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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

The Moderns: European Designers in Sydney

An exhibition celebrating Sydney's émigré champions of modernist design.
By Lucy McNabb
July 21, 2017
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The Moderns: European Designers in Sydney

An exhibition celebrating Sydney's émigré champions of modernist design.
By Lucy McNabb
July 21, 2017
  shares

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Sydney is mad for modernism with new exhibition The Moderns: European Designers in Sydney showing a new side of Australian modernism at the Museum of Sydney. Taking place as part of A Modernist Season, the exhibition combines original furniture, design objects and art with photographs from the Max Dupain archive to celebrate and explore the struggles, achievements and influence of the émigré furniture makers, architects and interior designers working in Sydney in the 1930s and 1960s.

Hailing from design centres like Vienna, Budapest and Berlin, they brought with them a direct experience of European modernism — something available to few Australians at that time. Basically, they were a key factor in the growth of modernist design in Sydney, transforming what was a suburban, low-scale city into a modern metropolis. With the obvious exception of Harry Seidler, many of these designers with remarkable European design pedigrees are now virtually unknown — something the exhibition firmly sets out to correct. Guest curator Rebecca Hawcroft says, "Through exploring the stories behind our émigré design community, we are reminded of the richness that migration brings."

The Moderns shows at the Museum of Sydney from Saturday, July 22 to Sunday, November 26, as part of A Modernist Season — an amazing program of talks, tours and exhibitions embracing all things modernist, including the Mad About Modernism mini festival taking place at Rose Seidler House on Sunday, August 27.

Check out the season's full modernist program here.

Lead Image: Mansfield house at 191 Riverview Road, Stokes Point, 1959. © Max Dupain Archives, State Library of NSW.

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