Opening on 15 March, Melbourne Design Week provides an annual celebration of creativity and innovation, drawing links between practitioners, academics, businesses and policy makers in Victoria, Australia. Participants include Marcus Fairs, editor-in-chief of Dezeen, who will present a one-off lecture (21 March), discussing the role design can play in molding the world we live in. This reflects the programme’s overall theme of Design Effects, which seeks to investigate the potential of achieving social change through responsible, environmentally sound artistic and architectural practice.
Many of the events take the form of panel conversations or symposiums, emphasising the importance of dialogue and collaboration. In a forum on Designing the Body (19 March) a range of expert speakers, from sci-fi artists to biomedical engineers, explore the relationship between our anatomy and swiftly changing technology. With the rise of 3D printing, are body parts soon to be reproducible? What is the future of prosthetics, contraception, and even perfume – and to what extent can design help to shape this future?
Returning to the central idea of environmental change, Living with Water: Design for Uncertain Times (20 March) offers an in-depth consideration of the means by which urban architecture can offer solutions to troubling developments such as rising sea-levels, storms, droughts, and floods. Taking resilience as its focus, it features Kongjian Yu, founder of Turenscape, a Chinese landscape architecture firm specialising in flood-adaptive landscapes.
Alongside these events, the annual Melbourne Art Book Fair runs from 16-18 March. With over 150 publishers, artists and designers taking part, it is the largest and most-visited publishing showcase in the Asia-Pacific region. This year, highlights include a keynote on New Narratives (18 March) from Tamar Shafrir, Julieta Aranda and Yolande van der Heide, who considers the ways in which design and publishing can influence social good, and The Plague (17 March), which examines the relationship between contemporary art practice and geopolitical instability. The programming complements its longer counterpart, with an emphasis on sustainability and wellbeing.
Melbourne Design Week runs 15-28 March. Find out more here.
1. Zuster Showroom. Image Courtesy Zuster.