Timothy Moore and Megan Patty of NGV

Melbourne Design Week (MDW) is back and this year participants have been asked to respond to the theme 'Design the world you want.’ The 11 day program of talks, tours, exhibitions and workshops explores the concept creatively and pragmatically, presenting both real and imagined outcomes across a kaleidoscope of disciplines including: communication design, industrial design, service design, gaming, architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, fashion, craft and functional art.

We spoke with Curator of MDW and NGV Design and Architecture, Timothy Moore and Founding Curator of the Melbourne Art Book Fair (MABF) and NGV Head of Publications, Photographic Services and Library, Megan Patty. Timothy has assembled a snapshot of his recommendations for unmissable MDW program elements which touch on established and emerging architects and designers, while Megan shares her thoughts on the importance and relevance of the ever-popular Melbourne Art Book Fair.

First we asked Timothy to highlight seven of his favourite events from this years program. With over 300 to choose from, this was no easy task;

1. Melbourne Design Fair - Curated by the National Gallery of Victoria and delivered in collaboration with the Melbourne Art Foundation. The Melbourne Design Fair showcases the best of limited edition and collectible design in Australia and further afield, with over 200 designers and 60+ booths. It includes new commissions by five leading women designers, a display of emerging talent from across Australia, and a showcase of Italian Radical Design Movement protagonist Gaetano Pesce's recent work in urethane resin which is being presented in a two-part exhibition with Neon Parc.

2. Workshop 01 - Presented by Misc Objet and New Assemblage. Melbourne Design Week displays the ecology of design from the most established to the up-and-coming. Held in a former car showroom on City Road, the Workshop 01 exhibition hosts emerging designers including Bobby Corica (Sguscio Studio) and Ed Cook (Copy Nature Office), who hold a unique perspective on objects that we hold close to us.

3. Particular Architectural Issues - Presented by Monash University Art, Design & Architecture. The next generation of Melbourne-based architects - including Architecture Associates, JDH.A, LIAN, Resistance Transmission, Simulaa, and Trower Falvo Architects - are holding roundtable discussions at NGV's Community Hall about issues that matter most to them: cost, care, responsibility, trust, clients, and Gods.

4. 30 Years of Tait - Presented by Tait. Tait has built a reputation as one of Australia's top contemporary design houses exploring outdoor living. For MDW it is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a new collection, an exhibition curated by Marsha Golemac and a collaboration with Agency and Numbulwar Numburindi Arts that repurposes the ghost nets and other ocean debris across Northern Australia.

5. Perspectives | Cultural Vocabularies with cave_bureau - Presented by Collective Futures and The Australian Institute of Architects. Nairobi-based architects cave_bureau explore the postcolonial African city through drawing, storytelling, construction, and resistance. Kabage Karanja and Stella Mutegi will be in Melbourne for a presentation of their work at NGV's Community Hall; they'll also be participating in the Perspectives exhibition at the Testing Grounds Emporium at Vic Market.

6. The Future of Food - Presented by NGV and Telstra. Explore the future of food with eco-activist and entrepreneur Joost Bakker over a tasting menu that investigates eco-farming, radically circular food waste innovation, bug-laden proteins and artificial meats.

7. Redesigning the Housing System - Presented by Assemble Papers. Leaders in the field of housing, including those from Women's Property Initiatives, Super Housing Partnerships, and YWCA, come together with Assemble Papers to engage in a conversation about how we can redesign our housing system towards creating fairer, stable, and more equitable homes.

We also spoke with Founding Curator of The Melbourne Art Book Fair (MABF), Megan Patty and asked her a few questions before getting her 2023 program highlights;

Open Journal (OJ) | How does the MABF contribute to the art, design and publishing narrative in Melbourne and Victoria?

Megan Patty (MP) | Founded in 2015, the Melbourne Art Book Fair has become a highlight publishing event for art and design imprints in the region. The Fair assists to both platform and connect publishers to a diverse audience in Melbourne. During its time, the Fair has seen connections made by artists, designers, publishers with counterparts around the world alongside the production of new imprints, projects and collaborations.

OJ | What can patrons expect from the Stallholder Fair and can you touch on some of the emerging imprints who are brand new to MABF this year?

MP | The past 9 years have seen growth in the sector despite recent challenges and publishing feels more vital than ever with over 40% of Fair stallholders being new to the event in 2023. We have a New Zealand focus for the first time, featuring titles from Auckland Art Gallery, Christchurch Art Gallery, Enjoy Contemporary, Gloria Books, Hot Lunch and more.

Megan’s highlights from the MABF program include Print Kitchen, a workshop by emerging artists Artek Halpern-Laurence where you can make your own etching print and Resistance in Indigenous Design, a lecture exploring how indigenous designers have continually resisted attempts to classify and constrain their practices, producing expansive projects that open an ethical relation to Country and community.

Megan also suggested reviewing the satellite program of the Fair which is on until May 28th with venue hubs around Melbourne and Regional Victoria. In Melbourne, venues with talks, events exhibitions and book launches include the Centre for Contemporary Photography in Fitzroy and Bookshop by URO at Collingwood Yards. A highlight of the regional program is Castlemaine Art Museum which will host its own MABF event on 27th and 28th May within the 1931 heritage-listed art deco building.

Special thanks to both Timothy and Megan – we are looking forward to getting to as many of your suggested events as possible. Interview compiled by Tiffany Jade.