Tag Archives: DESIGN Canberra Festival

Construct—with Phoebe Porter

By Wendy Johnson

Phoebe Porter doesn’t have much time to sit still these days. This contemporary designer, who works out of her studio at ANCA, has recently just finished a major exhibition at e.g.etal contemporary jewellery and objects in Melbourne. She’s made a selection of new pieces for Bilk Gallery’s annual Christmas showcase (on until 24 December). She is getting ready to be involved in a project for the National Gallery of Australia to celebrate the work of renowned Australian sculptor Inge King. And she will be hosting an open studio as part of DESIGN Canberra, under the festival’s Living Artists program.

Phoebe Porter_Phoebe Porter_Line earrings

Phoebe Porter_Phoebe Porter_Line earrings

During DESIGN Canberra (21 to 29 November), head to Dickson and meet Phoebe in her studio where you’ll get to connect with the artist and see her work, including pieces from Construct, the name of the exhibition she held in Melbourne.

You’ll marvel at how Phoebe, beginning with her training at art school here in Canberra, has developed a unique working process combining traditional gold and silversmithing techniques with Computer Aided Design and industrial processes. So it’s no surprise her latest collection is called Construct. “I use a combination of traditional techniques such as sawing, hammering, filing and soldiering as well as more industrial techniques such as machining, pressing and anodising,” says Phoebe.

Phoebe Porter_Folded earrings

Phoebe Porter_Folded earrings

The jewellery in Construct plays with contrasts—of colour, material and scale. Bright colours contrast with soft grey tones of stainless steel. Natural materials contrast with machined, manmade alloys. Large elements contrast with small.

“The DESIGN Canberra open studio is an opportunity for me to connect directly with my audience who are often a step away from me when I sell through a gallery or a shop,” says Phoebe. “My studio is not usually open to the public, so this is a rare chance for people to see how I develop my work from start to finish—from design development, through sketches, models and templates, and through  to fabrication of the final pieces.

“Many people have a deep fascination with the tools and processes I use in my studio, perhaps partly due to nostalgia for a time where we made more things by hand. I have a vast collection of tools, including jewellery making tools, vintage workshop equipment and some custom tools I’ve developed specifically for particular designs.”

Phoebe Porter_Cantilever and Cubist rings

Phoebe Porter_Cantilever and Cubist rings

Phoebe believes contemporary jewellery inherently embodies all of the themes of DESIGN Canberra—Connect, Create, Collaborate. “Jewellery is about connections … whether it’s connections between people or connections between different ideas embodied in the work,” says the artist. “Jewellery has another life after it leaves the studio or the gallery when it becomes part of the wearer’s life and narrative. In that way there is a special sort of collaboration between the maker and wearer of a piece of jewellery.”

If jewellery is your passion, you’ll be delighted that Phoebe will be holding a sample sale on the day of her open studio, giving visitors a rare opportunity to buy unusual pieces from her archive—pieces not available elsewhere.

Phoebe Porter_5 Grams and 7 Grams necklaces

Phoebe Porter_5 Grams and 7 Grams necklaces

Besides Phoebe, ANCA (Australian National Capital Artists) will feature several other Living Artists’ open studios in both its locations (Mitchell and Dickson), covering various genres. Oliver Ayrton, Peter Giles, Sui Jackson, Dan Lorrimer, Keith Marshall, Ruth Oliphant and Alice Sutton will host open studios. They’re all free and drop-ins are welcome.

Bettina Hill, ANCA Arts administrator, says the Australian National Capital Artists was built in the 1990s mainly because Canberra didn’t have too many spaces for artists to have their studios. “ANCA was built as affordable, professional spaces where artists can be in a community, so they can work together and get support from each other. That’s what we strive for still today,” says Bettina.

Today, ANCA is home to around 40 artists and it also operates a gallery. DESIGN Canberra’s Living Artists program is about getting you involved and providing you with an opportunity to watch artists create work, discuss pieces and more.

ANCA Living Artists open studios is on Sunday 22 November from 2 – 6pm at 1 Rosevear Place, Dickson (where Phoebe is), and 96 Hoskins Street, Mitchell. For more info and to view the Festival program visit www.designcanberrafestival.com.au


What’s Buzzing in Canberra?

So what’s all the buzz about during DESIGN Canberra? By Wendy Johnson

Big picture, it’s about getting you connecting, creating and collaborating with the capital’s hugely talented artists, architects, craftspeople and designers around ‘all things design’. And that includes the festival’s unique DESIGN Buzz series.

Not quite a lecture and not quite a debate, DESIGN Buzz is an exciting opportunity to discuss big questions facing the world of design. Held over two nights (Monday 23 November and Tuesday 24 November), this is your chance to hear from some of the best in the design industry … experts with a deep understanding of what design means to our everyday lives. What it means for our sense of place. For our future. For our sense of well-being.SONY DSC

So here’s how it works.

DESIGN Buzz features two topics per night and two or three speakers per topic (some local, some from across Australia and some from overseas). Each has a short time to present thought-provoking ideas. Then the moderator throws the discussion open to the audience for a vibrant Q and A session. Craft ACT, which is bringing DESIGN Canberra to the capital, says this year’s DESIGN Buzz is, well, buzzier than ever. It’s designed to be energetic. It’s designed to get you involved.

And the topics you ask?

DESIGN Buzz_ Jeremy Lepisto

DESIGN Buzz_ Jeremy Lepisto

Me → We (Session 1, Monday)

How important is collaboration when creating works for the public realm? How does it work?

Join glass artist Jeremy Lepisto (Canberra) and collaborative partners Lynda Roberts and Paul Gazzola (Victoria) who will explain their approaches to collaboration in the highly diverse and challenging creative sector. Lynda manages the Public Art Program at the City of Melbourne and Paul is an artist and curator.



DESIGN Buzz - LeahHeiss

DESIGN Buzz – LeahHeiss

Living Design (Session 2, Monday)

How can design support a healthy lifestyle? What design tools can we use to improve our quality of life?

Leah Heiss (Victoria), a trans-disciplinary designer whose practice is at the nexus of art, design and science, takes the podium with Dr Liz Format (ACT), Professor of Palliative Care for Calvary Health Care and the Australian Catholic University. Liz’s research focuses on how people with life-threatening or life-limiting conditions and their relatives can find ways to cope.



Placemaking and Culture (Session 1, Tuesday)

Is there an Australian design culture? If so what’s it all about?

Join Lucy Simpson, an Aboriginal artist/designer (NSW) who focuses on storytelling and the narrative in her work, and Professor Jessica Hemmings (Ireland), Professor of Visual Culture and Head of the School of Visual Culture and the National College of Art and Design in Dublin. Jessica writes, curates and lectures about textiles and their role within culture and society.

DESIGN Buzz_Ingrid van der Wacht

DESIGN Buzz_Ingrid van der Wacht


Sustainable Futures (Session 2, Tuesday)

What are the future ways of designing for sustainability—the quality of life for future generations? How can you get involved?

Connector, communicator and collaborator, Ingrid van der Wacht (Netherlands), will be in Australia to talk about design as a driver for innovation, economic growth and sustainable thinking. She’ll join Peter Cumming (NSW), founder of Sustainable Futures Australia, who works with local communities on creating sustainable housing.


DESIGN Buzz is far from a passive event. Design is all around us. Learn more. Have your say.

The Buzz: Monday 23 November and Tuesday 24 November 2015 at Ainslie Arts Centre from 7pm. More info at www.designcanberrafestival.com.au

Tom Skeehan’s Stellar Exhibition!

TomWendy Johnson chats with Canberra furniture maker and designer Tom Skeehan about his craft and upcoming first solo exhibition Thought – Process at the DESIGN Canberra Festival.

You may not realise it, but chances are you’re already familiar with the work of industrial designer Tom Skeehan. Been to the new XO restaurant in Narrabundah? The chopsticks were designed and produced by Tom’s studio called Skeehan. Been to 86 in Braddon to dine? The stools are by Skeehan. Same with some of the café stools at Barrio. Skeehan also worked on the fitout for Remedy Espresso Bars.

Stools by Skeehan

Stools by Tom Skeehan

Beyond the world of wining and dining, Canberra toasts Skeehan for being the first from the ACT to be signed by prestigious Stylecraft, which gives the studio instant access to local, national and international buyers of meticulously designed and produced furniture, lighting and other interior products. Skeehan’s new collection, Hoshi, a Japanese word meaning (loosely) ‘star’, is also available for viewing at his first solo exhibition at Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre. Tom is an Accredited Professional Member and Thought – Process, which officially opened last week, is a sneak peek to the quality of design you can expect throughout the upcoming DESIGN Canberra festival (21 to 29 November).

Thought - Process Exhibition by Tom Skeehan

Thought – Process Exhibition by Tom Skeehan; image by Charlie White

Skeehan studio specialises in commercial furniture, lighting and product design. The Hoshi collection includes a single seated chair, three-seater lounge, coat stand and side table. Working with his hands is in Tom’s blood. His dad is a furniture maker and carpenter who has lived in Canberra for 40 years. “I grew up drawing and tinkering on the job site,” says Tom, who has a drawing by Alex Lundy of his dad’s wooden mallet on his Facebook page.

Skeehan in workshopWhen it came time to study, Tom landed at the Canberra Institute of Technology in the art design program. He then worked with mentor Craig Harris making fine furniture for two years in a workshop in Fyshwick. “I realised I was a maker at that stage, and not a designer, so I went to the University of Canberra to study industrial design,” says Tom. “After a short stint in Sydney I set up Skeehan.”

Thought – Process is all the more fascinating because it includes a ‘process wall’ showcasing the design journey from initial sketches to polished products. Material samples, tools and prototypes all inform the experience.

“The process our studio goes through to create a product involves a series of formal stages,” says Tom. “I think the most important stage, and the one I enjoy the most, is prototyping. This is when an idea is at its biggest and when you’re constantly refining it and pushing the limits.” Tom is currently in Denver, USA, to teach a furniture design class at Metropolitan State University, but he’ll be back in time for DESIGN Canberra.

Process Wall

Process Wall

For the festival, Tom will host a special workshop for children aged 8 to 12 years to open up exciting visual journeys into the world of design drawing. During Drawing our City Tom will get kids exploring, through drawing, some of Canberra’s most exciting architectural elements and next up, the kids can extend their sketches by building simple objects with paper.

Avi Amesbury, Craft ACT CEO/Artistic Director, says DESIGN Canberra increases awareness of our vibrant and diverse craft and design community. “Thought – Process and the children’s workshop offer opportunities for audiences to engage direct with the creative process,” says Avi. “The festival is all about connecting, creating and collaborating.”

Thought Process Exhibition, photo by Charlie White

Thought Process Exhibition by Tom Skeehan; photo by Charlie White

Thought – Process is on throughout DESIGN Canberra (free to the public and drop-ins welcome). Drawing our City is on Saturday 28 November at Craft ACT from 1 to 3pm. It’s also free but bookings are essential (online at craftact.org.au). Check out the full program at www.designcanberrafestival.com.au

See Canberra’s Living Artist Exhibition … by bus!

In less than two weeks, Canberra’s biggest ever design festival gets underway. If you haven’t yet trawled through the 70 events on offer during DESIGN Canberra, now’s the time. Planning is the name of the game here, so you don’t miss out on something you really, really want to see. By Wendy Johnson

One of the five segments of DESIGN Canberra is the Living Artists program. This gives you exclusive insights into the innovative work of some of our best artists and design firms. How? These creatives are throwing their doors open to the public and letting you into their world. This segment is so popular that DESIGN Canberra has put on two guided bus tours—of interest if you can’t be fussed driving all over the place. They’re a bargain at $25 (but book early as places are limited). On Saturday 21 November you tour from 11am to 3 pm and on Sunday 22 November 10 am to 1pm.

Jenni Martiniello's glasswork studio

Jenni Martiniello’s glasswork studio

Lisa Cahill, Cascade #2, 2013. Image: Greg Piper. View at The Hayshed

Lisa Cahill, Cascade #2, 2013. Image: Greg Piper. View at The Hayshed

Saturday’s tour includes Canberra Glassworks, housed in the historic Kingston Powerhouse and Australia’s only cultural centre wholly dedicated to contemporary glass. This studio is currently home to glass artists such as Jenni Martiniello, Brian Corr, Emilie Patteson, Melinda Willis, John White and Nikki Main. The Hayshed in leafy Pialligo is where three professional artists work. Lisa Cahill and Kirstie Rea use glass as their primary medium. Julie Ryder has been working in textiles for 25 years and exhibits nationally and internationally. The next stop on Saturday is M16 Artspace, a studio and gallery complex in Griffith. M16 features the work of 15 artists who create across jewellery, textile design and mixed media visual arts. 



Sunday’s bus tour takes you to Workshop Level, a studio built by Mel George and Jeremy Lepisto to make custom glass projects for themselves and others. Mel is also the curator at Craft ACT. Then it’s over to Curtisglassart where Matthew Curtis and Harriet Schwarzrock work in a studio at the back of their home—predominantly with molten glass making sculptural work for exhibition. Next up is Six Wiluna, a shared workshop established by director Elliot Bastianon and housing artists Luke Batten, Andrew Carvolth, Nicholas Harper and Sam Ryrie. Here you’ll see furniture, gold and silversmithing, and sculpture.

Workshop Level Open Studio: Jeremy Lepisto, Further from Here, 2015. Image: Paul Foster

Workshop Level Open Studio: Jeremy Lepisto, Further from Here, 2015. Image: Paul Foster

And last, but not least, it’s off to Queanbeyan to visit Pocket Studio, run by gold and silversmith Alison Jackson. Alison has just finished her first solo exhibition, Table Tools, at Craft ACT, and has also completed a CO-LAB project with renowned designer maker Jon Goulder. The pair made Cheese Companions for Agency in Braddon. At Pocket Studio you’ll see Alison’s jewellery and tableware.

Copper Vessel by Alison Jackson; photo by Angela Bakker

Copper Vessel by Alison Jackson; photo by Angela Bakker

DESIGN Canberra is an initiative of Craft Act: Craft and Design Centre.

Visit the website and stay with Lost Four Words for more coverage of what you can expect during this massive festival.


Capital Culture—Exclusive Tours!

With more than 70 activities rolling out over nine days, it’s a tad tricky deciding what to do during the upcoming DESIGN Canberra festival (21 to 29 November). My advice is to study the program and map out a plan so you don’t miss anything that tickles your fancy. When I say map out a plan I mean it, remembering that most tours take place on specified days. Some are free and require no bookings, others are free but bookings are essential, and others are ticketed tours. So take an exclusive tour on the Tours of our Beautiful Cultural Capital! By Wendy Johnson.

The festival is divided into five segments, one of which is ‘Capital of Culture Tours’. See Canberra in a new light through eight exclusive guided tours of architectural and cultural landscape around the city, led by designers, architects and artists.

GMB05—GMB Architecture Canberra Airport Tour: View of Central Atrium. Image: Rodrigo Vargas

GMB05—GMB Architecture Canberra Airport Tour: View of Central Atrium. Image: Rodrigo Vargas

My bet is that one of the most popular will be the exclusive walking tour of the award-winning Canberra Airport. This free tour includes ‘airside’ facilities and operations not usually available to the general public. Wander through the magnificent central atrium, iconic entrance, landscaped courtyards and hear about the marvellous artwork. The tour is on 21 November and bookings are a must since it’s restricted to 20 people.

The pop-up Public Theatre, inspired by the design of the classic Greek Theatre, will bring life to Civic Square for two weeks as part of DESIGN Canberra. Lots will happen in this unique space, including The Public Talk: Conversations about our city by Cox Architecture (22 November). The future evolution of our city’s spaces and buildings—a topic close to the heart of many Canberrans—will be explored at this free gathering. This is your chance to discuss what will happen as your city grows, reaches towards the lake and undergo significant urban development. Bookings essential by 6 November.

Westside01—Cox Architecture Westside Acton Park Tour: Daytime Opening. Image: Rodrigo Vargas

Westside01—Cox Architecture Westside Acton Park Tour: Daytime Opening. Image: Rodrigo Vargas

Westside Acton Park—Australia’s first pop-up shipping container village—has drawn its share of praise and controversy. Get behind the scenes with Cox Architecture on this free walking tour (28 November) and learn about the development of Westside. After the tour, linger and enjoy market stalls and street food.

Civic from helicopter—Image by Cox Architecture

Civic from helicopter—Image by Cox Architecture

We all know that Canberra is one of the few cities in the world to be designed and built specifically for use as a national political capital. But how much to you know about the key architectural landmarks in the designed landscape, and the work of John Smith Murdoch and his contribution to the early vision? The free Designed Capital tour starts at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House and concludes at the historic Hyatt Hotel Canberra (21 November and 22 November). And the National Portrait Gallery will host free 45-minute architectural walking tours throughout its public spaces (various times) during DESIGN Canberra.

Embassy of Sweden—Image courtesy of the Embassy of Sweden

Embassy of Sweden—Image courtesy of the Embassy of Sweden

A free guided tour and architectural lecture will be held at the Embassy of Sweden, which recently re-opened after extensive renovations by Guida Moseley Brown Architects. The restored Embassy (originally completed in 1951) shows the value and importance of heritage buildings. The tour is free and bookings essential.

If you’re fascinated by the world of horticulture you’ll appreciate the free Inside the Archives tour (21 November). Held at the National Archives of Australia, this is a rare change to explore the horticultural aspects of Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin’s vision for Canberra. See the original plans drawn up by the Griffins, which show how sensitive they were to the physical features of the national capital site.

Archit-Schools06—Archi-SCHOOLS: Tuggeranong Introductory English Centre at the Wanniassa Hills Primary School by May & Russell Architects. Image: Kiernan May

Archit-Schools06—Archi-SCHOOLS: Tuggeranong Introductory English Centre at the Wanniassa Hills Primary School by May & Russell Architects. Image: Kiernan May

The ArchiSCHOOL tour, run by the Australian Institute of Architects on 28 November, is a rare opportunity to tour some of Canberra’s specialist education facilities. Learn about the design behind each facility and how they support educational outcomes. There’s a full-day bus tour ($45, including lunch) if you’d like to explore all four sites. Tours will be held by May and Russell Architects, Daryl Jackson Alastair Swayn and Guida Moseley Brown Architects. You need to book in advance since numbers are limited.

For more information on Capital Culture Tours, including locations and times, explore the full festival program at http://designcanberrafestival.com.au/

Vogue Living in the Palm of your Hand!

Two Canberra designers are finalists in prestigious Vogue Living Alessi design prize. Scoop by Wendy Johnson

We’ve all been there. Struggling to meet and greet at a function while delicately balancing an entrée in one hand, valiantly trying to avoid dropping the food and making a fool of yourself. Well, a cracker of a design by two Canberra talents is the solution.

‘Company vessels’ are pressure-moulded stainless steel vessels, curved and scaled to fit in the palm of your hand. They’re perfect for serving entrées and are the brainchild of two designers making the capital proud for being named finalists in the prestigious Vogue Living Alessi design prize (Emerging Designer).ACTivate Nellie_Peoples-TomkinsPeoplesWoolfe_001

TOMKINS + PEOPLES are in the running for the collaborative project between designer-maker Nellie Peoples and industrial designer Sam Tomkins. ‘Company vessels’ reflect the design team’s passion to make beautiful, functional objects that play a role in bringing people together, including when sharing food.


“Through the vessel we explored the possibilities of a new food utensil,” says Nellie. “The design evolved from the desire and need to greet each other while holding food. When not held, the vessels are designed to form a pattern, to come together like those who surround it.”

The ‘Company vessels’ project was supported by the $2,500 prize awarded to Nellie and Sam at last year’s DESIGN Canberra Festival—Design + Craft Award for their Fusion: the art of eating vessels. The finished products can be bought at Agency in Braddon (Craft ACT’s retail shop).


Nellie earned an architecture degree at University of Canberra (UC) before studying gold and silver-smithing at ANU School of Art. She now produces innovative jewellery and metal objects. Sam completed his Bachelor of Industrial Design at UC and now teaches there. His designs focus on improving the user experience. The pair met in a Design Technology class at Daramalan College. They’re a cohesive team and create intelligent objects that celebrate each of their disciplines and skills, and their ability to communicate and collaborate has taken them to new places over many years.

TOMKINS + PEOPLES will participate in the 2015 DESIGN Canberra Festival, this time with Mathew Woolfe, a cook and landscape designer. TOMKINS + PEOPLES + WOOLFE will host a pop-up shop bringing together design and degustation. They’ll explore why people gather around food. Going beyond the collection and display of objects, the pop-up explores how food and the experience of sharing a meal is a context for great design. It’s all part of DESIGN Canberra’s aim to celebrate and promote the capital’s vibrant and diverse design community, including by putting the community in direct touch with the designers and artists who play such an important role in our everyday lives.attachment (2)

Although Nellie is now living in Queensland, the pair continue to work together. If they win the Vogue Living Alessi design prize, they’ll be able to present their design to Alessi, a housewares and kitchen utensil company in Italy, which will evaluate them for possible inclusion and production in its highly regarded collections.

DESIGN Canberra kicks off on 21 November and will roll out nine days of exciting events and activities. More than 70 activities are included in the festival program, including many that are free.

The program is available at www.designcanberrafestival.com.au

Living the DESIGN in Canberra

by Wendy Johnson

It’s not every day you get to pop into the studio of an artist and absorb how they think, design and work. But DESIGN Canberra is your chance to connect, create and collaborate with some of the capital’s best artists, designers and craft practitioners. DESIGN Canberra is the capital’s most significant design event. The festival starts in just a few weeks, offering close to 70 activities involving more than 750 participants (21 to 29 November).

Hong Kong House by Guida Moseley Brown Architects. Image provided by company

Hong Kong House by Guida Moseley Brown Architects. Image provided by company

This year you have a rare opportunity to visit no fewer than 17 Living Artists open studios and workshops, and meet talented designers who work in fashion, jewellery, textiles, glass, furniture, sculpture, wood working, functional objects and architecture. Some studios are owned and operated by one artist or design firm. Others, like ANCA, M16 Artspace, Canberra Glassworks, Six Wiluna and Workshop Level, house up to 35 artists in a collective of sorts.

You can visit all studios and working spaces for free. Most are open for one day during the festival, during set times. Some welcome drop-ins and others require bookings so it’s wise to check out the website to map out what you don’t want to miss. In the meantime, here are some teasers to tickle your fancy.

The Hayshed Open Studio: Julie Ryder, Me, Here, and You, There, 2011. Image: courtesy artist

The Hayshed Open Studio: Julie Ryder, Me, Here, and You, There, 2011. Image: courtesy artist

Take a short jaunt to leafy Pialligo. The Hayshed is throwing open its doors to visitors and hosting informal floor talks by its three professional artists—Lisa Cahill, Kirstie Rea and Julie Ryder (22 November). Lisa and Kirstie use glass as their primary medium, and Julie has been a professional artist for more than 25 years and exhibits nationally and internationally (some of her work is also available through Agency in Braddon).

FINK Open Studio: Water Jug. Image: DMC Photography

FINK Open Studio: Water Jug. Image: DMC Photography

F!NK + Co’s workshop tour (21 November) will showcase intriguing demonstrations on how artists and designers form unique and distinctive products. F!NK is one of a handful of design companies that solely manufactures in Australia. First recognised for its distinctive Water Jug, which is now a true Aussie design icon, the company also produces high-quality homewares, lighting and jewellery.

Workshop Level is glass artist Jeremy Lepisto’s professional studio, which he operates with his partner in life Mel George (who also curates the exhibitions at Craft ACT). On 21 November you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at the methods and materials these two reputable glass artists use to create custom glass projects for art and architecture, as well as their personal artwork.

In the mood to indulge in a bit of fabulous fashion? The Australian National Capital Artists (ANCA) will host an open day on 22 November at both campuses, home to 35 visual artist studios covering all genres, including jewellery and clothing. At Leafy Studios and Heavy Duty Studios, you can watch artists create work, discuss pieces and even try new techniques yourself.

In Motion collection: Alice Sutton (designer) from Edition, Photographer Andrew O'Toole

In Motion collection: Alice Sutton (designer) from Edition, Photographer Andrew O’Toole


At ANCA, fashion designer Alice Sutton, of the independent label Edition, will be on hand with pieces from her stylish collections, each exploring the meaning of place. Award-winning contemporary jeweller, Phoebe Porter, will also be on site. Phoebe hand makes earrings, necklaces, bracelets and rings primarily with titanium, stainless steel and aluminium. These are refined, elegant pieces, and each a work of art.




On 27 November, you can drop by Cox Architecture for a chat and learn about the firm’s projects and the daily practice of architecture and design. This is one of Canberra’s most awarded architectural practices. Its 45 hugely talented staff—who all believe that nothing beats a great idea, even if it’s just a sketch on the back of a coaster—work from Kingston Foreshore.

Staying in the world of architecture, you can take one of two tours on 27 November of the offices of Guida Moseley Brown Architects, a multi-award winning architectural, interior and urban design firm carrying out an international practice from the capital. You’ll be guided through a display of building and urban design and master planning projects and talk to the design team about significant projects like the Canberra Airport and amazing structures overseas, including in Botswana, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Other studios sharing their world in the Living Artists segment of DESIGN Canberra are Six Wiluna (furniture, gold and silversmithing and sculpture), Alison Jackson (jewellery and tableware), Matthew Curtis and Harriet Schwarzrock (sculptural work and functional objects), Canberra Glassworks (featuring the work of eight glass artists), M16 Artspace (jewellery, textile design and mixed media), Harris Hobbs (award-winning landscape architecture projects), Myles Gostelow (furniture), Rob Henry Architects and De Rome Architects) and Studio 103 (architecture).

Constructivist earrings – long yellow by Phoebe Porter. Aluminium, stainless steel, 925 silver Image: Andrew Sikorski

Constructivist earrings – long yellow by Phoebe Porter. Aluminium, stainless steel, 925 silver. Image: Andrew Sikorski

DESIGN Canberra is an initiative of Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre. The 2015 Festival is bigger and better; running across nine days (including two weekends), and has something for everyone—young and old alike.

Check out their website, Facebook Instagram and Twitter

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.