Melbourne Now Design Residency #2

A&D Projects with designer Philippa Abbott

The A&D Design residency hosted in the Bolwell EDGE caravan at NGV International was an open studio project that explored the interface of design, craft and 3D printing in collaboration with designers and craftspeople Glenn Stephenson, Dhiren Das, Donna Blackall and Viccki Kinai. The outcome was a discourse that delivered a new collection of contemporary design objects and artifacts for the NGV Shop, embedded with social, craft and design narratives.

A&D is a creative strategy and design consultancy led by founder and designer Philippa Abbott. Based in Melbourne, A&D specialises in cross-cultural creative practice and integrates environmental and social innovation strategies in their work.


The objective of A&D’s residency was to prototype and develop a collection of objects, which combined traditional indigenous weaving skills and materials with contemporary processes and technology. Merging these two narratives A&D proposed that these objects contained ‘a tactile narrative’. Weaving and ‘printing’ over the 4 days the making of these vessels, trays and containers embraced audience participation with visitors contributing to the making of the objects and their meaning.

Beginning with Philippa Abbott and industrial designer Glenn Stephenson computer modelling the base components of the objects they set-up three 3D printers in the Bolwell EDGE caravan ‘printing’ the bases on site at the NGV. Organic and asymmetrical, the parts were reminiscent of seashells having translucent qualities.

The ‘live’ printing was engaging and prompted conversations with the public on the future of such technology.

Collaborating with local Yorta Yorta weaver Donna Blackall and Papua New Guinean Master Billum weaver Vickki Kinai, Phillipa encouraged NGV visitors to sit at the table and learn traditional weaving. People of all ages, learnt to weave while discussing the origins of weaving; its traditional significance; its application and sustainability features. Donna Blackall shared stories of the Aboriginal dreamtime and the Indigenous importance of the land at NGV International.

From this residency A&D has began to investigate a series of follow-up activities including the creation of a social enterprise model for developing, producing and selling the design objects in museum and gallery stores around Australia. Both engaging Victorian Indigenous and migrant weavers and, travelling to Papua New Guinea in 2014, Philippa hopes to work with women from Viccki’s village in PNG to develop the collection and deliver the rewards to women and their communities.



A&D Projects residency supported by 3D Print Superstore