Melbourne Design Week: NGV 2019 – Shaping the World’s Future


Diversity of the MindA creative nation is a productive nation and in collaboration with the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), the Victorian Government supports the presentation of Melbourne Design WeekNGV Director, Tony Ellwood AM said, “Now in its third year, Melbourne Design Week presents the largest and most robust program to date, with an absorbing and enlightening range of programs on offer. With a focus on our city and our surrounding environment, all Victorians will have the opportunity to experience pioneering design concepts, hear from world-leading experts and encounter cutting-edge technologies that will help us all consider new and innovative possibilities for the future of our state” he said.


McIntyre Drive Social Housing Altona. Photo: Trevor Mein

This year, the 2019 Program will consist of a vibrant array of exhibitions from March 14 – 24. Over ten days the presentation will be all about business, technology and the community all coming together to drive innovation, and to help enrich Australian culture and society, by celebrating design excellence, especially in our cities.

Geelong Tech School. Photo: Graeme Robertson

Geelong Tech School. Photo: Graeme Robertson

There will be 200 events held, including 47 exhibitions, 14 film screenings, 77 talks, 22 tours and 18 workshops, presented in various locations across Melbourne, as well as in Geelong, to showcase why the latter city has recently been recognised as a UNESCO City of Design. Events include Reconnecting with Birrarung, the War on Waste, Possible Futures and Inclusive Cities to name but a few. Check them all out – START Here


Svizzera 240: House Tour by Alessandro Bosshard, Li Tavor, Matthew van der Ploeg and Ani Vihervaara at the 16th Venice Biennale of Architecture, 2018. Photo: Christian Beutler / KEYSTONE

How can design shape the future is the question being asked, ‘as society enters an unprecedented period of urbanisation, digitisation, population growth and ecological transformation’.

There has been since 2004 in Australia, a diversified global venture to develop an online network to connect multi-disciplinary research to design intelligent cities.

Detail: North Melbourne House. Photo: Peter Bennetts

Detail: North Melbourne House. Photo: Peter Bennetts

Originally an initiative of six professors in four Australian universities, the project has grown and met morphed into a multi national global project, which is connecting global research and intelligence with dynamic data to produce eco-smart solutions to urban challenges.


Image courtesy of City of Greater Geelong and Geelong Regional Library Corporation

Design solutions have been paving the way for city growth around the world for centuries. Today we have the luxury through knowledge, of embracing the intellectual and philosophical ideas behind past and present examples to help invent the future.

We need knowledge + freedom + energy + output + wisdom if we want to = intelligent eco-smart, sustainable savvy cities in the future.


Melbourne Galaxy by Robert Sperring and Sydney Davidson

By 2050, it has been estimated, more than 75% of the world’s population will live in cities, so there is a lot to discuss if our architects and developers are to produce designs to suit new ways of living, and how to invoke the right kind of change for that to happen.

Toxic CitySolutions are coming from finding ways to convert waste to useful products that assist everyday life. Why not attend the Toxic City Symposium on March 19 and be appraised of all those examining the unique set of challenges associated with our urban environments.

Dutch artist and Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum and winner of the Design Project of the Year at the 2018 Dezeen Awards, innovator Daan Roosegaarde will discuss the development of ‘Landscapes of the Future’.

Design Week Team

Design Week Team, left to right, Emma Teller – executive director of Open House Melbourne, Timothy Moore – curator of the Melbourne Design Week satellite program and Ewan McEoin – senior curator of architecture and design National Gallery of Victoria

Other Speakers looking at the scale and challenge of what lies ahead, include Craig Reucassel, Jury Chair, ABC’s War on Waste, Bonnie Herring, Director, Breathe Architecture, Ross Harding, Founder, Finding Infinity, Prof Sue Anne Ware, Head of School, Architecture and Built Environment, University of Newcastle, Joost Bakker, Visionary, disruptor and environmental activist, to name a few.

Melbourne Book FAir

Guests enjoying a previous Melbourne Art Book Fair, Photo: NGV

Melbourne Design Week also coincides with the annual Melbourne Art Book Fair, which shares the aim of helping broaden knowledge and expanding the interest of the general public, as well as business and design industry audiences.

Local and international guests will discuss ideas and the MABF Symposium: Graphic Fashion ‘…will look at the intersections between fashion and graphic design, with guest speakers from Brooklyn-based creative studio Tunica, Berlin-based magazine Girls Like Us, Laura Gardner of Melbourne’s Mode and Mode, Australia’s i-D Magazine and Amsterdam-based studio Femke de Vries’. 

As part of a creative process, we need to all endeavour to embrace both conservative and social-democratic thinking in responding to the cliff-hanger challenges of our times.

Good design also can mean changing our behaviour, rather than just relying on governments to issue edicts to get the job done.

climate-changeFor instance, our response to major issues, such as climate change, will only happen if come together in community to collectively mediate with each other and then to plan and accept responsibility for our actions.

Designers have the power to affect people’s emotions and the ability to truly change how people perceive the imagery in the world around them.

But what is a designer? Well, to my mind it is someone who is not only profoundly imaginative, but also an original thinker.

MDW Details

mage courtesy of Monash University’s XYX Lab + ECHOS School of Design Thinking

While it is perhaps desirable, they don’t really have to be able to draw, but do need to have the ability to see something in their mind’s eye, and then using their brain, patiently figure out how it can come into existence practically, right down to the minutest of detail.

They also have to be able to embrace someone else’s vision, not just endeavour to superimpose their will on another, respecting and recognising their client’s wishes as well. This is often the hardest part for both… getting the balance right!

MDW8Designers exist in all industries, and so the process can happen across a very broad field of influence and help to benefit society as a whole, both psychologically and physically.

Today design incorporates new ways of thinking about how human behaviour contributes so much to change across a wide range of subjects and practices.

It is up to each and every one of us to be, and to remain informed about current issues affecting the future of the world.

Photo: Anton Darius via Unsplash

Photo: Anton Darius via Unsplash

It is our attitudes which need to be revisited, discussed, re-evaluated and overcome so we can all move into, and become part of, the brave new world.

Taking risks is integral to any challenge, large or small. We need to embrace the Eddie Izard model; to be both ‘brave and curious NOT fearful and suspicious’. This will help if we want to contribute to the successful future of the world for our children and their children’s children.

Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2019

Image courtesy of City of Greater Geelong

Image courtesy of City of Greater Geelong

Melbourne Design Week

March 14 – 24, 2019

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne


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