Not Quite Over Yet!

Circuit by Milly sleeping is still on until this Sunday, don’t miss this fantastic show across three locations, check out some pics below.

VON Dress


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Until we MIDF again

And just like that, the MIDF has wrapped for another year. It was all over so quickly! I feel like I’ve been running/biking/tramming all over town to see what the participants in this year’s festival put forth, but it was most definitely worth it.

Personal highlights included…

the Underground x 4 exhibition at Tongue and Groove – it was a great example of how beautifully designed objects can transform a space beyond recognition!

… meeting designers such as Bonnie So and Jansen Lye and talking to them about their Pop-ups. This is This isn’t is a concept that will be on my mind for a while to come – the idea of re-purposing designed objects for other uses, rather than designing something using brand new materials.

… The Design on Toast Breakfast Series event featuring Chloe Quigley of Michi Girl fame, and pioneering brand strategist Stanley Johnson. It was a casual conversation-style forum about what effective branding has evolved into in this day and age, and it was a relaxing start to a cold July morning. Watching the sky lighten through the trapezoidal windows of BMW edge at Fed Square was a delight. (Note: I was slightly disappointed that there was no actual toast, or indeed any other breakfast foods or beverages, provided at this event. But, that’s just me.)

… and the Studio Open day, where local design studios opened their doors to allow fellow design practitioners and students in to ask questions, network, and learn about each other’s businesses. Although we may be in competition, it’s important to maintain relationships with contemporaries and to learn from each others successes, failures, and office layouts! On a side note, Studio Open participants and independent publishers Ripe Off The Press have just been confirmed as finalists in this years Telstra Business Awards, and after visiting the lovely studio of these two passionate women, one can see why they deserve such an award!

On one of my many visits to Fed Square over the course of the festival, it was sad to see some broken and vandalized plastic bubbles amongst the Index Award – Design to Improve Life exhibition. But overall, just looking at the turnout to the Melbourne Design Market and the queues of people keen to participate in Open House proves that Melbournians love their yearly dose of design festivities. I don’t know the data on 2008s festival patronage compared to previous years, but I think that MIDF 2008 has shown that Melbourne is happy to patronise events like this if they were to happen more frequently. At the very least, the Market might reconsider the design and layout of its stalls – for the benefit of shoppers and stressed-out stallholders alike!

See you next year!

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Open House part 2 – Plaza Ballroom

by Lucy Feagins

The Regent Theatre’s Plaza Ballroom in Collins st

Another ‘better late than never’ post I’m afraid! These shots are from the Regent Theatre’s Plaza Ballroom, also on show as part of the recent Open House event in Melbourne’s CBD.

The ballroom, built in 1929, is lavishly decorated in ornate Spanish Colonial style – features include an indoor fountain, curved ‘Juliet’ balconies, bronze chandeliers, highly decorative faux windows (backlit to simulate moonlight!) and ornate handpainted ceilings (pictured below). A little kitsch, but utterly breathtaking.

Incredibly, the Plaza Ballroom as it stands today is a complete restoration of the original, which was destroyed by fire in 1945.

I just discovered another lovely photo of the Ballroom, and a collection of very sneaky photos of the Open House Capitol Theatre tour on a blog called the grapevine. Read the text too – very funny!

ornate detailing with a Spanish influence

Intricate decorative patterns on the ceiling (top image) and even in the carpet! (bottom image). Apparently parquetry flooring is laid over the top of this carpet when required. Big job!

Gargoyles guard the exit

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Open House – CH2

by Lucy Feagins

mechanical timber shutters on the facade of Council House 2 in Melbourne

Better late than never with this one… sorry, I took the Open House tour of Melbourne CH2 (Council House 2) building over a week ago (July 20th) and am only getting around to posting about it now… aaaggh. What can I say – it’s been a busy fortnight! Anyway… thought it might interest Melburnians to see some shots inside the stunning Council House building. Over 25,000 people turned out on the day to take a peek inside 9 of Melbourne’s most famous buildings… the queues around were INCREDIBLE! Many waited around 2 hrs at some locations… jeepers. It’s fantastic that so many people braved the cold to learn a little more about some of Melbourne’s architectural masterpieces… but next time I think it might be wise to allocate viewing times and tickets in advance!

Those in the know will be aware that CH2 is the first purpose built office building in Australia to achieve a 6 green star certified rating. This rating is a measure of the building’s energy and water efficiency, quality of environment and resource conservation. It seems every detail has been considered in achieving this rating – special ‘night-purge’ windows open every evening to allow the night breeze to naturally cool the interior of the building… a water-mining plant in the basement treats and recycles water for washing, cooling and watering of plants, and the striking facade of louvered timber shutters track the sun to control the temperature of the building. More detail here.

I was most impressed with the incredible rooftop garden – those lucky council employees get to eat their lunch up there everyday… aghh! Beautiful.

CH2 facade

CH2 stunning sculptural reception desk on the ground floor
CH2 rooftop garden
view from the top…. ahhhh!

interior – the ‘wave’ shaped ceiling maximises air flow and makes heating and cooling more efficient. Those ‘radiator’ looking things on the ceiling are actually chilled ceiling panels, circulating cold water to absorb radiated heat from occupants and equipment. The concrete ceilings also absorb excess heat.

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Takeaway Thonet

by Tess McCabe

18 Chairs are captured and waiting for the final verdict, which you can help decide, by visiting the exhibition which ends on Sunday.

Should you wish to purchase a chair you can visit the Thonet Showroom 237 Napier St, Fitzroy and bid on the cheque books displayed.

Alternatively you can just enjoy the varied interpretations of this brief by 18 exciting design practitioners.
For more information on any of the designers or the project visit the website!

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The Guild Project.

by Una Cruickshank

Jewellers Neil Balthasar and Ewan Tremellen, calling themselves The Guild Project, have opened their exclusive Bourke Street workshop to the public for the first time. Although the pair, who have worked together since 2000, have occupied the space for three years, they have only now installed showcases where ready-to-wear items can be viewed. The pair had previously worked almost exclusively on commission, and say they were thrilled with the opportunity to create new pieces for public viewing under the auspices of the MIDF.

Both designers specialise in large, bold pieces, many of which are set with richly coloured semi-precious stones. As Balthasar explains, the use of semi-precious stones allows for large-scale designs, which simply wouldn’t be achievable for a designer working with more conventional materials like diamonds. Semi-precious stones also come in a huge variety of unusual forms – for example, the ball of tourmalated quartz which adorns one cocktail ring in the collection almost looks man-made. Shot through with tiny needles of black tourmaline, it certainly grabs the attention.

The Guild Project is located at 2A/190 Bourke Street, Melbourne.

Phone 03 9662 9877.

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Screen Savers – Aludean

By Tess McCabe

If you ever find yourself in the position where you live in a property that is without internal walls (I wish this were a more common problem), then please don’t despair. The folk at Aludean have your privacy issues covered.

Aludean is Lu Skacej and Dean Colls, trained sculptors with a wealth of design and construction training behind them. Their aim is to create sculpture that exists outside of the gallery environment – and their folio includes commissions from retail, residential and public spaces.

As part of the Design Festival, Aludean are now releasing six new screen designs along with a “user friendly” modular concept that builds on their philosophy of involving the end-user in the design process.

You can see their beautifully designed screens in the context of an uber-hip lounge or bedroom setting at Hub Furniture Lighting Living, 63 Exhibition Street, Melbourne. 10am-5.30pm Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm Saturday (cost: free).

Now where is my sledgehammer…

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