NGV announces a new era in design and architecture

NGV_DesignA raft of new design initiatives, including the creation of the Department of Contemporary Design and Architecture have been revealed by the National Gallery of Victoria.  The department, the first of its kind for an art gallery in Australia, will spearhead the gallery’s vision to become a leading international hub for design.

Heading the announcement was the appointment of two of Australia’s foremost design professionals to the NGV – Ewan McEoin and Simone LeAmon.

“We are thrilled to launch the Department of Contemporary Design and Architecture by announcing the appointments of Ewan and Simone to the NGV team,” said Tony Ellwood, Director NGV. “Ewan and Simone are at the forefront of the creative industries in Australia and will bring a strong industry perspective, connections and ideas to the Gallery.”

Ewan McEoin brings two decades of experience in the Australian design industry to the gallery and will lead the new department while also working across future design strategy and new retail initiatives at the NGV.  Simone LeAmon brings a diverse skillset to the department having worked for two decades as a visual artist, industrial designer, businessperson, industry consultant, curator, writer and university lecturer.  The two new positions have been funded through the generous philanthropic support of The Hugh D.T. Williamson Foundation.

This new Department of Contemporary Design and Architecture will work closely with the local and international design industries collecting, presenting and exploring the most interesting trajectories of design and architecture.

“The NGV has a rich history and association with design and architecture,” said Mr Ellwood. “Our renewed approach is integral to the NGV’s thinking, with design permeating all areas and platforms of the institution – not only through our collection, exhibitions and programs – but also through architecture, way finding, exhibition, retail, hospitality and digital design.  Ewan and Simone’s contribution will bring vitality and bold ideas to all of these arenas.”

A number of other design initiatives were also announced:

~ NGV will open the Design Project Space at NGVA in 2016 to present a diverse program of design and architecture projects, exhibitions, films and conversations to explore key ideas and issues in design and architecture.

~ Shortlisted artists for the revitalised Rigg Design Prize were announced including the award, for the first time in its twenty-year history going national in response to Australia’s burgeoning design culture.  Presented by the NGV the triennial prize of $30,000 is awarded to an Australian contemporary designer displaying outstanding creative achievements in design production.  – The 2015 Rigg Design Prize shortlist includes Brodie Neill, Khai Liew, Adam Goodrum, Daniel Emma, Kate Rohde, Korban Flaubert, Koskela and Elcho Island Weavers.

~ NGV Commission for Ephemeral architecture – Each year submissions will be sought from architects and designers to offer innovative designs for a temporary outdoor installation in the NGV’s Grollo Equiset garden. For 2015 the inaugural Commission has been developed by John Wardle Architects for their project entitled I Dips Me Lid. Taking inspiration from the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, an iconic public performance venue in Melbourne, I Dips Me Lid will be a theatrical centerpiece offering shade, retreat and a place for performance and workshops.

~ NGV design store – recently rebranded and restocked, the NGV design store and online shop will collaborate with leading designers, artists and manufacturers to produce, present and showcase design products from local and international designers.

Events and programs announced include:

Design Speaks: Housing Futures  – 31 July 2015
Featuring local and international architects, including Charles Renfro (New York), Kerstin Thompson (Melbourne) and Philip Thalis (Sydney) this event is presented in partnership with Architecture Media.

Parallels – Journeys into Contemporary Making – September 2015
The NGV in partnership with the National Craft Initiative (NCI) will present a major 2-day international conference designed to reframe conversations about contemporary craft and design practices. The event will explore important forces realigning the world of contemporary making including: material innovation; globalisation; digitisation; and the rise of the market for limited editions.

2017 NGV Triennial
Work continues on this large-scale celebration of contemporary art design and architecture from around the world. Distinguishing itself from other contemporary art events, the NGV Triennial will provide a multidisciplinary focus on art, design and architecture, as well as fashion, film, performance and a variety of cultural practices.

“At the NGV we have a strong desire to create a dedicated and permanent home for design,” said Mr Ellwood. “Our future plans in this terrain are bold and ambitious, aimed at positioning the NGV and Australia firmly on the world stage as a leading hub for contemporary art, design and architecture.”

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: John Wardle, I Dips Me Lid – courtesy of NGV