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Futures Collective takes over Villa Alba at Melbourne Design Week

The Futures Collective returned to Villa Alba Museum for Melbourne Design Week 2023. This event united a cadre of designers under the umbrella of three thought-provoking pillars — Transparency, Currency and Legacy.

Futures Collective takes over Villa Alba at Melbourne Design Week

In a world that often speeds past the present into the unchartered territory of the future, the Melbourne Design Week’s Futures Collective, situated in the heritage Villa Alba Museum, offered a refreshing pause. This year’s theme, “Design the world that you want”, echoes in the museum’s halls as it showcases initiatives and exhibits from the creators who dare to imagine and mould the world of tomorrow.

From MATTERS, a unique vision of process-driven design, to the Innate LS collection by Fiona Spence with its inspired fusion of artistry, craftsmanship, and an homage to the Australian landscape, each display offered up a narrative. The debut collection of OKO OLO told the tale of ‘found’ and ‘formed’, encapsulating the concept of reuse to limit waste and landfill. The Scott Livesey Galleries pieces became silent storytellers, their voices seeping through the colourful brushstrokes.

One can hardly miss the visual feast offered by the Real Majik rug collection – a commendable collaboration between Tappeti and YSG. These rugs bear the weight of expert craftsmanship, high-quality materials, and Ghoniem’s unique aesthetic sensibilities.

The celebration of design is not just limited to static exhibits. MATTERS, launched by Marlo Lyda and Jordan Fleming, delved into the process of designing through the question, ‘What MATTERS to you?’. The responses to this are presented in three exhibitions across three years: (NO THINGS), (SOME THINGS), and (ALL THINGS) MATTERS. The journey from concept to reality unfolds gradually, encouraging audiences to re-evaluate their perceptions of design.

Related: 2023 Victorian Architecture Awards shortlist

Stepping into the (NO THINGS) MATTERS exhibition, one could see the inner workings of a creative process. It was a cornucopia of inventive thought, featuring designs that merged traditional materials and techniques with experimentation, like that of Andrew Carvolth; or using lost and overlooked materials to speculate on contemporary craft like Cordon Salon. Nothing was truly discarded here – even the display was created entirely from reclaimed materials, advocating for resource recovery through thoughtful demolition.

Amid all of this design, the Arc Chair stands as a reminder of the beauty in simplicity. Born from the collaboration between Eco Outdoor and Tom Fereday, the elegant chair showcases authentic Australian design, reflecting the ethos of the Futures Collective.

This year’s Futures Collective made a compelling statement: design is not just about form and function but also about the journey – the process and the people behind it. Industry icon, Fiona Spence says: “The pathway to product is never paved. As with anything we do, it is about collaborating with like-minded souls to explore and manifest something enduring and exclusively Australian, and true to the vision.”

Futures Collective at Melbourne Design Week

Sean Fennessy

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