<em>Metahaven, Eurasia (Questions on Happiness),</em> 2018. Installation view at Institute for Contemporary Arts, London, 2018. Photo: Mark Blower<br/>
© Mark Blower 2018
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Metahaven, Eurasia (Questions on Happiness), 2018. Installation view at Institute for Contemporary Arts, London, 2018. Photo: Mark Blower
Media Release • 27 Dec 19

Melbourne Design Week 2020

12-22 March 2020 | NGV International, NGV Australia and various locations across Melbourne and Victoria 

In 2020, Australia’s leading annual international design event, Melbourne Design Week, presents its largest program to date, with more than 300 events over 11 days. Programmed around the theme ‘How Can Design Shape Life?’, the festival comprises 85 exhibitions, 94 talks, 15 films, 22 tours and 16 workshops celebrating the best of local, national and international design. The expanding, state-wide festival is an initiative of the Victorian Government presented by Creative Victoria and the National Gallery of Victoria.

Tony Ellwood AM, Director, NGV, said: ‘Melbourne has a well-deserved reputation for leading Australian design and innovation. The way Melbourne Design Week has grown is a testament to the way the city fosters its designers. This is a celebration of a growing industry and an opportunity for practitioners and design enthusiasts to discover and discuss the best of Australian and global design practice.’

The Melbourne Design Week 2020 theme poses the question ‘How can design shape life?’ This theme will be explored through a program of exhibitions, workshops, programs and events under five thematic pillars:

  • Healthy Cities examines the effects of increasing urbanisation and how we can foster healthy cities in future
  • Design Cultures looks at how design can champion diverse cultural perspectives and inclusive practices
  • Waterfront explores Victoria’s waterways and Melbourne’s relationship with our rivers, bays and oceans
  • Waste continues to be a focus, specifically how design can alleviate the problem of e-waste
  • Design Evolution focuses on the new wave of design thinking through innovative supply chains and ground-breaking materials

Keynotes announced

Keynotes will be presented by internationally-renowned architect Francis Kéré; design polymath and host of the podcast Design Matters, Debbie Millman; Fairphone founder Bas van Abel and award winning Australian architecture studio NMBW.

Comedian and design nerd Tim Ross premieres his new live show Designing a Legacy that takes audiences on an architectural adventure into some of Australia’s most significant modernist houses.

Kéré will present a keynote on 17 March that reveals how architecture has shaped his life and shares his vision for how the discipline will contribute to a positive and dynamic future for Africa. Millman will discuss how she has designed her life to fit her personal definition of success as part of a series of events with Creative Women’s Circle on 15 March. Sustainability crusader Bas van Abel will deliver a keynote on how design-led business can transform the environment and economy on 18 March.

Abel will also join ABC TV presenter Craig Reucassel on the jury of The E-Waste Challenge for the Victorian Design Challenge 2020. NMBW Directors Marika Neustupny, Lucinda McLean and Nigel Bertram will deliver the annual Robin Boyd Lecture drawing on over two decades of practice to consider how architectural processes can enrich the culture of the everyday on 18 March.

Amsterdam-based artists, filmmakers, and designers Metahaven will present a keynote lecture at the NGV on 12 March. Their work occupies the intersection of poetry and storytelling, and engages propaganda, interface and geography. Metahaven Field Report is their first solo exhibition in Australia and is Presented by RMIT Design Hub Gallery and Melbourne Design Week / Melbourne Art Book Fair.

Exhibition highlights

Tolarno Galleries, premieres A&A: Exquisite Corpse/Cadavre Exquis, a collaboration between designer Adam Goodrum and straw marquetry artisan Arthur Seigneur from 12–22 March. Sophie Gannon Gallery presents Designwork 04, a solo exhibition of new works by Melbourne based designer Danielle Brustman encompassing interior, furniture, lighting and object design from 12–22 March. Gallery Sally Dan–Cuthbert travels from Sydney to exhibit Partu (Skin), the latest collaboration between remote cattle-station saddler Johnny Nargoodah and conceptual object designer Trent Jansen at Arc One, Flinders Lane from 12–21 March.

In 2020 Melbourne Design Week will partner with Stylecraft to present the Australian Furniture Design Award 2020 (AFDA). The AFDA is one of Australia’s most significant furniture design awards. The winning designer will be selected from shortlisted designs exhibited at Stylecraft from 12–20 March. The winner will receive a $20,000 cash prize, an invitation to develop the winning prototype with Stylecraft and a two-week residency at JamFactory, Adelaide.

Victorian Design Challenge

The E-Waste Challenge highlights the capacity and responsibility of designers to contribute to shifting behaviour, raising awareness, redesigning products and devising end-of-use solutions that reduce the negative impacts of e-waste. A $20,000 major prize will be awarded to the best design idea in the professional category and $5000 in the Tertiary category, addressing one of Australia’s fastest growing waste problems – e-waste. The E-Waste Challenge is open to professional design practitioners Australia-wide as well as Victorian primary, secondary and tertiary school students. This year’s jury is chaired by ABC TV War on Waste crusader Craig Reucassel with jurors Fairphone founder and former CEO, Bas van Abel, EWaste Watch co-founder Rose Read, NGV Hugh Williamson Senior Curator of Contemporary Design and Architecture Ewan McEoin and Breville Group Design and Innovation Director Richard Hoare. The E-Waste Challenge culminates in a ‘live pitch’ grand finale on 18 March at the NGV International.

MDW Film Festival

MDW Film Festival returns with 11 films curated by Richard Sowada including Anthropocene: The Human Epoch, the final instalment of directors Jennifer Baichwal and Edward Burtynsky’s epic environmental trilogy; and a complex reflection on Hong Kong’s relationship between landscape, nature, urbanisation and society in Many Undulating Things, directed by Bo Wang and Pan Lu. Screenings across Lido Cinema in Hawthorn, Classic Cinema in Elsternwick, a free matinee program at NGV Australia and a public urban screen program at Federation Square.

Melbourne Art Book Fair

The annual Melbourne Art Book Fair will return for its sixth year in 2020. From 13-15 March the fair assembles publishers, artists, designers and writers from around the globe for over forty events including lectures, workshops, launches and performances. Pirate Radio will broadcast live from the NGV’s St Kilda Road Forecourt, featuring talks, performances, interviews and a ‘tell-a-thon’ by Melbourne’s own Field Theory and The Good Copy. The Australian Zine Showcase by Sticky Institute returns and for the first time NGV International will host a dedicated children’s publishing workshop space run by Kids Own Publishing.

As part of Melbourne Art Book Fair, the NGV invites entries for The Cornish Family Prize for Art and Design Publishing from publishers, artists, designers, writers, curators and organisations around the world whose publishing practice explores art, design, architecture and contemporary culture. Now in its third year, this NGV initiative will award AUD 15,000 for the winning book, with additional AUD 1,000 prizes for up to four finalists. The winner will be announced at Melbourne Art Book Fair 2020. The NGV gratefully acknowledges the Cornish family for their support of The Cornish Family Prize for Art and Design Publishing.

A key highlight of the Fair is The New Normal: Design in the Age of Global Computation, a half-day symposium on 12 March curated by Olga Tenisheva and Nicolay Boyadjiev at the Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design, Moscow, which gathers international speakers including speculative architect and film director Liam Young. The day culminates in an Australian-debut lecture by Amsterdam-based artists, filmmakers, and designers Metahaven.

Melbourne Design Week

12-22 March 2020


Full program to be released in February 2020

Melbourne Design Week and the Victorian Design Challenge are initiatives of the Victorian Government. 

The NGV Department of Contemporary Design and Architecture is generously supported by The Hugh D. T. Williamson Foundation.

Further information about Melbourne Art Book Fair 2019 is available at NGVARTBOOKFAIR.COM. 

Please note that dates and venues are subject to change. Visit DESIGNWEEK.MELBOURNE for further details.

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