Sydney Design Festival 2019

‘Sydney Design Festival’, curated and produced by the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) branches out across Sydney from the city to the west from 1 to 10 March. Leading designers from Australia and around the world will respond to the theme ‘Accessing Design’. Designers are invited to broaden the definition of design and collaborate across disciplines and cultural divides.

Visitors will have the opportunity to explore the processes, functions and narratives within the field of design across a varied program of events including tours, workshops, exhibitions, panel discussions, markets, open studios, podcasts, keynote presentations, installations and symposiums, film and more.

The festival kicks off on Friday 1 March with a talk by prize-winning architect Ana Luisa Soares from Fala Atelier, Portugul. ‘Methodic Optimism: fala atelier’ will provide insight into the studio’s intuitive and speculative architecture practice. Presented in partnership with School of Architecture, University of Queensland.

Fala, Elephant Factory. Courtesy Fala Atelier, Portugal and Sydney Design Festival

On Sunday 3 March industry thought leaders from the disciplines of the built environment, arts and culture will come together at Hassell Studio Sydney in Millers Point for a panel discussion on ‘Places people love: Arts & Built Environment’, mediated by Katrina Strickland.

The Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo will host an interview lead by MAAS Senior Curator Roger Leong, in conversation with contemporary designer Akira Isogawa on Monday 4 March from 6-8pm. Running parallel with the exhibition ‘Akira Isogawa’, which celebrates Isogawa’s 25-year career as a fashion designer, also on show at the museum until 30 June.

As well as ‘Alternative Sensory World: In Conversation with Duncan Meerding’. Furniture and lighting designer Duncan Meerding will share his creative practice and experience as a blind design practitioner with a talk on Tuesday 5 March from 6-8pm. Presented in collaboration with Accessible Arts.

Moving to Wednesday 6 March from 6.30-8pm the Powerhouse is also host to ‘Inclusivity or exclusivity? The role of design in an ever-changing world’, where the function of design in issues of accessibility will be discussed, presented by Australian Graphic Design Association.

Sibling Architecture tackles the issue of aged care and housing in ‘New Agency: Owning Your Future’. This is a participatory research project running daily throughout the festival at Tin Sheds Gallery, Darlington and continues until 4 May.

Celebrate International Women’s Day on Friday 8 March, 6-8pm at the Powerhouse with a lecture exploring the role of art and design in public spaces by festival keynote speaker Rachel Wingfield, the co-founder of the London studio Loop.pH.

The Long Table. Photograph: Jacquie Manning. Courtesy Sydney Design Festival

Join in a collective making process at Parramatta Artist Studios for ‘The Long Table: Weaving Stories’ with the women of The Finishing School Writers Collective and WeAve Parramatta, and over lunch weave together stories and textiles that cross cultural boundaries on Saturday 9 March from 12-2.30pm.

Continue the celebration of women in design at the Sydney Observatory from 9 to 10 March with ‘MAAS Indigenous Design Symposium’, where guest presenters invite participants to learn about Indigenous design practices 60,000 years in the making.

Exhibition highlights include ‘Steel: Art Design Architecture’ – a major display of Australian artists, designers and architects working with steel at Australian Design Centre, Darlinghurst, from 1-10 March.

UTS Gallery, Ultimo presents ‘After Technology’ a group exhibition exploring the intersection of technology and art, featuring artists such as Patricia Piccinini, Julie Rrap and Grant Stevens, until 18 April.  And The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre is showcasing the uniquely Tasmanian Aboriginal cultural practice of making rare and delicate shell necklaces with ‘kanalaritja: An Unbroken String’, on until 20 April.

‘Sydney Design Festival has been running for over 20 years and has played a key role in the evolution of design practice in Australia and across the world. It is the role of festivals such as this to move industry conversations and connections forward. We look forward to learning from, and sharing with, the industry’s leading designers,’ said MAAS Chief Executive, Lisa Havilah.

For the full program of free and ticketed events for Sydney Design Festival 2019 visit

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