Australia’s leading annual international design event, Melbourne Design Week, returns for its sixth edition from 17 – 27 March 2022, with a dynamic program that will transform Melbourne and parts of regional Victoria.
“Melbourne Design week showcases Victoria’s amazing design sector to the world. Design can help shape our cities, our regions, our lives – this program reveals how Australian design is helping to create a more sustainable planet,” said Minister for Creative Industries Danny Pearson.
“I commend the NGV for their commitment to nurturing Australian design talent and congratulate the participants in this year’s program for sharing their bold ideas with the world.”
Over 11 days Melbourne Design Week will feature a series of exhibitions, talks, films, tours and workshops, including the biennial Australian Furniture Design Award, the launch of the Melbourne Design Fair and a program of design showroom activations that respond to the theme Design the world you want.
Two pillars – civic good and making good – provide a focused exploration of the main theme, with the thematic ‘civic good’ encouraging participants to think beyond the individual to serve the common interest and ‘making good’ exploring the impact of design beyond its functional or aesthetic impact to look at the social and environmental impact on the planet.
Extensive programming responding to the theme and addressing such issues as sustainability, technology, the circular economy and First Nations knowledge and thinking, will be activated at a host of hubs including the National Gallery of Victoria, RMIT Design Hub, Collingwood Yards, Scienceworks, MPavilion and Melbourne Connect, supported by a robust satellite program, including presentations by Open House Melbourne (Centre for Architecture Victoria), Melbourne Design Week Film Festival, Victorian Pride Centre and Melbourne Art Book Fair.
New for 2022 is the Melbourne Design Fair (continuing to 20 March) – a commercial showcase of limited edition, rare and one-of-a kind collectable design by Australia’s leading emerging and established contemporary designers and designer-makers. An initiative of the National Gallery of Victoria in collaboration with the Melbourne Art Foundation, the Fair breaks new ground in the presentation, promotion and sale of collectible contemporary design in Australia and will offer audiences a unique cultural experience with all the design works presented available for purchase.
Expanding the reach of the week, Castlemaine and Ballarat will for the first time join East Gippsland as regional destinations hosting a series of events including performance and poetry at Midtown Cellars & Bar, Ballarat as well as a regional Art Book Fair hosted by Castlemaine Art Museum featuring local makers and independent publishers; and in connecting with global audiences, an extensive digital offering, including talks, virtual galleries of key satellite exhibitions, interviews and more, will be accessible via a dedicated online portal at designweek.melbourne.
“Melbourne Design Week is a festival of ideas and asks us to consider the ways in which design impacts on our daily lives – both positively and negatively,” said Tony Ellwood AM, Director NGV. “In 2022, Melbourne Design Week builds on the provocation ‘Design the World You Want‘, prompting designers, businesses and audiences to envision how design can help to craft a better future for us all.”
“As we look to designers to solve our urban, environmental and health-related challenges, the work of design professionals has never been more important. This program will offer audiences the chance to engage with design on a deep and fundamental level, as well as to glimpse the possible futures that await us,” said Mr Ellwood.
2022 Melbourne Design Week Highlights:
Melbourne Art Book Fair:
An annual event offering a unique platform that brings together a diverse range of art publishers, artists, and designers worldwide. The Stallholder Fair will return to the NGV Great Hall with over 90 publishers, including the NGV Design Store, independent publishers, established publishing houses and art galleries presenting books, magazines, zines, art prints and more. A complementary Online Marketplace will feature over 100 local and international publishers offering unique content from all over the world. Building on the success of 2021, the Melbourne Art Book Fair will once again host a range of satellite events reaching communities throughout Melbourne and into regional Victoria. Highlights include poetry pop up performances across NGV International, the launch of Queer: Stories from the NGV Collection comprising more than 60 essays that examine the history of LGBTQ+ activism; the creation of queer spaces and communities; and queerness as an artistic strategy, and the presentation of The Annotated Reader from Ryan Gander OBE and Jonathan P. Watts, an exhibition-as-publication featuring texts annotated by artists including Marina Abramovic, Sarah Lucas and Hans Ulrich Obrist.
RMIT Design Hub and RMIT Design Archives:
This central location combines several leading exhibitions during Design Week. Dale Hardiman and Tom Skeehan’s curatorial practice Friends & Associates will return with a multi-disciplinary group show entitled Self Portrait. Responding to an increased sense of introspection in recent times, participating creatives were encouraged to produce a self-portrait reflective of their personal and professional selves. Articulated as an extension of one’s being, typologies to be explored include a digital project by New York based artist and designer Tom Hancocks, a fridge by Andrew Carvolth, a water feature by Jonathan Ben-Tovim, a “mirror” by Elliat Rich, and a lighting installation by Ross Gardam. Additional exhibitions will be presented by Adelaide craft and design incubator Jam Factory, The AA Prize for Unbuilt Work, and the Victorian Premiers Design Awards. At the RMIT Design Archives, the exhibition Post-Digital Objects explores the future of digital data, memory, health through the disciplines of jewellery, interactive design, electronics, ceramics and textiles to question how we might capture, project, and memorialise digital moments in precious objects.
MPavilion hosts a range of events that celebrate the civic nature of design by focusing on the spaces and activities that form communities. The program will include conversations from the politics of beauty and the salon to the design of the nightclub and age-friendly cities; to making a home, to indigenise the built environment; and to making skateboarding more inclusive with a panel led by Kirby Clark of Decks for Change, followed by a party with Hoddle Skateboards and Skydiver Records.
Exhibitions & Group Shows:
Reflecting a national pulse on design, the 2022 satellite program will include over 100 exhibitions of emerging and established talent. Tolarno Galleries will present a new body of work by Sydney-based Adam Goodrum and Arthur Seigneur, while Adelaide duo Daniel Emma will make their debut at Sophie Gannon Gallery. Showcase by New Assemblage will present an exhibition of emerging talent with participation reserved exclusively for those who have never participated in design week before. Marsha Golemac’s Material Culture will showcase the work of 16 designers in an exploration of how and why things are made, and the social, functional or symbolic needs they satisfy, and curator Calum Hurley will exhibit HARD, an exhibition of “inclusive and resourceful” South Australian queer designers, each invited to create new work that incorporates a repurposed found element.
An initiative of the University of Melbourne driven to connect people, places, and possibilities, Melbourne Connect will host a series of events exploring the intersection of design and science. The Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Research Group will open their doors for a series of tours showcasing how novel interactions are designed and developed in the lab through virtual and augmented reality, the internet of things, digital health, and artificial intelligence, while a multi-media exhibition presented by Clarke Hopkins Clarke Architects will examine the potential for built environments to act as a positive force that can repair natural and human systems.
Holding Space presented by Agency Projects:
Providing an enriching experience for audiences to obtain a greater knowledge and awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander design principles and their direct relationship to sustainable and responsible living, Agency Projects will host a series of breakfast talks at Collingwood Yards that create a platform for dialogue with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander practitioners. Each talk will explore and reflect on traditional and ongoing design processes and practices that are both integral to community, sustainability and Country, and vital vehicles of intergenerational knowledge and cultural transfer.
Relatively Useful presented by Heide, Museum of Modern Art; John Wardle & Simon Lloyd:
This exhibition is a survey of works in timber and ceramic designed by John Wardle and Simon Lloyd. The twenty-five items of furniture, ceramics and objects that will fill McGlashan and Everist’s Heide II at Heide Museum of Modern Art provide a fascinating exposition of the skills of makers from Melbourne and Hobart. John and Simon describe the ‘gradients of collaboration’ as works have been designed both individually or collectively through many conversations and a platform of shared drawings.
Open Nature by Open House Melbourne:
Open House Melbourne will present a newly created program of walks, talks, tours and events that explore a growing movement towards ecologically responsive, ‘more than human’ design. Expanding on the past three years of the much-loved Waterfront series, Open Nature broadens the focus by offering – through a series of experiential and activity-based programs – ways in which we can shape a more positive future for our cities, suburbs, and regions through ecologically sensitive design practices and a deeper understanding our relationship to the natural world. In 2021, Waterfront extended beyond the city to the East Gippsland Lakes region with a program supported by the NGV, Creative Victoria, The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, East Gippsland Shire Council, and programming partnership with The School for UnTourists. In 2022, Open Nature expands on this regional commitment in partnership with the newly launched Latrobe Creative Arts Precinct, the NGV, and Finding Infinity’s The New Normal.
Craft presents Alternative Provisions:
The work of designers and makers expanding material practice as an act of making good. The exhibition explores how unexpected and under-utilised materials, driven by the notion of ‘reuse’, are developed and used in interesting ways by today’s makers. Each exhibitor – Alexi Freeman, Ella Saddington, James Walsh, Jessie French, Narelle White and Yu-Fang Chi – forage for their material, whether organic matter or discarded waste product, to create works that offer production alternatives, as well as a means to tell new stories.
The Koorie Heritage Trust:
Blak Jewellery – Finding Past Linking Present is a contemporary jewellery design exhibition by Victorian First Nations Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants from the inaugural year of the KHT’s Blak Design Program – a ground-breaking professional development program supporting First Nations participation within the Victorian design sector. Exhibition programming includes talks and a panel discussion including Brian Martin, Jefa Greenaway and participants from the Blak Design Program.
Zero Footprint Repurposing by Revival Projects x Grimshaw:
The world’s first ‘free repurposing hub’ in the heart of Collingwood. It is space where repurposing initiatives, such as the recycling of materials, will be facilitated on an unprecedented scale. The building itself (100-year-old, 1500m2 warehouse), will be demolished in 2024 to make way for new development, and will serve as an example of how repurposing existing materials can be a fundamental element of new development. The concept is to provide an immersive experience for a broad audience, to showcase what is involved in, and how we as an industry and individuals as consumers, can push the boundaries of, repurposing the materials we already have. Zero Footprint’s mission is to make it easier and more accessible for the design and construction industry to utilise existing materials.
Celebrating and interrogating design through its varied disciplines, Melbourne Design Week encompasses the full breadth of the design sector inviting all to come together to share ideas, show and sell new work and consider how design can be used as a force for good in an increasingly complex and precarious world.
An initiative of the Victorian Government delivered by the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Design Week continues to 27 March 2022. For more information and full program, visit: designweek.melbourne for details.
Image: Melbourne Art Book Fair during Melbourne Design Week 2021 – photo by Tobias Titz