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Media Release • 15 Mar 24

Melbourne Design Week 2024 – Design the world you want

Melbourne Design Week, 23 May – 2 June, Australia’s largest and leading annual design festival presents its eighth edition in 2024 with 11 days of 300+ innovative exhibitions, displays, symposiums and talks throughout metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria. Highlights in the 2024 program include a keynote from Nigerian architect Tosin Oshinowo, a symposium exploring speculative riverside designs for the Birrarung, the tenth year of Melbourne Art Book Fair, plus presentations of work by Visnja Brdar, Jessie French, Sruli Recht and Ross Gardam. 

Exploring the theme of ‘Design the world you want’, the 2024 program brings into focus the use of energy, ethics and ecology to encourage positive change, reimagine existing systems and offer innovative design solutions to complex global challenges. ‘Energy’ examines how design can champion new technologies to enact society’s transition to renewables; ‘ethics’ demonstrates how design can be guided by societal values; and ‘ecology’ invites designers to respond to the physical environment and considering the influence of nature.  

Presented by Creative Victoria and delivered by the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), Melbourne Design Week is a vital platform for emerging and established creative practitioners, offering the Australian design community and audiences the opportunity to engage with a diverse program of talks, tours, exhibitions, installations, and workshops. 

Program highlights at the NGV include:  

  • A keynote talk by Nigerian architect Tosin Oshinowo, sharing insights into her socially responsive approaches to urbanism. Following the success of her curation of the recent Sharjah Architecture Triennial, Oshinowo will discuss architecture and urbanism in the Middle East, Africa and Asia to rethink approaches to design and architecture that can meet cultural and climatic needs in the twenty-first century. 
  • A public symposium held in anticipation of the upcoming NGV exhibition Reimagining Birrarung: Design Concepts for 2070, which challenges eight leading Australian landscape architects to develop radical speculative designs that reinvent sites along Birrarung (the Yarra River) opening at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia in August 2024.
  • As part of Melbourne Art Book Fair’s tenth year, UK-based Katy Hessel, esteemed curator, art historian and author of The Story of Art Without Men, presents a talk in partnership with The Wheeler Centre. Melbourne Art Book Fair’s 2024 program includes artist and designer activations, workshops, plus the popular stallholder fair in the NGV’s Great Hall on the opening weekend. The program also presents satellite events along Victoria’s surf coast with programming in Geelong, Barwon Heads, Torquay and Ocean Grove, adding to events in Ballarat and Castlemaine. 
  • A keynote talk from the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Senior Curator of Africa and Diaspora Textiles and Fashion, Dr Christine Checinska, accompanied by a diverse range of public programs curated by Africa Fashion Program Co-Curator Dorcas Maphakela, will highlight the diverse and varied fashion culture of the African continent in celebration of Africa Fashion. The exhibition, opening at NGV International in May, celebrates the creativity, innovation and indelible global impact of African fashions from the mid-twentieth century to the present day.   
  • Following a recent think tank on Country in Arnhem Land, NGV and Agency Projects present a thought-provoking conversation, Rubbish on the Shore to examine the intersection of culture, creativity and sustainability, investigating design solutions for ocean and river debris affecting communities across Australia.  

Satellite program Design and Death, shines a light on the architecture, places, issues and practices associated with the end of life. Presented by Open House Melbourne, the series of talks and tours – including a tour of Bunurong Memorial Park – explores the relationship between design and death to discover how the spaces we associate with death and burial can provoke more thought about life and how we live it.  

For the fifth year, Mercedes-Benz Australia will present the Annual Melbourne Design Week Award, offered for an outstanding contribution to Australia’s largest international design event. The winner will be announced on the opening night of Melbourne Design Week 2024. NGV and Stylecraft will announce the winner of the Australian Furniture Design Awards on the eve of Melbourne Design Week, which will be accompanied by an exhibition of the five shortlisted works at the Stylecraft showroom.  

Melbourne Design Week Film Festival will present a series of films that explore the impact of architecture and design through the moving image and its power to affect change, innovate and shape community, cities and the environment. 

Reflecting further on how good design impacts our everyday lives, design studio Never Too Small presents Multi-Functional Pet Furniture which conceptualises furniture that combines pet-housing, aesthetics and affordability. Other program highlights include Urban Landscape Design Cake Competition where Melbourne-based landscape architecture studios have selected an under-development site in the city and re-imagined it as parkland through the edible medium of cake. 

Galleries and design curators will present a series of exhibitions highlighting the inspiring scope of Australian designers with displays at Craft, Tarrawarra Musuem of Art, Tolarno, MUMA, Pieces of Eight, Useful Objects, and more. Australia’s leading showrooms, brands and design studios will also participate with exhibitions taking place at venues including Aesop, Brickworks, Cult, Spacecraft, Tait, Living Edge, Mobilia, Christopher Boots and House Editions. 

Speculative design exhibitions and programs examine approaches to sustainability and design solutions for the future. Designer Ella Saddington presents Material Matters which consider the longevity and sustainability materials that surround us, while the exhibition MATTERS explores the themes of process, community and longevity from designers including Adam Goodrum, Dean Norton, Jordan Fleming, and Marlo Lyda. Plus, programs delivered by City of Melbourne, BAR Studio and Plus Architecture explore the environmental benefits of adaptive re-use and repurposed buildings.  

Further program highlights include mixed-cultural First Nations designer Lisa Waup exhibiting a suite of commercial textile and wallpaper designs in an installation presented with Willie Weston and Agency Projects. Revival Projects has salvaged five large Cypress Macrocarpa trees from Box Hill cemetery to create an exhibition of 100 timber urns that will decompose and give life to a new tree. Zachary Frankel will mentor young people in a series of workshops to build chairs using waste material which will be exhibited during Melbourne Design Week.  

The Telstra Creativity Innovation Series: Future of Food builds on the inaugural event in 2023 which presented unique, speculative and thought-provoking food. The second iteration in 2024 will continue to champion new approaches to food and waste exploring eco-innovation and potential solutions for environmental preservation. 

Melbourne Design Week invites all Victorians to explore the city and state through regional hubs and independent exhibitions by leading designers. Melbourne Design Week engages venues throughout Victoria including the Victorian Pride Centre, Collingwood Yards, Melbourne School of Design and Melbourne Museum with events also taking place in Bendigo, Ballarat, Geelong and Shepparton.  

Tony Ellwood AM, Director, NGV, said: ‘Since 2017, Melbourne Design Week has become an important event for design practitioners throughout the country, providing a crucial platform for their work and encouraging critical thought that will help shape the future. From commercial design objects to effective design solutions – the program of over 300 events showcases how Australia is leading design innovation globally.’ 

Melbourne Design Week is an initiative of the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria and delivered by the NGV.  

Melbourne Design Week takes place 23 May – 2 June 2024 at NGV International, St Kilda Road, Melbourne and at various locations throughout metropolitan and regional Victoria. 

The full program and bookings will be available online from 11 April 2024. The majority of Melbourne Design Week is free to attend with some events requiring bookings due to venue capacities. designweek.melbourne  

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