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Tackle the challenges of the future at Melbourne Design Week

Coming back for its third year, Melbourne Design Week 2020 is set to be bigger and better than ever. Engage with the most brilliant minds across diverse industry sectors and immerse yourself in an incredible experience of meaningful design thinking.

Tackle the challenges of the future at Melbourne Design Week

Metahaven, Eurasia (Questions on Happiness), 2018. Installation view at Institute for Contemporary Arts, London, 2018. Photo: Mark Blower.

Compelling, innovative and awe-inspiring; Melbourne Design Week is back for its third edition. The 2020 blockbuster edition features its largest program since its inception in 2018, with more than 300 events across 11 days.

A highlight of the design calendar, Melbourne Design Week brings together the best of the industry across the globe to a unique experience of 85 exhibitions, 94 talks, 15 films, 22 tours and 16 workshops that link creativity with business and community.

This year’s theme asks the undying question: ‘How can design shape life?’ explored through five thematic pillars: Healthy Cities, Design Cultures, Waterfront, Waste and Design Evolution.

These programs dive deeper into gripping topics: from understanding how urban living and city scapes provide economic, social and cultural opportunities; how design champions diverse cultural practices; discovering the waterways ecological and recreational values; a deep focus on climate change and waste; and ultimately how design will transform our ways of the future.

The Hidden City. Image courtesy of Richard Sowada and the Melbourne Design Week Film Festival.

Melbourne Design Week is curated for inquisitive conversation, game-changing ideas and future-forward thinkers that imagine the ways design will shape life and foster the growth of humankind in the present and future state.

A celebration of a growing industry, some of this year’s highlights will showcase internationally renowned keynote speakers and an award-winning architecture studio on the roster.

Francis Kéré. Image courtesy of Kéré Architecture.

Francis Kéré

Berlin-based architect Francis Kéré won the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2004 after receiving remarkable recognition for his first ever building. A year later, he established his practice Kéré Architecture and has completed projects across Africa, Germany and the United States, which has led to a multitude of awards to his name.

In 2009, he was honoured with the Global Prize for Sustainable Architecture; in 2010, he received the BSI Swiss Architectural Award; this year he took home Gold at the 2020 Global Holcim Awards; and presented with the Arnold W Brunner Memorial Prize in 2017. His Serpentine Pavilion, built in 2017, titled him as the first African architect to design the annual architectural spectacle – inspired by the symbolism of the tree as a communal meeting point in his birthplace, Burkina Faso in West Africa.

Debbie Millman. Photo: Catalina Kulczar-Marin.

Debbie Millman

Creative polymath, Debbie Millman is a designer, author, education, curator and host of the podcast Design Matters. Over the show’s 14-year history, Millman has interviewed nearly 500 artists, designers and cultural commentators that have shaped the success of the podcast that it is today.

In 2011, Design Matters won the esteemed Cooper Hewitt National Design Award and four years later, received the title as one of Apple’s best overall podcasts on iTunes. Millman has received immense recognition for her illustrations from publishing powerhouses such as The New York Times, New York Magazine, Design Observer and Fast Company.

NMBW Architecture Studio

Established in Melbourne in 1997, NMBW Architecture Studio explores spaces that emphasise urban engagement and culturally specific design. Directors, Marika Neustupny, Lucinda McLean and Nigel Bertram have developed an analytical and research-based approach to architecture to foster the firm’s growth and success. The award-winning studio has won both the Harold Desbrowe-Annear Award and the John Phyllis Murphey Award – the most prestigious residential architecture prizes in Victoria.

Bas van Abel. Image courtesy of Bas van Abel.

Bas van Abel

Innovator, founder and CEO of social enterprise Fairphone, Bas van Abel redefines the way we experience and understand the impact of smartphones in our everyday life. Based in Amsterdam, Fairphone is produced with minimal environmental impact – mitigating ‘conflict minerals’ such as gold, tin, tantalum and tungsten that are used in the mobile production process.

Abel sees a time where smartphones contribute to the conversation of sustainability and dedicates himself to creating products that are centred on design longevity, fair labour conditions and ethical practices for a better, brighter future.

Earth. Image courtesy of Richard Sowada and the Melbourne Design Week Film Festival.


Melbourne Design Week runs from March 12-22 2020.

For more information on dates, programs and events, head over to the official Melbourne Design Week 2020 website. 

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