The second Melbourne Design Fair presented a vibrant tableau of modern Australian design. The fair balanced aesthetic allure and thoughtful discussion by showcasing a dynamic array of contemporary and collectible designs.
May 24th, 2023
This year the Melbourne Design Fair has blossomed into a premier showcase of contemporary and twentieth-century collectible design, more than doubling in size from its first iteration in 2022.
This year, the fair showcased more than 150 designers and over 60 exhibitors. These encompassed established design agencies, commercial galleries, organisations, studios, and emerging talent. The inclusion of a new segment dedicated to contemporary jewellery in 2023 underscored a commitment to broad representation.
Most notable in this year’s fair was the focus on quality, diversity, and the highly collectible nature of the designs on display. Each piece, whether a one-of-a-kind item, a limited edition masterpiece, or a small batch production, demonstrated the vision and craftsmanship of its creator.
Particular highlights included a section curated by the NGV entitled Discovery and dedicated to promoting and selling work by emerging designers and makers. A literal and figurative platform for fresh voices to be seen and heard.
Another NGV-curated highlight was Focus, which drew attention to the work of five accomplished Australian female designers and makers. On display at Focus was the work of Paula Savage (pictured below), who was awarded the AUD$5,000 Melbourne Design Week Award 2023, presented by Mercedes-Benz.
Savage is a senior Mualgal artist from Moa Island in the Torres Strait and is renowned for her ability to bring to life the enduring traditional material practices of her cultural heritage. Savage’s new body of work on show in Focus represents her most ambitious work to date. Drawing upon her skills and knowledge as a weaver, she places her cultural practice in the dynamic context of contemporary design.
NGV director, Tony Ellwood, says, “Melbourne Design Fair is a vital platform for the visibility and viability of Australia’s design industries. After the challenges of the past few years, events like this offer real, tangible support to our sector – and especially to local designers, makers and studios. The NGV is proud to be partnering with the Melbourne Art Foundation on this important initiative and to share Australia’s design talent with an even greater audience.”
The Melbourne Design Fair is an integral part of the Melbourne City Revitalisation Fund, a significant partnership between the Victorian Government and the City of Melbourne, emphasising the importance of the fair in contributing to Melbourne’s cultural vibrancy and economic growth. The NGV Department of Contemporary Design and Architecture also supported the fair – further reflecting the fair’s vital role in Melbourne’s broader cultural and economic landscape.
Melbourne Design Fair
Lillie Thompson and Sean Fennessy
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