Canberra’s Festival of Design—by Wendy Johnson

In just over a month, the most significant design event held in the capital will get you connecting, creating and collaborating with artists and creatives. Wendy Johnson has all the info on the DESIGN Canberra Festival.

Capital of Culture_Cox—Westside; image Rodrigo Vargas

Capital of Culture_Cox—Westside; image Rodrigo Vargas

The annual DESIGN Canberra Festival will roll out its exciting program from 21 to 29 November, with close to 70 activities and involving more than 750 participants. The Festival is massive and there’s something for everyone and all ages, with most events and activities free to the public. And this year, DESIGN Canberra will be bigger and better, rolling out over nine days, including two weekends.

So what is DESIGN Canberra about? It’s about putting you in direct touch with Canberra’s creative excellence. Managed by Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre the 2014 event is divided into five event streams.

ACTivate_Lazy Sunday—Image courtesy of designer

ACTivate_Lazy Sunday—Image courtesy of designer

ACTivate—Explore an ACTivated Canberra CBD through pop-up exhibitions, installations, studios and shops featuring the diverse work of some of the capital’s most innovative designers.

Capital of CULTURE—See Canberra in a whole new light through exclusive guided tours of architectural and cultural landscape around the city, led by designers, architects and artists.

DESIGN Buzz— Engage in vibrant discussions on big ideas, creative thinking, design for social change, and Canberra’s urban future through unique conversations and a lecture series.

Living Artists— Gain exclusive insights into the innovative work of some of Canberra’s best local artists and design firms through tours of their inspiring studios and working spaces.

Exhibitions— Experience exciting art, craft and design through exhibitions hosted in Canberra’s premier galleries.

Events will pop-up in every corner of the city, with drop-ins welcome for many. DESIGN Canberra is also teaming up with cultural institutions, arts centres, museums, galleries, universities, design centres, studios and workshops. So what’s on offer? Well, here’s a taste.

Tim ‘Rosso’ Ross, one of Australia’s finest comedians, will bring his touring show ‘Man About the House’ to DESIGN Canberra for one night only, to the iconic Shine Dome by Roy Grounds. With musician Kit Warhurst and through storytelling and song, Ross will take you on a journey and leave you cheering.

Living Artist_ANCA—Folded earring by Phoebe Porter; image courtesy designer

Living Artist_ANCA—Folded earring by Phoebe Porter; image courtesy designer

ANCA (Australian National Capital Artists) will have an open day across its two campuses—Leafy Studios at Dickson and Heavy Duty Studios in Mitchell—featuring the work of 35 visual artists, including jewellery designer Phoebe Porter, emerging artist Sui Jackson, who specialises in hot glass, and woodworker Peter Giles. This is your chance to engage with these local artists, watching them work, discussing their creations and perhaps even trying some techniques yourself.

Rolfe Classic BMW and boyandgirlco have teamed up for a unique exhibition that will see spare car parts, sample leather pieces and unwanted wooden pallets transformed into one-off pieces of furniture that will be auctioned off to raise money for a local charity.

A unique exhibition at Craft ACT—Discover define develop deliver—will give you an insight into a creative’s mind. Twenty-nine local artists will display a signature piece of their artwork alongside an item that illustrates the thought process behind design, whether it be a page from a sketchbook, an inspirational image or written notes.

Capital of Culture_GMB—Canberra airport; image Rodrigo Vargas

Capital of Culture_GMB—Canberra airport; image Rodrigo Vargas

Public tours will be held by some of the capital’s best architect firms and experts, such as a walking tour through the public spaces of the National Portrait Gallery (with the gallery’s Krysia Kitch), the pop-up village at Westside Acton Park (with Cox Architecture), and the award-winning Canberra Airport, including some areas not normally accessible by the public (with Guida Moseley Brown Architects and the airport’s Richard Philips).

You can also visit Pavilion X, a site-specific temporary design intervention in Garema Place and have your say on how you like to use public space and what you hope for the future of Civic. Or you can join in the community workshop being held on top of Red Hill Lookout, with Karina Harris and Neil Hobbs. What are your thoughts about safety issues for wildlife, pedestrians, cyclists and traffic on Red Hill? What are your views on how this precious, urban space can be used?

Living Artist_Harris Hobbs—Open Studio; image courtesy designer

Living Artist_Harris Hobbs—Open Studio; image courtesy designer

DESIGN Canberra also gives you a chance to visit open studios of a diverse range of local designers to meet them, chat about their work and see where and how they create their fashion, jewellery, glasswork, homewares and more … like Claudia Owen, Lazy Sunday Home, Alison Jackson, Daniel Hadiwibawa, and many designers who operate from Canberra Glassworks.

ACTivate_Claudia Owen—Alchemy Silk Scarf; image courtesy designer

ACTivate_Claudia Owen—Alchemy Silk Scarf; image courtesy designer

The DESIGN Canberra website is being updated with info on this year’s festival activities in the next week or so. Keep your eye out for the distinctive pink and yellow DESIGN Canberra program that will be distributed for free through Canberra’s best cafes, shops and cultural institutions around the end of the month. You’ll want to study the program carefully and check off everything you want to explore. Some events and activities are open every day of the festival with others open at select times, and some are not-to-be-missed, one-off events.

For more information check Design Canberra website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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3 thoughts on “Canberra’s Festival of Design—by Wendy Johnson

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