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Factory Design District

Factory Design District is back bigger and better this year, opening in Sydney on Friday 3 June as part of Vivid Ideas. Leanne Amodeo previews the event’s highlights.

Factory Design District

Flashback to Sydney Indesign 2015 and Factory Design District (FDD) was a small exhibition of four designer-makers. Fuelled in no small part by a renewed interest in craftsmanship and all things handmade, the previously modest showcase has quickly evolved into a large-scale event presented as part of this year’s Vivid Ideas. Hosted by COMMUNE in Waterloo, it features over 20 exhibitors, a talks program, demonstrations and plenty of good food and drink.

What hasn’t changed is FDD’s mission to connect as many people as possible with designer-makers who are producing work of the highest quality. “Visitors will get a real sense of the human being behind the product,” says founder and curator Kobe Johns. “And see the way in which each component, thread or print is handled – not machined.”

Johns hopes the three-day event debunks myths that authentic design is only for the rich and commissioning a custom-made piece is a difficult process not for everyone. Exhibitors including Emilia Simcox, The Fortynine Studio and Kristian Aus will offer behind-the-scenes insight into their practice, reinforcing the benefits of buying local. While other exhibitors, such as Jonathan West, Fresh Prince and JP Finsbury Bespoke Joiners, shine a spotlight on local manufacture.

Factory Design District | Indesign Live
Fresh Prince Acorn Table

Factory Design District | Indesign Live
Emilia Simcox Camofleaur Rainforest

The talks program reinforces FDD’s curatorial championing of authentic design and is made all the more interesting for its well-respected industry participants. Designer Trent Jansen shares his recent experiences working in India’s Chor Bazaar and The Design Writer’s Penny Craswell leads discussions on the importance of making. A highlight is sure to be David Trubridge in conversation with the Authentic Design Alliance’s director Ann-Maree Sargeant on his recent legal battle with Australian ‘replica retailers’ (which, by the way, he won).

These sessions don’t shy away from issues that have long surrounded Australian design and Johns’ is to be commended for curating an easily accessible event that still packs intellectual punch. Her commissioning of design journalist and stylist David Harrison also adds weight to the program. His presentation of Established_ will be a clever reminder that the maker movement is not new, with iconic brands (and FDD exhibitors) Dinosaur Designs, ISM Objects, MUD Australia and Tait celebrated in a separate installation and panel discussion.

As Johns says, “Let’s start conversations with our designers and makers to gain a greater understanding of what’s happening in the factories and workshops of our cities.” FDD is sure to facilitate just that in a fun, relaxed environment where visitors will be entertained, can talk investment if they please and learn from the industry’s best and brightest.

Factory Design District
Presented as part of Vivid Ideas, Sydney
3 – 5 June 2016
901 Bourke Street Waterloo in Sydney

Factory Design District | Indesign Live
Liam Mugavin Tangle table

Factory Design District | Indesign Live
UNDER Interior light

Factory Design District | Indesign Live
Boardgrove Architects tables

Factory Design District | Indesign Live
Dinosaur Designs

Factory Design District | Indesign Live
ISM Objects lighting (also feature image). 

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