Open House

On the eve of the first Sydney Design Files Open House – the dramatic interior transformation of a converted warehouse in Surry Hills – Elana Castle sits down with Lucy Feagins to chat about this unique Australian design event.

The Design Files, arguably Australia’s most popular design blog, ventured into “real-time” when its founder, Lucy Feagins, launched The Design Files Open House, a curated design event in Melbourne in 2011. Essentially a showcase of the many products featured on the blog, the TDF Open House also functions as a retail space, providing visitors with the opportunity to purchase any of the items on display.


Elana Castle: Tell us about the genesis of the Open House concept? What inspired you to go beyond the sphere of online blogging?

Lucy Feagins: I’m conscious that I’m primarily an online presence and that I spend most of my time sitting behind a computer screen.  When I thought about what The Design Files might look like in a physical sense, I imagined a beautiful Australian home filled with many of the things we’ve profiled on the blog – but all under one roof!


EC: How has the event grown since its inception in Melbourne in 2011?

LF: It’s gotten bigger every year.  The content and the houses!  We now represent over 70 Australian designers.  We also have a few commercial sponsors on board now.


EC: What determines what is included in the line-up?

LF: The whole process is quite intuitive and represents the things that I love.  I just wish there was space to include more products.


EC: What did you find the most challenging aspect of the process?

LF: Balancing the commercial and independent sides of the event.  I started off with an indie blog and I really want to retain that kind of content as well as the blog’s tone and integrity.  However, it’s difficult to stage events like these without commercial support.  Fortunately, I have the opportunity to work with complimentary brands that really understand the concept and are happy to worth within The Open House requirements.


EC: What do you love most about The Open House?

LF: I started The Design Files at a time when there wasn’t very much online coverage of Australian design, so it’s great to see how much that has changed.  I also love that we’ve been a part of the growth and development of a number of the start-ups that we’ve featured.  It’s probably one of the most exciting aspects of what I do.


The Design Files Open House

5-8 December 5-8
5 Bennett Place, Surry Hills
10am – 5pm