport options.