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Media Release • 13 Apr 23

Melbourne Design Week 2023: Design excellence and emerging talent celebrated at Australia’s largest international design event

Melbourne Design Week, 18 – 28 May, Australia’s largest annual international design event returns, presenting innovative and engaging projects that celebrate the diversity and excellence of Australian design and architecture. Now in its seventh year, Melbourne Design Week is a vital platform to profile the breadth of Australian talent, from emerging to established design practitioners.

Presented by Creative Victoria in partnership with the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), Melbourne Design Week presents exhibitions, talks, films, tours, and workshops across metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.

Led by NGV’s Department of Contemporary Design and Architecture, the Melbourne Design Week program has grown in scope and scale from 100 programs in 2017 to more than 350 in 2022. Over 55,000 people attended the 2022 festival making it Australia’s leading and largest design event.

Building on the ideas unveiled during previous iterations of the program, the 2023 edition will continue to explore the theme of “Design The World You Want” and this year introduces three new pillars to provoke thought and investigation – Transparency, Currency, and Legacy.

Extensive programming responding to the theme will be showcased across Melbourne and regional Victoria as part of the Melbourne Design Week satellite program. The program includes HARD presented by Calum Hurley, an exhibition showcasing queer creatives from around Australia; Design, Unbuild: Autumn Room presented by Monash Architecture, a temporary installation at Collingwood Yards utilising the courtyard’s large Plane trees in various states of autumn defoliation; and Numbulwar pop-up studio and exhibition – a collaboration between Tait, Agency and Numbulwar Numburindi Arts – where the artists have reimagined Tait’s iconic Tidal chair using discarded ghost fishing nets that wash up on the shores of the remote Numbulwar community.

Leading galleries and design curators will mount thoughtful shows highlighting a diverse pool of Australian talent. The Silo Project is a group, site-responsive exhibition curated by Josee Vesely and housed in a former grain silo in inner city Melbourne; Fitzroy-based OIGÅLL PROJECTS presents a group show of 10 Australian-based designers including Volker Haug, denHolm, Brud Studia, Olivia Bossy and more; and Symphonic Skateboarding, designed by Kirby Clark, captures the unique beauty of skateboarding through an installation that creates music when skated over.

Across the program, participating brands and showrooms will showcase the work of local and international designers including APATO, Articolo Lighting, BACHLI Furniture, Castorina & Co, Coco Flip, Cult Design x Mater Earth Gallery, Domestic Fantasies, Flack Studio, Fred International, GLAAS Inc, Modern Times, Mud Australia, Open Room, and pépite.

The NGV presents a range of programming highlights including the centrepiece of Melbourne Design Week, the Melbourne Design Fair at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, 18-21 May. The Melbourne Art Book Fair brings together publishers, artists and designers to showcase some of the world’s best publications at the Stallholder Fair in the Great Hall at NGV International, with further satellite events taking place at venues across Melbourne and regional Victoria.

At The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, the second edition of the ground-breaking exhibition Melbourne Now is on display highlighting the extraordinary work of more than 200 Victorian-based designers and artists. Melbourne Design Week Business Forum – Design Wall Stories is a panel discussion about how Melbourne-based designers, brands, and manufacturers featured in the Design Wall at Melbourne Now are contributing to the dynamic landscape of applied creativity in Melbourne.

Tony Ellwood AM, Director, NGV, said: ‘Now in its seventh year, Melbourne Design Week plays an integral role within Australia’s design sector to platform and celebrate innovation across the industry spanning furniture and collectible design to food technology, sustainable material exploration and the medical field.’

Highlights from Melbourne Design Week 2023 Satellite Program can be found below. For more information visit

NGV Program Highlights

Melbourne Design Fair | Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre | 18 – 21 May

Curated by the National Gallery of Victoria and delivered in collaboration with the Melbourne Art Foundation, Melbourne Design Fair is an annual platform for designers, commercial galleries, design agencies and organisations to come-together under one roof to promote and sell the best collectible design from Australia and the world, over four days. A wide array of collectible design will be on show from cutting-edge furniture design to unique objects and jewellery, Melbourne Design Fair provides visitors with the opportunity to discover new talent, explore innovative design production, and gain insight into the latest ideas and trends in the world of collectible design.

 Melbourne Art Book Fair | 18 28 May

Since 2015, the Melbourne Art Book Fair (MABF) has brought together publishers, artists and designers to showcase some of the world’s best publications in bookshops, galleries, libraries, community centres and public gardens across the state. Running 19 – 21 May, the free Stallholder Fair held in NGV’s Great Hall hosts independent publishers selling and launching art publications. MABF also presents satellite events across Melbourne and regional Victoria at locations including Books by Uro at Collingwood Yards, Centre for Contemporary Photography Castlemaine Art Museum, Platform Arts in Geelong and Everybody Knows Books in Ballarat.

Melbourne Now | until 20 August

The second edition of the ground-breaking exhibition Melbourne Now is on display at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia until 20 August 2023. Bold in scope and scale, the exhibition highlights the extraordinary work of more than 200 Victorian-based designers, studios and artists whose practices are shaping the cultural landscape of Melbourne and Victoria.

Melbourne Now’s Community Hall | 18 – 28 May

Community Hall is a space to gather, connect and celebrate Melbourne’s diverse and creative communities, located in the heart of the Melbourne Now exhibition. Events in Community Hall during Melbourne Design Week will be presented by DIA, ASPECT Studios, Monash Architecture and an event with Craft Victoria co-presented with NGV. A highlight includes an international highlight presentation by Nairobi-based architects Cave Bureau with Co-Futures where the architects will present their research project “Cow Corridor”.

Melbourne Design Week Business Forum – Design Wall Stories | 23 May

Melbourne Now’s Design Wall 2023 is an installation celebrating consumer product design from Melbourne and brings together designers, companies, and manufacturers who are shaping the way we live today. Presented by NGV and Creative Victoria, the Melbourne Design Week Business Forum – Design Wall Stories is an opportunity to hear from designers, companies and manufacturers featured in the presentation and learn how they’re designing to stay ahead in local and global markets and shape Melbourne’s dynamic culture of applied creativity.

Offering an exclusive insight into the factors influencing contemporary product design in Melbourne, NGV curator Simone LeAmon leads a curatorial tour of the Design Wall followed by a panel discussion moderated by journalist Ali Moore with leaders from Savic Motorcycles, Sussex Taps, Tontine and Adam Cornish Design.

 The Future of Food, Telstra Creativity Innovation Series | 24 May

The 2023 Telstra Creativity and Innovation Series event presents The Future of Food, inviting guests to listen to leading innovators and those working at the forefront of food research and technology, sustainable farming, food waste and re-use and the process from lab to plate. Guests attending the event will be served a sustainably sourced tasting menu responding to the themes of the night designed in collaboration with anti-waste activist Joost Bakker.

Australiana: Designing a Nation at Bendigo Art Gallery | until 25 June

Australiana: Designing a Nation surveys the iconography of Australiana in art and design exploring key chapters in our history through to the present day, identifying a distinct tradition that has reflected—and changed with—popular notions of Australian identity and style. Curated by the Bendigo Art Gallery and organised in partnership with the NGV, this exhibition showcases works by over 200 artists and designers. NGV Senior Curator of Fashion and Textiles, Katie Somerville will host a talk with exhibitors Romance Was Born and Linda Jackson to reflect on the use of home-grown references in Australian fashion.

Satellite Program Highlights

Melbourne Design Week Film Festival | 18 – 28 May

Curated by Richard Sowada, the festival explores the power of design through storytelling and the moving image. The 2023 program showcases eight new narrative features and documentaries in an exploration of architecture and design seen through the lens of filmmakers from around the world. Highlights include the world premiere of Daniel Askill’s, Lunacy (AU), and three films making their Australian premieres featuring preeminent designers including Hunter from Elsewhere: A Journey with Helen Britton (UK), Grethe Meyer – The Queen of Danish Design (DK) and Majija Isola – Master of Colour and Form (FIN).

Open House Melbourne’s Open Nature Program | 18 – 28 May

Open House Melbourne presents a series of talks, walks and tours along Melbourne’s waterways and gardens, to explore how the health and sustainability of our natural ecosystems are vital to a thriving future for us all. Wander alongside Birrarung, Bolin Bolin Billabong and the wetlands of Westgate Park to understand how we can address the climate crisis and learn from First Peoples’ knowledge of designing with Country.


Tapping into the thematic pillar of Transparency, satellite program exhibitions will explore transparency through revealing the life of a material in the design process and exposing design systems:

Numbulwar pop-up studio and exhibition – a collaboration between Tait, Agency and Numbulwar Numburindi Arts | 18 – 28 May

An exhibition of woven furniture designs by Numbulwar Numburindi Arts master weavers Joy Wilfred and Rose Wilfred will be on display at Tait’s Fitzroy showroom. The artists have reimagined Tait’s iconic Tidal chair, a design of which references ocean and wave patterns, using discarded ghost fishing nets that wash up on the shores of the remote Numbulwar community.

A dedicated space in the showroom will host Numbulwar weavers Joy Wilfred, Rose Wilfred and Janette Murrungun in residency to showcase their traditional weaving practice and facilitate weaving circles.

Located at the mouth of the Rose River on the coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria in east Arnhem Land, Numbulwar Numburindi Arts is a collective of artists whose mission is to practice and engage with traditional culture. The project is a collaboration with not-for-profit Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation Agency and premium furniture designers Tait.

Perspectives presented by CO-FUTURES | 20 – 28 May

This exhibition shares the processes behind the work of BIPOC and women architects and designers through a display of conversations, notes, records, sketches and ephemera. The accumulation of this process will culminate in a talk series, which includes Kenyan architects Cave Bureau, Argentinean urban planner Natalia Dopazo and Mexican property developer Alberto Kritzler.

HARD presented by Calum Hurley | 18 – 21 May

Showcasing queer creatives from around Australia, HARD presents work by designers who utilise their surroundings by integrating found objects and materials into a new work representative of their current practice. HARD celebrates queer sexuality in tandem with the act of collecting kerbside hard rubbish.


Drawing on the thematic pillar of legacy – designers to celebrate and investigate the enduring legacy of Australian design and examine what current designer’s legacy’s will be for future generations:

Pieces of Peace presented by Anna Schwartz Gallery | 20 – 27 May

Pieces of Peace is an exhibition by artist Su San Cohn, weaving together two propositions: how jewellery could serve as a tool for making peace between people and how robotic industrial production impacts handmaking in the age of automation. During the exhibition Cohn will present a performative artist talk, embodying a workshop manager, and inviting audience members to attend dressed in workwear.

Imagining Our Future presented by Sustainability Victoria | 19 May

In an increasingly short-term world facing big challenges on the horizon, the art of thinking long term is more important than ever – yet many of us struggle to apply this in the everyday. Imagining Our Future is designed to help participants learn about future thinking in a creative and interactive environment where one can view community visions of the future brought to life with AI, and build your own artifact from the future at the Futures Bazaar.

Future Forums: The Brave New Nexus of Design, Health, and Technology presented by Museums Victoria | 22 May

Design plays a central role in achieving positive health outcomes. As one of the fastest growing players in the global MedTech industry, Victoria is gaining a reputation for its quality, innovation, and commitment to excellence in design. In this forum, five design experts at the cutting-edge of projects improving outcomes in health and medicine, showcase leading innovations in the fields of new wearables, sleep technology and patient-centred design.


The thematic pillar of currency investigates mediums of exchange outside of economic value such as social, environmental, cultural, natural and political currency. These programs explore how designers are rewiring systems of exchange to define what is a current value.

Design, Unbuild: Autumn Room presented by Monash Architecture | 18 – 28 May

Monash Architecture students will design and construct an ‘Autumn room’ installation in the courtyard at Collingwood Yards utilising the courtyard’s large Plane trees experiencing various states of autumn defoliation as the basis of the temporary structure. The ‘Autumn room’ is a provocation on alternative ways of building and creating semi-permanent spaces in response to season.

Redesigning the Housing System presented by Assemble Communities | 25 May

Assemble Papers brings together leaders in the field of housing, including from Women’s Property Initiatives, Super Housing Partnership and YWCA, in a conversation that explores how we can redesign our housing system towards creating fairer, stable, and more equitable homes.

Wandering OFF-Menu presented by Long Prawn | 20 – 21 May

Artistic food practitioners, Long Prawn will host walking food tours along Birrarung exploring sites that no longer exist as a result of colonisation and introduced food systems. Participants will learn about former eel (iuk) routes and banana ripening vaults locations to better understand the impact of how we eat today.

 Showroom Highlights

Local and international designers present new designs and projects at showrooms including APATO, Articolo Lighting, BACHLI Furniture, Castorina & Co, Coco Flip, Cult Design x Mater, Domestic Fantasies, Flack Studio, Fred International, GLAAS Inc, Modern Times, Mud Australia, Open Room and pépite.

WASTE DREAM presented by Cult Design in partnership with Mater | 18 – 28 May

An exhibition exploring how different waste streams from industrial production can become new opportunities and materials in the furniture industry. Mater Circular Materials are created using a production process that takes fibrous waste material and plastic and upcycles it into a unique composite material that can be press-moulded to create new furniture – as showcased in the exhibition with designs by Børge Mogensen and Space Copenhagen.

{Whose Bright Idea?} presented by Euroluce | 18 – 27 May

ARUP, Woods Bagot, Euroluce, and Woven Image will create a striking journey of sight, sound and touch with an immersive sensory installation inviting visitors to consider the lifespan of products and materials beyond the immediate timeline of a project.

The Artist Residence presented by Fred International | 18 – 28 May

A uniquely curated apartment space in the historic Foy and Gibson precinct in Collingwood, showcasing a collection of art, objects, furniture and lighting to creates a scene that could be the home of an artist collector.

Curated Exhibitions Highlight Australian Talent

At this year’s Melbourne Design Week, leading galleries and design curators will mount thoughtful shows highlighting a diverse pool of Australian talent and reflect the ideas posited in this year’s thematic pillars:

The Silo Project by Josee Vesely-Manning | 19 – 23 May

Housed in a former grain silo in inner city Melbourne, The Silo Project is a group exhibition that responds to the unique site it is housed in and forms an architectural intervention to a now obsolete industrial monolith. Currently the workshop and atelier for artists Roger Mitchell and Corey Thomas where large-scale commissions for artists such as James Turrell are fabricated, the Silos represent implications of material obsolescence and industrial labour, urban “renewal” and gentrification.

Contributors include: AAO Architecture, Ashisha Cunningham, Billie Civello, Billy Horn, Bolaji Teniola, Corey Thomas, Darcy Jones, Danielle Brustman, Elliot Bastianon, Edward Linacre, Josee Vesely-Manning, Kiki Ando, Marlo Lyda, Marta Figueiredo, Meagan Streader, Pascale Gomes- McNabb, Simon Ancher, Volker Haug.

Symphonic Skateboarding presented by Kirby Clark | 26 – 28 May

Symphonic Skateboarding, designed by Kirby Clark, at Riverslide Skate Park captures the unique beauty of skateboarding through an installation of playful and colourful forms that create music when skated over. Located in Alexandra Gardens and designed with collective input from local skaters, this project challenges the past perceptions of skateboarding and showcases its diverse and inclusive future.

Kurunpa Kunpu / Strong Spirit presented by Artbank | 23 May – 14 July

ArtBank presents Kurunpa Kunpu / Strong Spirit, an exhibition of collectable furniture designs produced as a result of a cross-cultural design collaboration between highly skilled wood (punu) artists Minyma Anangu woman Tanya Singer and Djabugay and Western Yalanji man Errol Evans and furniture designer Trent Jansen.  Over a three-year period, Singer, Evans and Jansen spent time in each other’s communities, learning from unique relationships with Country, family and community, and engaging with each other’s’ cultural practices and traditions.

Design House by OIGÅLL PROJECTS | 25 – 28 May

Fitzroy-based OIGÅLL PROJECTS presents a group show of 10 Australian-based designers with new works contextualised within the recently restored OIGÅLL PROJECTS UPSTAIRS. This domestic setting offers an opportunity to celebrate conceptual design in context. Functional art, performing its function. Participating designers include Volker Haug, denHolm, Brud Studia, MMDO, Olivia Bossy and more.

WORKSHOP 01 presented by New Assemblage x Misc Objet | 18 – 25 May

Showcasing new work by eleven emerging designers with wildly diverse outlooks, under the curatorial direction of Julian Leigh May, Tess Pirrie, and Ella Saddington. This exhibition and talk series is a celebration of the future of design and the intersection of design, sustainability, and innovation. The show features designers Bobby Corica, Ed Cook, Georgia Weitenberg, Julian Leigh May, Kim Stanek, Lex Williams, Nathan Martin, Nicholas Aylward, Nicola Charlesworth, Tanika Jellis and Tess Pirrie.

(NO THINGS) MATTER presented by MATTERS| 18 – 24 May

Prompted by the question ‘what matters to you?’, a collection of designer-makers – including Andrew Carvolth, DnJ Paper and Elliat Rich – explore process as the key instigator for new design possibilities at Villa Alba Museum.

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