DESIGN Canberra Festival, 4 - 24 Nov, 2019

October 18, 2019 / By Rosie Stevens

Plastique Fantastique’s Twin Minigagarin Plastique Fantastique’s Twin Minigagarin

Who knew that alongside all its other Festivals, Canberra also plays hosts one of the standout events in the country’s design calendar—aptly called DESIGN Canberra?

Running from 4 - 24 November, DESIGN Canberra shines a spotlight on creative excellence, with a program encompassing all manner of design elements across many of the city’s most iconic spaces, including  cultural institutions, museums, galleries, arts centres, universities, studios and workshops. Connect with designers and artists,  witness experimentation with new ideas and be inspired across the city. Here are my top, unmissable picks from this years program.

Opening Party and Auction: 8 November
Celebrate the first weekend of the 2019 DESIGN Canberra festival with an epic opening party that will showcase experimental lighting design, plenty of live music plus local wines, beers and cocktails and a whole lot more. 

The ticketed event at the heritage Fitters Workshop  gives you the chance to bid (using an online system) on a range of artworks by established and emerging Canberra designers, artists and makers. It’s the perfect way to start what is set to be an awesome festival!

John Andrews, Cameron Offices (photo Greg Davis @exploredvisions) John Andrews, Cameron Offices (photo Greg Davis @exploredvisions)

Plastique Fantastique
A key highlight of the 2019 DESIGN Canberra festival will undoubtedly be the work of Berlin-based design team, Plastique Fantastique. The duo has created a platform for temporary architecture which 'samples the performative possibilities of urban environments'. DESIGN Canberra will welcome two installations by the team—the ultra-futuristic Twin Minigagarin in the atrium of Canberra Airport, and the well-travelled installation MEDUSA in Commonwealth Place. Program details will be announced closer to the date, so keep your eyes peeled!

Living Rooms
If you’re someone who loves having a nosy inside other people’s beautiful homes, the Living Rooms exhibit is for you. Here, DESIGN Canberra is taking you through the keyhole into some of Canberra’s most acclaimed and finest houses, where you’ll also be able to look at some works on sale by local artists, craft practitioners and makers. It’s the perfect way to appreciate the quality of design available in our own backyard!

Ever fancied handcrafting ceramics or trying your luck at a spot of parquetry? Well, DESIGN Canberra is offering you the chance, via a range of workshops created to provide an interactive and authentic festival experience. There’s currently hand carving and freestyle hand stitching workshops available for booking, with more to be added in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

Undercurrent Design Market
If you struggle to find Christmas presents for your nearest and dearest, DESIGN Canberra has you covered. Their Undercurrent Design Market at the beautiful National Portrait Gallery is the perfect place to pick up unique gifts for the festive season whilst supporting the local design industry at the same time. Winner!

Pop Inn Wine Bar
The Pop Inn by Wine Bar Co. is Canberra’s first pop up wine bar, serving delicious drops of the good stuff and stunning share plates in an architecturally innovative and beautiful setting. Their aim is to ‘pop up’ at Canberra’s under-utilised locations, so you’d better believe they’ll be at DESIGN Canberra. Keep an eye on their website for exact dates, then head on down to sample just another of the city’s inspired new food and wine picks!

Design Diplomacy
As part of an ongoing partnership with Helsinki Design Week, Design Diplomacy has become a signature event in the DESIGN Canberra line-up. The events are a series of public conversations held in the sumptuous residences of ambassadors’ and high commissioners. Essentially, the events see a design professional from the hosting country meeting with a Canberra designer in a new card game in which playful and intelligent questions challenge both the speakers and the audience to reflect upon design as a part of  'intercultural exchange'. Fun!

Open Studios
Open Studio’s gives Canberran’s the chance to step into the studios of Canberra’s designers and makers to purchase a range of gorgeous items straight from the makers themselves. Think contemporary handmade ceramics, furniture, textiles, glass and a whole lot more!

We think you should know: The Weekender's travel guides are independently written by real travellers. We do not receive any money from, or have a sponsorship arrangement with, any of the entities listed in, or referred to in this article.

So much more to explore - Canberra