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Design Canberra Festival: What you need to know

Calum Stenning

It’s Canberra’s premier design event – a festival of ideas, creative ventures, architecture and fine design, which will take place across Canberra over the next month.

Here’s a taste of what’s on offer at Design Canberra 2016.

Remembering Robert Foster

This exhibition is a celebration of the life of designer-maker Robert Foster, who tragically passed away earlier this year. Included will be around 50 handmade works, and archival documents provided by his family. Here is a closer look at the exhibition.

Opens Thursday 27 October from 9am | Actew AGL, Bunda St., Civic


Youth for a Liveble Cebu: Francis Sollano

Youth for a Liveble Cebu’s Executive Director, Francis Sollano, brings a small-scale exhibition of jewellery made from recycled metal and plastics. The jewellery is made as part of the Youth for a Liveble Cebu community outreach program, based in Cebu city in the Philippines.

Opens Thursday 3 November from 6pm | The Crucible, Craft ACT, London Circuit | Free

Beauty Matters with David Trubridge

Sustainable designer David Trubridge talks about the culture of beauty throughout history, how important it has become in today, and how he ties this to his design philosophy and manufacturing process to reduce his environmental impact.

Thursday 24 November, 6.30pm-8pm | Ainslie Arts Centre Main Hall, Elouera St. | $15/$10 for Craft ACT members | Tickets through TryBooking

Design in the Contemporary World with Giovanna Massoni

Giovanna Massoni is a design festival curator and guru. She’ll be taking the podium at the National Gallery to speak about why design matters to us in the modern world.

Saturday November 19, 2pm-3pm | National Gallery of Australia, Parkes Pl. | $20/$15 for Craft ACT and NGA members | Tickets through TryBooking

Shaping the Industries of the Future with Marcus Westbury

Marcus Westbury speaks about the evolution and sustainability in arts, design and creativity, and what it means for local communities and economies.

Friday 4 November, 7pm-8.30 | Vibe Hotel, Rogan Pl | $15/$10 for Craft ACT members | Tickets through TryBooking 

Open Studio: Tom Skeehan

Local industrial designer Tom Skeehan has been going from strength to strength, with his work being utilised in businesses and homes alike. He’ll be hosting an open studio, an opportunity to see behind the scenes of one of the fastest rising stars of Australian design.

Saturday 29 October 11am-4pm |16 Lonsdale St., Braddon | Free


Keynote: Philip Vivian

Architect Philip Vivian delivers his Keynote address. Attendees can look forward to hearing about his inspirations, as well as his approach to balanced design. Also, your ticket includes your first wine, beer, or soft drink, and that ain’t half bad neither.

Friday October 28, 6.30-7.30 | Vibe Hotel, Rogan Pl. | $15/$10 for Craft ACT members | Tickets through TryBooking

Reclaim is an exhibition of functional and wearable pieces, created by designer-makers from recycled materials. The exhibition aims to shine a light on the issue of local sustainability, as well the resource that is waste material.

Opens Thursday 3 November from 6pm | Craft ACT Design Centre, London Circuit | Free

Undercurrent Design Market

This is a unique event for the ACT and surrounding region, and will play host to a variety of contemporary design mediums and styles. At only a month before Christmas, this is an ideal opportunity to get your gifts.

Opens Friday 18 November at 5pm | National Portrait Gallery, King Edward Terrace, Parkes | Free

Contour 556 Public Art Festival


Contour 556 brings installation art in a variety of mediums to the Canberra landscape, examining the relationship between art and space.

Saturday 22 October, All Day | Lake Burley Griffin, Central Basin to Kingston Arts Precinct | Free | Info:

Rolfe Classic BMW Open Day

BMW celebrates 100 years of automotive design, and invites all into their showroom to get an insight into what the next 100 years hold.

Saturday 29 October, 10am-3pm | Rolfe Classic BMW, Botany St., Phillip | Free



One for the kids, this public installation is designed to excite and inspire, with parkour workshops, stories in the trees, urban farming workshops and much more!

Saturday 29 October, 10am-4pm | Haig Park (End of Lonsdale St.), Braddon | Free

Impact Comics

What medium combines typography, graphic design, illustration, iconography and writing? Comic books, of course! The world of the comic book runs far deeper and wider than many know, and an open-air market in Garema Place in the perfect place to find something new you never knew you loved. There will be everything from zines and artworks to clothing and music.

Sunday 20 November, 11am-4pm | Garema Place, Civic | Free | Info:

Living Rooms

If you, like me, love seeing how others arrange their homes, then this feature of Design Canberra will be your favourite. A number of homes will be open across Canberra, with an array of artwork on display at each (much of it for sale…). See more of the featured living rooms here (link).

Running on various dates throughout the festival. See website for details



the essentials

What: Design Canberra Festival
Where: Various venues across Canberra
When: Thursday 27 October – Friday 25 November


Calum Stenning

Calum Stenning is Her Canberra’s newest and most male (read: only) intern. Three years spent living overseas has given him a renewed appreciation for Canberra life. Every day starts with coffee and the Sydney Morning Herald crossword at a favourite coffee haunt, as he is wary of the perils of dementia, and thinks crosswords are a viable safeguard. If he lives to a dementia-appropriate age (evidence says he won’t), he’ll let us know. More about the Author

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