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Melbourne Design Week

05 Mar 2019

Melbourne Design Week Image

Presented by the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) and Creative Victoria, Australia’s leading annual international design event, Melbourne Design Week, will present its largest program to date, with more than 200 events from March 14 to 24.

Featuring 47 exhibitions, 14 film screenings, 77 talks, 22 tours and 18 workshops across Melbourne and, for the very first time, Geelong, this year’s theme “Design Experiments” begs the question: how can design shape the future?

From Yarra River boat tours showcasing long-held aspirations for Melbourne’s waterways, to keynote addresses from major international speakers, the program will demonstrate how design can impact a range of prominent challenges we face today as a society.

As society enters an unprecedented period of urbanisation, digitisation, population growth and ecological transformation, many believe that design and architecture hold great potential for positive transformation.

Offering disruptive ideas that intersect with industry, politics, history, science, ecology, psychology and more, Design Week will encourage participants to demonstrate cultural and historical awareness by embracing the past, present and future.

Through this idealistic agenda, the program provides an opportunity for designers to reflect on what they do, to imagine new and better ways of doing things, and share these ideas and insights with a broad audience.

One of the most notable highlights of this year’s program is Waterfront, which celebrates the Birrarung (Yarra River) and asks Melbournians to reconsider and connect with the river that runs through our city.

Offering unique experiences and insights into this winding watercourse, Open House Melbourne presents a program of conversations, boat tours and special events that deep dive into the role design plays in reframing Melbourne’s relationship with water.

Executive director of Open House Melbourne Emma Telford said the program would offer a “reservoir of ideas for reimagining the river” in an effort to get Melbournians reconnected with our river both physically and culturally.

The program spans events that focus on a range of topics, including reframing planning in Fishermans Bend, exploring the river’s traditional swimming spots, understanding its forgotten ecologies and delving into water sensitive urban design.

Another highlight, The War on Waste, explores some of the defining moral issues of our time such as climate change, waste and pollution spanning geographies and scales – from whole ecosystems to individual consumer choices.

Many leading entrepreneurs and designers see these looming challenges as opportunities for a new wave of innovation, rethinking and renewal that could radically transform our cities ad daily lives.

This series of programs, featuring exhibitions, workshops and talks, celebrates the potential of design and creativity to accelerate the conversation and embrace these challenges head on. Design your own circular food system or zero waste building, explore the Welcome to Wasteland exhibition or get inspired at the Victorian Design Challenge as Craig Reucassel from ABC’s War on Waste presents the Waste Challenge Live Pitch.

Buildings, vehicles, products and garments are made possible by vast global supply chains of materials. Some are natural, others are synthetic, but whatever their origins, all materials have consequences and implications.

Through a series of programs, Material Matters will reveal how designers are thinking about where materials come from and where they will end up, perhaps heralding a new wave of thinking.

Other key programs include Possible Futures and Inclusive Cities, which each respectively explore a range of themes that will help us reimagine how we address a number of challenges relating to science, technology, politics, culture and more.

With an incredible line up of international guests and other creative programs and events, including the Melbourne Art Book Fair, Melbourne Design Week 2019 offers something for everyone.

To view the full program and find out more information visit


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