Style & Design

11 Events You Need To Catch At This Year’s Melbourne Design Week

By Ioana Dragnef
12th Mar 2019

Australia’s leading annual international design event is back in full force for another year of eye-opening content. Melbourne Design Week 2019’s theme is 'Design Experiments' and will explore all the amazing ways design can help shape our future with over 200 talks, exhibitions, tours, workshops, and more.

There are a lot of events to catch, so if you need a little help narrowing it down, we’ve compiled a list of some of the highlights of this year’s event.

Don’t have a panic attack when you scroll through the entire line-up. Just make sure to book your spot, as a lot of events (not on this list) are already booked out.

Welcome To Wasteland Exhibition

Plates made from lettuce, a jewellery box from blood and furniture made from coffee: could you see yourself using these items in your everyday life? Australia’s leading designers highlight how practitioners are creatively approaching the issue of waste. So if you're having trouble picturing yourself eating from a lettuce plate, then you might need to give this exhibition a go.

What: Welcome to Wasteland Exhibition
When: Friday 22 March 2019, 6-9 pm
Where: Compound Interest, 15–25 Keele St, Collingwood
For more info, click 

Toxic City? Symposium

Virtual floods, smart highways and smog-sucking towers; Daan Roosegaarde pulls technology out of the screens to examine and activate solutions to improve daily life in urban environments. In his interactive talk, Roosegaarde will explore the social role of design and the importance of ‘Schoonheid’ (a Dutch word meaning both beauty and cleanliness), along with his vision for the future.

What: Toxic City? Symposium
When: Tuesday 19 March, 2:30pm–6pm

Where: NGV International Great Hall, 180 St Kilda Road
For more info, click here.

Relics Of The Future

A fascinating and light-hearted look at the way we perceive life and embrace modern advancements, Relics of the Future is a documentary featuring internationally renowned photographer Toni Hafkenscheid. Dive into hidden stories behind iconic architectural structures once considered “Visions of the Future” from the 1960s and see how far along we've come.

What: Relics Of The Future
When: Lido: 15 March and 20 March / Classic: 17 March and 19 March, 7 pm
Where: Lido Cinemas, 675 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn or Classic Cinemas, 9 Gordon St, Elsternwick
For more info, click 

But First We Eat

If you’re a design-loving foodie, this one’s for you. But First We Eat is a ceremonial feast showcasing the ancient technique of baking food encased in clay, alongside an exhibition of the work of local designers including Jia Jia Chen, Claire Lehmann, Claudia Lau, Alison Frith, Andrei Davidoff, Kate Jones, Tessy King and Tobias Bolton. Note that bookings required for the design dinner.

What: But First We Eat
When: 14 to 24 March, Wednesday until Sunday, 11am–3pm
Long Division Gallery, Schoolhouse Studios, 81 Rupert Street, Collingwood
For more info, click 

Fair Exchange

The Fair Exchange is like the stock exchange but for books—think loud buzzers, bartering book lovers and adrenaline. Fair Exchange invites attendees to bring a book to exchange for another book drawn from a curated selection from exhibiting 2019 publishers and to engage in bartering with other participants. Sounds like a lot of fun, if you ask us. Just don’t forget to bring your books.

What: Fair Exchange
When: Friday 15 March (6–9pm), Saturday 16 March and Sunday 17 March (12–4pm)
Where: NGV International Great Hall
For more info, click 

Symposium: Graphic Fashion

What is fashionable about graphic design, and what does graphic design contribute to fashion practice? This symposium features international and Australian practitioners whose work blurs the line between fashion and graphic design, as well as hybrid practices that bridge publishing, contemporary art and music. See you there.

What: Symposium: Graphic Fashion
When: Thursday 14 March, 11:30am–5pm
Where: NGV International, Clemenger BBDO Auditorium
For more info, click 

Design Talk Series: In Conversation with Lee Broom

Lee Broom’s designs are known for taking classical styles and reinterpreting them in new ways and with an unexpected edge. Join the discussion with leading UK designer Lee Broom, in which he shares his views on the experimental nature of design and how this has influenced his path from actor to fashion designer.

What: Design Talk Series: In Conversation with Lee Broom
When: Thursday 14 March, 6pm–9pm
Where: Space Furniture, 629 Church Street, Richmond
For more info, click 


A visually stunning exploration of place and space that explores architecture and cityscapes, Invention captures the play of shapes, designs, forms and textures of the modern city. A great film that will put a different spin on everything we perceive as familiar.

What: Invention
When: Lido: Saturday 16 March, 2pm / Classic: Saturday 23 March, 2pm
Where: Lido Cinemas, 675 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn or Classic Cinemas, 9 Gordon St, Elsternwick
For more info, click 

Homo Sapiens

Empty spaces, ruins, cities increasingly overgrown with vegetation and crumbling asphalt—a little reminiscent of Rone’s latest installation, Homo Sapiens is a film about the finiteness and fragility of human existence and the end of the industrial age, and what it means to be a human being by examining now abandoned locations.

What: Homo Sapiens
When: Lido: Sunday 17 March and Saturday 23 March, 2pm / Classic: Sunday, 24 March, 2pm
Where: Lido Cinemas, 675 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn or Classic Cinemas, 9 Gordon St, Elsternwick
For more info, click 

Forgotten Ecologies of Birrarung

Join a 12-kilometre bicycle tour exploring the oft-forgotten ecologies of the Yarra River, stopping along the way to meet with experts for a conversation about its future. The tour starts in Richmond at the former Burnley Basalt Quarry and finishes in the west at Stony Creek with a short journey across the last Punt in Melbourne. Bring your own bike and helmet. Bookings required.

What: Forgotten Ecologies of Birrarung Bike Tour
When: Saturday 16 March, 10am–1pm
Where: Burnley Quarry, Richmond
For more info, click 

Sensory Experiences

The list of creatives contributing to this sensorial immersion is not made up of your typical design players—think Executive Chef of Vue de Monde, the engineers behind Sydney Opera House and many more. Guided by Sense Whisperers (they’re less scary than they sound, we promise), you’ll wander through a series of live and uniquely designed corporeal experiences that’ll undoubtedly send shivers down your spine.

What: Sensory Experiences
When: Sat 16 March, 2pm–10pm
Where: Norla Dome, The Mission to Seafarers Victoria, 717 Flinders St
For more info, click 

If you're looking to be blown away, check out Rone’s transformation of an abandoned art deco mansion.

Image credit: supplied 

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