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Useful Objects opens with ‘Desire x Design’ at Melbourne Design Week

Useful Objects has just opened its doors and has a notable exhibition, ‘Desire x Design,’ coming as part of Melbourne Design Week.

Useful Objects opens with ‘Desire x Design’ at Melbourne Design Week

Marlo Lyda, photograph by Zan Wimberley.

Located at 47 Easey Street, Collingwood in Melbourne, Useful Objects is a new gallery space conceived as a platform for innovative designer-makers. It is set to introduce its inaugural exhibition, ‘Desire x Design,’ as part of Melbourne Design Week (MDW) from May 15th to June 15th, 2024.

The roster of talent featured at the gallery’s opening exhibition reads like a who’s who of Australia’s design scene: Elliot Bastianon, Danielle Brustman & Edward Linacre, Jordan Fleming, Lisa Gorman, Trent Jansen, Jay Jermyn, Marlo Lyda, Joanne Odisho, Marcus Piper and Dean Toepfer. Each of these designers brings a unique perspective and approach to their craft, promising an eclectic and thought-provoking showcase.

Danielle Brustman & Edward Linacre, Meteorite (past iteration).

At the heart of Useful Objects’ mission is a commitment to telling compelling stories through objects that challenge traditional notions of function and materiality. Dr. Simon Maidment, the founder and gallery director, envisions Useful Objects as more than just a retail space but as a dynamic hub for dialogue and exploration within the design community.

Related: Map out your Melbourne Design Week with these 12 highlights

“I am pleased to introduce Useful Objects, a new model for the presentation, advocacy, learning and purchase of collectible design in Naarm/Melbourne,” says Simon Maidment. “Having identified a gap in the market, Useful Objects establishes a unique designer-gallery partnership that encourages a deeper commitment and benefits for designers and industry. By showcasing and contextualising the work of these vital and dynamic groups of makers, who I believe are shaping Australian art and design history, the gallery invites reflection on how we see, appreciate and interact with design.”

The theme of the inaugural exhibition, ‘Desire x Design,’ probes the complex interplay between human desires and the objects they covet. Through a diverse array of materials, ideas and forms, the featured designers explore the multifaceted nature of desire and its role in shaping our world. Divided into two halves, the exhibition first critiques the pervasive influence of consumerism on design, then pivots to celebrate desire as a potent source of meaning and transcendence.

Each designer brings their own distinct perspective to the theme. Elliot Bastianon’s works bridge human-centric design with the natural world, while Danielle Brustman & Edward Linacre infuse their creations with theatricality and nuanced color palettes. Jordan Fleming embraces a responsive approach to materiality, allowing her designs to evolve organically, while Lisa Gorman’s sculptures pay homage to the timeless art of weaving.

The exhibition also serves as a testament to the diverse voices shaping contemporary Australian design. From Trent Jansen’s storytelling through objects to Marlo Lyda’s acts of reconstitution and Joanne Odisho’s exploration of sustainability, each designer offers a unique lens through which to view the world.

Useful Objects aims to foster ongoing dialogue and engagement with the design community through a robust program of exhibitions and events. ‘Desire x Design’ is just the beginning of what promises to be an exciting journey of discovery and innovation in the world of collectible design.

‘Desire x Design’ will run from May 15th to June 15th, 2024, as part of MDW.

Useful Objects


Next up: A pop of light by Studio Zachary Hanna in collaboration with Mud Australia

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