Design Anthology, Australia Edition, Issue 4


This year, Melbourne Design Week opened in late March with an overwhelming program of some 300-plus events, exhibitions, talks and tours. My Design Week itinerary officially kicked off a few days prior, but on the Friday evening as I walked to the Friends & Associates event at Meat Market Stables, enjoying the unusually balmy weather and a dramatic sunset, I was reminded of the same opening evening last year. It felt surreal to think that everything was different then, just a year ago, with none of us knowing that the world was about to drastically change. This year was a vivid and stark contrast to last, and while Melbourne’s design community might still be recovering from pandemic setbacks and disruptions, the optimism in the air was intoxicating.

I think it’s safe to say that Melbourne Design Week, in a year of few other physical events or major international expositions, was a beacon of hope for many, and represented what the future of Australian design can be — and the future of Melbourne itself. This energy was perhaps best exemplified by the group exhibition and research project A New Normal, spearheaded by Ross Harding of Finding Infinity, which challenged the very fabric of how the cities we inhabit are designed and constructed. You can read more about this ambitious initiative on page 144.

While the new year may not have brought with it the change we wanted, it has perhaps moved the focus towards the changes we need. A growing concern of mine, one I’m sure many share, is that the pandemic has taken our attention away from the multiple issues our planet faces and the role design can play. In the words of British design critic and author Alice Rawsthorn, shared during a conversation hosted by local design agency Neil Hugh Office (NHO), ‘I hope that design will continue to prove its worth as a powerful agent of change that can help us to address complex challenges, from the deepening climate emergency and refugee crisis to systemic racism and the collapse of social justice.’

Until next time.

Inside the issue


A curated round-up of our favourite new fashion, lifestyle and home products with a focus on Australia and New Zealand

Design-Led Wellness
Byron Bay lifestyle brand BEAR is founded on reverence for nature and the ethos that wellness is the greatest luxury

A Day in the Life
We spend a day with interior designer Yasmine Ghoniem, founder of Sydney-based YSG Studio

Brisbane-based architecture firm NIELSEN JENKINS is becoming known for residential projects that celebrate the possibilities of raw materials

Studio Culture
We take a look inside the Darlinghurst home and studio of Henry Wilson

Restaurant, Melbourne
At new Chinese restaurant Jishan Garden, 19th-century architecture, swathes of light grey and minimal Ming-inspired furniture set the scene for a subtle, special experience


Milawa Gourmet Region
With its natural landscape backgrounding wineries, farm-to-table restaurants and bucolic accommodations, Milawa Gourmet Region is an experience in slow travel

Mitchelton Estate, Victoria
Mitchelton Estate’s status as a top wine, food, art and architecture destination is furthered with the addition of new accommodations in the form of five Airstream RVs

Photo Essay
Rachel Mataira’s painterly aerial photographs of New Zealand reveal the diversity of the country’s vast landscape


Artist Zoë Veness explores material intricacies that straddle and question design and art

Architectural Ceramics
We survey the work of five Australian ceramists whose sculptural works evoke architecture and the built environment in miniature


With Darling Apartment, Blair Smith Architecture proves that a revamped multi-residential property needn’t be any less characterful or personal than a new build

North Canterbury
Set in a rural landscape, this New Zealand home marries material and location to create a minimal but warm space

Design firm Studio Martin created a warm, tactile material palette in this architect-designed residence

Sarah Roach took a sensitive, practical approach to expanding this heritage-listed Federation home to fit the needs of a growing family

This home was renovated according to the belief that a successful addition contributes to a home’s quality without sacrificing its original character


Bushfire Architecture
Research architect Ian Weir advocates shifts in behaviour, lifestyle and building norms to accommodate the increasing threat of bushfires in Australia

Sustainable Cities
At this year’s Melbourne Design Week, Finding Infinity’s Ross Harding and a fleet of leading architects laid out a realistic game plan for Melbourne 2.0: an environmentally self-sufficient city for the very near future

The Flâneur

The Changing City
A flâneur is an urban explorer — a connoisseur of the street. In our rotating column, guests share their musings, observations and critiques of the urban environment in cities around the world. In this issue, Hong Kong-based Wellingtonian Elizabeth Beattie takes a look at the iconic Cuba Street from the vantage point of Mount Victoria.

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