*notcot in design , 13:32

Design in Melbourne- 07.24.06

Guest Post by Lucy Feagins - The Melbourne Design Festival is only a baby. It’s in its second year, and is still very limited in size and scope. You certainly wouldn’t want to compare it to international festivals. However, it’s always fun to see new work showcased, so if you can resist the urge to make comparisons to the ‘World Class’ events happening in Milan, New York, London etc… then there’s still inspiration to be found in little old Melbourne. It was fun to have a list of (mainly free) forums, lectures, workshops etc to attend all over town, as well as the usual product/trade exhibitions… and any design festival has to be better than no design festival!

Under Capricorn was billed as ‘the new design show’, described by the festival as ‘displaying high-quality newly released products and materials, showcasing emerging design businesses, creating a village atmosphere… a trade event with a difference’. [Lots of pics below!]

The exhibition was staged very nicely in temporary pavilions in Federation Square – it wasn’t massive but there was a good mix of exhibits. Two designers that stood out were Geoffrey Mance (lighting design) and Pluscreate (a Melbourne industrial design team who showed TS1 – a prefab modular kit room).

Geoffrey Mance

Geoffrey Mance designs lights. On show were ‘Mary’ - flocked chandeliers in bright colours, and the ‘Hedgehog’ lights – a spherical hanging light made up of a tightly woven tangle of tee tree and hawthorn tree sticks.

It’s worth downloading the product catalogue from his website to see some slicker, less quirky designs, including

Knuckle – a very cute little lamp on an industrial metal arm with a bendable ‘joint’. This cute lamp has found a home in a few of Melbourne’s super trendy bars/restaurants including Melbourne Wine Bar and FOG (pics on the Geoffrey Mance website).

Slim Remote - fluorescent tube lights in various fun colours which are customisable and attach to a hidden fitting only at one end, allowing the tubes to hang vertically.

Halo - a contemporary uplight which sends a halo of changing coloured light onto the ceiling.

Pluscreate (additional link here)

The most notable exhibit though was Pluscreate’s prototype for ‘TS1’ (Transportable Space 1) – a prefab modular kit room (more info here). The room measures 3.5 x 3.5 m with a ceiling height of 2.4m, and is constructed from a steel skeleton base upon which pre-fabricated solid panels are fixed. The room itself has a really lovely feel inside - the interior wall panels are timber, and one entire wall of glass windows really brings the outside environment in.

TS1 is designed to be delivered flat packed and apparently can be put together by two people in one day without the use of any heavy equipment etc. It is planned to be available for sale in September with a price point around the low AU$20,000’s – I don’t know if that’s more or less than a home extension would cost, but the idea of popping up a home office/studio/guest room in your back garden in a weekend seems pretty cool!

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