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The Design Co-op at Melbourne Design Week

An initiative by Anaca Studio and One Fine Print, The Design Co-op will host a series of events as part of Melbourne Design Week that is set to unite the industry.

  • The Design Co-op is all about cross industry collaboration.

  • Fox and Ramona Pots, Fox & Ramona, The Image Takers.

  • Tana Shelf, Tide Design. Mike Baker.

  • August stool and Idle bench, Apparent. Photo by Michael Gordon Hill.

From 23 to 25 March 2018, The Design Co-Op is infusing the Australian design community with a fresh dose of optimism and imagination about what’s still to come for our living spaces. The one-of-a-kind event will unite the Australian design industry and foster valuable ties between professionals and the design-loving public, sparking a much-needed dialogue about the role of design in today’s market.

The brainchild of Anne-Claire Petre of Anaca Studio and Elizabeth Bull of One Fine Print, the event program is carefully crafted to showcase Australian design brands and empower attendees to transform any place into a meaningful “home”. The Design Co-Op will bring together 14 local brands, 3 leading interior designers, and 20 industry professionals. Whittling the line-up down to just 14 designers was no easy task, considering the local talent pool. “We wanted to work with brands that were aligned with our beliefs,” explained Anne-Claire and Elizabeth, “We started with the people we had either worked with before and who we knew would take this seriously and be meticulous about organisation.”

Anaca Studio and One Fine Print has previously collaborated.

As is to be expected from an event curated by a furniture designer and a photographer, The Design Co-Op’s line-up marries style and functionality. Participating brands and designers span Australia’s diverse design landscape and include everything from lighting and furniture, to rugs, plants, and décor. From the rich textures of Cadrys and the tactile quirkiness of Cakebread to the colourful concrete of Fox & Ramona and the leafy luxury of The Plant Society, The Design Co-op truly has something for everyone.

Following a launch party on Friday March 23, The Design Co-Op will host a day of panel discussions that present a fresh perspective on topical issues. “The panels are all about sharing knowledge and making connections,” said Anne-Claire and Elizabeth, “We wanted to have casual discussions around subjects that are relevant to both the public and the design industry.” To kick things off, Amelia Barnes of design blog Rented Space will host “Rental is on the rise – why we shouldn’t compromise our home environment.”


Responding to an increasingly rental-driven market, the panel is sure to appeal to today’s younger generations, who are gamely exploring new ways to evoke the cosiness of home in transitional, rented, and non-traditional spaces.

And our own Alice Blackwood of Indesign Magazine will host “How to lead by design? Opportunities to create change in the industry”. Ending the line-up on a future-facing, optimistic note, this panel will empower attendees to refresh the industry for today’s market and transform any space into a meaningful home.

The Design Co-Op sidesteps the monoculture of showrooms and tradeshows, instead highlighting the benefits of ‘cross-pollinating’ different brands and aesthetics. For the weekend-long Showcase, leading Australian interior designers – Fiona Parry-Jones of Von Haus, Lauren Li of Sisalla, and Manuela Millan of Meanwhile in Melbourne – will use products from The Design Co-Op participants to craft three distinct living spaces that evoke different interpretations of ‘home’.

The Design Co-op is all about cross industry collaboration.

The Design Co-op is all about cross industry collaboration.

In so doing, Showcase will not only spark imaginations but also remind brands and designers of the benefits of working together, instead of in competition, with one another.

The Design Co-Op is a satellite event of Melbourne Design Week, an annual initiative of the Victorian Government that links businesses with communities. Learn more about the event
at thedesignco-op.com.

This article originally appeared in McGrath and is republished on Indesignlive with permission. 

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