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Australia’s first design fair reveals just how collectible Australian design is

Melbourne Design Fair opened last Wednesday and it’s an event not to be missed. We give you a run-down on what you can see – and collect, too.

Australia’s first design fair reveals just how collectible Australian design is

Design works on display, photography by Sean Fennessy.

Never before has Australia experienced such a comprehensive design fair of its own country’s designers. The inaugural event captures a fascinating and exciting intersection of art and design culminating in decorative, functional pieces of imagination and innovation – especially where fabrication and material use is involved.

Installation view of Remnants of a Future Architecture 2022 by Roland Snooks of Studio Roland Snooks on display at Melbourne Design Fair from 16 – 20 March, presented by NGV in collaboration with Melbourne Art Foundation during Melbourne Design Week 2022. Photo: Tim Carrafa
Remnants of a Future Architecture 2022 by Roland Snooks of Studio Roland Snooks, photography by Tim Carrafa.

As the first of its kind in Australia, the fair is a veritable playground of ground-breaking designs. Across the country, designers, design organisations, agencies, studios and galleries have come together to meet and present their works. Limited edition, rare and one-of-a-kind collectable designs that offers audiences a unique cultural experience.

Installation view of Design Tasmania presenting works by Laura McCusker, Brodie Neill, Scott Van Tuil and Belinda Winkler on display at Melbourne Design Fair from 16 – 20 March, presented by NGV in collaboration with Melbourne Art Foundation during Melbourne Design Week 2022. Photo: Sean Fennessy
Design Tasmania presents works by Laura McCusker, Brodie Neill, Scott Van Tuil and Belinda Winkler, photography by Sean Fennessy.

The fair is a breakthrough event for the design industry and an exciting next step for Australia. As director of the National Gallery of Victoria, Tony Ellwood, says, “The fair is a new and innovative opportunity to showcase the extraordinary work of our talented designers, galleries, and studios.

“Bringing together the design sector and its supporters for the very first time, this event is a unique proposition in Australia and proudly positions design as an integral part of the artistic and fiscal vitality of our creative industries.”

Installation view of works by Christopher Boots on display at Melbourne Design Fair from 16 – 20 March, presented by NGV in collaboration with Melbourne Art Foundation during Melbourne Design Week 2022. Photo: Tim Carrafa
Installation view of works by Christopher Boots, photography by Tim Carrafa.

Following Melbourne Design Week’s theme, ‘design the world you want’, the fair offers a glimpse into the future of creative design. Curated into two differing platforms, the fair celebrates and showcases new designs to audiences that can not only be viewed but purchased. 

Installation view of design works on display at Melbourne Design Fair from 16 –20 March, presented by NGV in collaboration with Melbourne Art Foundation during Melbourne Design Week 2022from 17-27 March 2022.Photo: Sean Fennessy
Design works on display, photography by Sean Fennessy.

In the Present platform, audiences can see some of the most exquisite designs Australia’s leading practitioners have to offer. Here, 13 galleries, design organisations, agencies and studios have dedicated displays to pieces by their brightest creators. 

Select takes this one step further showcasing works from over 35 emerging and established designers. In the mix of these creatives’ showcases are works for sale, some limited and one of a kind.

Installation view of James Lemon’s work on sale at Melbourne Design Fair from 16 –20 March, presented by NGV in collaboration with Melbourne Art Foundation during Melbourne Design Week 2022from 17-27 March 2022.Photo: Tim Carrafa
James Lemon’s work, photography by Tim Carrafa.

The Melbourne Art Foundation has jointly organised the event with the National Gallery of Victory. CEO of Melbourne Art Foundation, Maree Di Pasquale, says, “Melbourne Design Fair marks a significant moment for design in Australia. Established in response to the increasing demand from collectors to have access to highly collectable contemporary design on Australian shores, the fair will be a true celebration of design culture and commerce in this country.

Installation view of Jam Factory presenting works by Connie Augoustinos, Clare Belfrage, Selinda Davidson, Liam Fleming, Susan Frost, Calum Hurley, Duncan Young, Noah Hartley, Ayano Yoshizumi and Duncan Young on display at Melbourne Design Fair from 16 – 20 March, presented by NGV in collaboration with Melbourne Art Foundation during Melbourne Design Week 2022. Photo: Sean Fennessy
Jam Factory presents works by Connie Augoustinos, Clare Belfrage, Selinda Davidson, Liam Fleming, Susan Frost, Calum Hurley, Duncan Young, Noah Hartley, Ayano Yoshizumi and Duncan Young, photography by Sean Fennessy.

“A platform for investment and innovation, Melbourne Design Fair brings together the region’s most influential designers and makers, collectors, curators, and critics to cultivate a new commercial market for collectable design.”

The Melbourne Design Fair runs until the 20th of March as part of Melbourne Design Week. You can register your attendance here.

Design works on display, photography by Sean Fennessy.
Craft Victoria presents works by Jessie French, Anastasia la Fey, Vanessa Lucas, Jessica Murtagh, Yoko Ozawa, Caro Pattle, Owen Rye, Kenny (Yong-soo) Son of Studiokyss, Belle Thierry, Danielle Thiris, Dean Toepfer, Lisa Waup, and Misseu, photography by Sean Fennessy.
Agency Projects presents works by Pedro Wonaeamirri of Jilamara Arts and Crafts, photography by Sean Fennessy.
Installation view of Christopher Boots work on display at Melbourne Design Fair from 16 – 20 March, presented by NGV in collaboration with Melbourne Art Foundation during Melbourne Design Week 2022. Photo: Sean Fennessy
Christopher Boots work, photography by Sean Fennessy.

Melbourne Design Week
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Read more about our top picks of events and exhibitions at this year’s Melbourne Design Week.

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