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Melbourne Design Week 2021: Editor’s Guide

Thomas Coward for Future Inheritance

Coming back in a big way, the 2021 lineup of events, talks and exhibitions for Melbourne Design Week is exhaustive. We have picked out just a small selection but be sure to see the full list for yourself and clear the calendar so you don’t miss a thing.

Running from Friday 26 March to Monday 5 April, Melbourne Design Week 2021 encompasses over 300 events, exhibitions, talks, tours and films, all coming together under the theme of ‘design the world you want’. With such a huge list to pore over we have curated a selection of our top picks.

A New Normal

A New Normal is an installation of 15 speculative architectural ideas for how the city of Melbourne can adapt and change to become a self-sufficient city by 2030. The project features an impressive mix of names including Edition Office, Kennedy Nolan, Foolscap Studio, John Wardle Architects, WOWOWA and Fender Katsalidis to name a few.

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Cathedral of Circularity by Edition Office


After the Australian Ugliness

A ticketed event being held at the Walsh Street House where Robin Boyd lived, this panel talk brings together writers, thinkers and academics to discuss the seminal book by Boyd The Australian Ugliness, and poses the question – what comes next?

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The Business of Sustainable Design

Bringing together four unique design leaders – Vanessa Katsanevakis from Sussex Taps, Michael Karakolis from Fibonacci Stone, Samantha Seljak from Seljak and Jeremy McLeod from Breathe Architecture – this panel talk will unpack how a sustainable approach to business doesn’t need to be one-size-fits-all. With innovation, dedication and transparency, sustainability can do more for business, and society as a whole, than affect the bottom line.

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A Suggestion of Possibility

In this exhibition, Nat Turnbull takes familiar household objects and reinterprets them in space to spark a questioning and dialogue that we have with objects and their meaning.

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A Suggestion of a Possibility


Brave Blooms

Brave Blooms feature 25 artists and creatives in a holistic design showcase, including Biasol, Daniel Barbera, Fomu and Heimur. Curated by Tracy Quertier the exhibition explores core themes and principles of holistic, ethical and sustainable design, interior styling, conscious living, community, ritual and mindfulness.

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Can the Suburbs Save the City?

Curated by FreeState, this debate will surely leave you thinking about the value and potential of our cities and suburbs. Artists, service designers, academics, strategists – all radical thinkers will discuss how we can create better communities for the future.

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Using waste materials from their studios, By-Product is an exhibition that sets out to question design processes and how the industry can move towards a circular economy. Part digital, part physical, the exhibition wants to encourage others to make from waste. Don’t miss the opening night party with a performance by Luke Howard!

Read more and book the opening party

By Product


After Hours

What do creatives do in their spare time? After Hours is an exhibition curated by Volker Haug that invites architects and designers to share their passion projects – the things they create when outside of their 9-5 job.

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Broached Recall

Broached Commissions and Elton Group have collaborated on a new series of design objects. Part of a two year exploration, these objects use historical timber veneers inciting a dialogue between old and new. Accompanying the objects is a creative short film, produced by Paul Barbera, which abstracts the fabrication process.

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Broached Recall


Tomorrow’s Thoughts, Today’s Possibilities

An online panel discussion, Tomorrow’s Thoughts, Today’s Possibilities throws designer Elliat Rich into the future; while Alex K, the Keeper of Time, will transport attendees between the design states of 2021 and 2029 showcasing designs to bring future visions closer to today.

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Cultivated: Creating a Circular Economy for Authentic Furniture and Lighting

Cultivated is a new sustainability program for furniture supplier and brand Cult. Launching as part of Melbourne Design Week with an exhibition and short film, visitors are invited to discover the lifecycle of furniture, while watching Sustainability Stories where designers and professionals share anecdotes about a more sustainable future.

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Designing a Legacy

Self-described ‘design tragic’, and previous Habitus cover star Tim Ross will be presenting a talk, pieced together with film, personal reflection and his signature comedy to take a look inside some of Australia’s most iconic homes.

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Future Inheritance: 20 Speculative Objects For a Time to Come

Curated by Marsha Golemac, this three-day exhibition brings 20 artists, designers and makers together to explore the power of objects, and how ideas and meaning are transferred from one generation to the next.

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Thomas Coward for Future Inheritance


Jam: JamFactory Australian Made Presents

With multiple events over the course of the program, catch talks, enjoy a coffee and get up close and personal with the latest range of pieces released by Australian designers, ceramicists and makers from JamFactory.

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The Art of Light

The Articolo showroom will transform into an immersive exhibition showcasing a site-specific installation that is the result of collaboration and community, created by award-winning Melbourne artist Yandell Walton.

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Why is the world of business, including design businesses, obsessed with growth? For this panel talk, Plyroom and Coco Flip invite you to a conversation about what it means to be intentionally ‘small’. Including a range of thought leaders, makers and designers, this talk will be moderated by Indesign editor Alice Blackwood.

Read more and book


Melbourne Design week 2021 runs from Friday 26 March through to Monday 5 April – see the full program here.

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