Rethinking Making Now with a new design

When asked if he thinks the break and changing world of the past two years has changed the way we appreciate and approach design, the writer, editor and creative director of Sydney Design Week, Stephen Todd said: “I think in a very real sense, during those two years designers were really locked in their homes and industrial production pretty much stopped, so there was a lot of time to brainstorm and experiment with new ideas.

Todd said we’re starting to see some of these results play out and they point to an interesting future. Many of these ideas fed into this edition with its theme, Making Now.

Todd has been tasked with shaping the program for this year’s Sydney Design Week – a seven-day program of exhibitions, talks, film screenings and workshops brought to you by the Powerhouse at design centers around the city from September 15 to 22.

The program will set the stage for the future of design.

Stephen Todd, Creative Director Sydney Design Week

The scope is wide, examining trends, but more importantly, the industry nuances shaping its future, across industrial and interior design, graphic design, scenography, restaurant design, fashion and more. Again. “Making Now as an idea could manifest itself in many ways,” Todd told ArtsHub.

“The theme allows us to consider the fact that the makers, which we also called artisans, have been adopted as designers. We have seen the rise of a vibrant design arts sector in this country.

He said the paradigm has changed dramatically over the past two years. “We take this modernist idea of ​​the solitary, often male genius working on a big prototype that will eventually be made by an industrial entity and crack it open,” Todd said.

He added that key to this Sydney Design Week is a celebration of collaboration and cross-pollination.

“I think we’re really in the middle of a generational change. From a fierce embrace to going it alone, today there are many more design duos and collectives that have also emerged across the globe. Fashion and fashion photography were very early with this.

“Sometimes this collaboration takes the form of a dialogue; it’s not just about agreeing with you, but really discussing what design is and could be, now and in the future,” he said.

One of the main drivers of Sydney Design Week 2022 is to get people to meet again, celebrate and discuss; bringing established designers together with young designers in the same room and stimulating dialogue.

Watching the Making Now program

The festival’s keynote speeches will be delivered by Nipa Doshi, Mumbai-born co-founder of internationally acclaimed London design studio Doshi Levien; and Bruce Mau – visionary Canadian designer, author, co-founder and CEO of Chicago-based holistic design collective Massive Change Network.

But it’s on the ground, where programs across bustling hubs will really define this edition of Sydney Design Week.

“It was organized to create buzz in a very targeted way; it’s not a single location, but rather points in a triangle on a map, and within a 10-minute walk of each other,” Todd said.

Todd tapped Emma Elizabeth of Local Design to curate the New Australian Design exhibition, showcasing new work by over 20 Australian designers at Powerhouse Ultimo.

“We’re also doing a new multi-space at Central Station – Eddy Multi Space – a revival of a basement space before it turned into the Atlassian Tech Hub, with a fantastic exhibition by six designers presented by Oigall Projects of Melbourne.”

Todd said more broadly of Australian design, that in the past “it was a very elite team, and a lot of designers were looking to find work overseas”, but that “in this decade from 2010 to 2020, the number of designers who have started making viable careers here in Australia has changed dramatically.

“Now there are local brands, local designers and local production that is visible and viable here. For the recent Dezeen Awards, the long list had many Australian designers, so people are really watching what we do.

“Now you don’t even have to go to Milan to find out what’s happening in design trends,” Todd said, adding that Australian design is “very visible today and a rightful part of a global industry.

Entrance to the Ace Hotel. Courtesy of Ace Hotel.

Another dynamic center of the festival will be ACE Hotel Sydney, with a series of talks and workshops, including a takeover of Foy Lane (next to the hotel) for a weekend of PLAY, led by Karen Black. The lecture series offers a powerful discussion on “doing now”.

Todd added that there is no greater example of manufacturing now in urban space than Parramatta.

“I live in the Blue Mountains and drive or train through Parramatta to get to my Powerhouse office; I’ve watched the tremendous growth there and the great architects commissioned. This is a truly high point in architectural design and built urban space for Australia.

Making Western Sydney – presented at Parramatta – will be a program of walking tours of the incredible architecture shaping this future city, featuring heads of design studios such as Fender Katsalidis, Hills Thalis, Blight Rayner, JPW and Tzannes.

The visit will be followed by an afternoon of public lectures and a live presentation by Parisian architects Moreau Kusunoki with local firm Genton of the new flagship Powerhouse Parramatta. This is a comprehensive yet concise program that will open minds to how design shapes our lives, now and in the future.

Plan your agenda for Sydney Design Week 2022 and browse the programme.
September 15 – 22.
Free and paid events.

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