Design For Life: Grant and Mary Featherston

Installation view, Design for Life: Grant and Mary Featherston, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne - photo by Christian CapurroThe first major exhibition dedicated to the iconic work of two of Australia’s most important and influential designers, Heide Museum of Modern Art presents Design For Life: Grant and Mary Featherston on display until 7 October 2018.

Curated by guest curator Denise Whitehouse, the exhibition will showcase more than 120 objects including the iconic (and oft copied) R152 Contour Chair, rare designs and previously unseen material from the Featherston Archive.

“Featherston’s designs exemplified a new, cosmopolitan mode of living for Australia’s post-war generation, and today his chairs are actively sought after by their grandchildren, showing their enduring influence and appeal,” says guest curator Denise Whitehouse.

Design for Life explores the career of Grant Featherston, arguably Australia’s most significant modernist designer, and his partnership with Mary Featherston, who is renowned for her design of learning environments for children. It charts Featherston’s rise to celebrity status in the 1950s and how his work captured the imaginations of ordinary Australians in their quest to be modern.

Tracing his explorations of new materials and technologies and production of innovative furniture, including collaborations with Mary during the 1960s and 70s, the exhibition highlights the holistic nature of the couple’s practice, which included interiors, exhibitions, photography, sculpture, glass objects and promotional design.

An unapologetic idealist, Grant Featherston believed that design should benefit everyone and campaigned for professional, aesthetic and environmental standards. He shared this vision of ‘design for life’ and social responsibility with his partner Mary, with whom he established Featherston Design in 1965.

Beginning with the landmark 1967 Montreal Expo Chair they focused on culturally and socially significant projects, and experimented with the potential of plastics to produce beautiful, affordable design for all.

“Grant and I shared the belief that the role of design is to enrich everyone’s everyday life,” said Mary Featherston. “I’m delighted that our work continues to speak to new generations of Australians and I look forward to this exhibition, which brings together objects and archival material to tell the story of our careers more fully than has been done in the past.”

Design for Life: Grant and Mary Featherston
Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Road, Bulleen
Exhibition continues to 7 October 2018
Entry fees apply

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Installation view, Design for Life: Grant and Mary Featherston, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne – photo by Christian Capurro