Melbourne Design Week

More than 300 exhibitions, installations, talks, tours and displays are filling the NGV and beyond with creativity for this design celebration's eighth year.
Sarah Ward
Published on May 23, 2024


What do you want the world to be? That question has always sat at the heart of design, and Melbourne Design Week knows it. Accordingly, for its eighth year, the National Gallery of Victoria-led event is going all in on the notion, with 2024's 300-plus exhibitions, installations, talks, tours and displays focused on the theme "design the world you want".

The possibilities are virtually endless from that prompt, as Melburnians can discover around the city between Thursday, May 23–Sunday, June 2. The works, symposiums and chats within the program break down the theme further, contemplating design in relation to energy, ethics and ecology, plus how they can bring about change — covering the use of new technologies and renewables, reflecting society's values and working in harmony with nature,

At the NGV alone, attendees are spoiled for choice. If you need some fuel for your Melbourne Design Week jaunt, the One-Stop Bug-Shop has you covered — it's a vending machine dispensing alternative snacks made from insects, including candied mealworms and corn chips made from crickets. Future foods are also one of the discussion topics, alongside Nigerian architect Tosin Oshinowo chatting about approaches to architecture in urban environments, a symposium in advance of the NGV's upcoming Reimagining Birrarung: Design Concepts for 2070 exhibition, and talks from Design as an Attitude author Alice Rawsthorn and The Story of Art Without Men scribe Katy Hessel. And, for the 11-day duration of the festival, Melbourne Art Book Fair is also back.

Tobias Titz

Elsewhere, the Melbourne Design Week Film Festival awaits, with flicks such as Squaring the Circle: The Story of Hipgnosis, about the design studio behind some of the most-influential album cover art to ever grace record sleeves — and so does the Open House Melbourne-presented satellite program Design and Death, which considers the interplay between the two concepts right there in its name, including via touring Bunurong Memorial Park.

Exhibitions galore, pet furniture with multiple functions that can be used in small spaces, a parkland reimagined through cake, mapping out Melbourne's coffee culture, a mobile garden roaming the streets, the work of First Nations glass artists, showcasing Japanese design from the 50s onwards: you'll find them all on the lineup as well.

Exploring the interiors of toilets, the return of The Big Design Market and a chat with Universal Everything's Interactive Creative Director Joel Gethin Lewis about ACMI's Beings exhibition also sit on the clearly jam-packed program. And, if you need more highlights, you can hit up everything from a workshop on indie games and a panel at the Melbourne Planetarium about living beyond the earth through to The Huxleys diving into their work and Living Light immersing you in the glow from bioluminescent bacteria.

Installation view of 100 Circles, presented by Revival Projects, on display from 23 May–26 May at Warehouse 2, Revival Projects, in Melbourne Design Week 2024. Photo: Tim Carrafa.

Top image: Installation view of Squiggles and Cubes, presented by Meagan Streader and Billy Horn, on display from 23 May—2 June at The Tie Factory as part of Melbourne Design Week 2024. Photo: Sean Fennessy.


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