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Ten things not to miss at DESIGN Canberra

Wendy Johnson

With close to 70 events and activities over nine days, it’s a challenge (although a delightful one) to select our top DESIGN Canberra picks. Trust us.

The festival’s program is a whopper. DESIGN Canberra, an initiative of Craft ACT, has come through with its promise to cover all design genres and have something for everyone.

1. Get touring. Eight exclusive Capital of CULTURE design and architectural tours are on offer, each fascinating in their own right. Includes National Archives, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra Airport, Embassy of Sweden, Westside Acton Park, and ‘The Designed Capital’.

2. Get the kids involved. Let the kids go wild playing on the interactive lighting display and jumping on pushbikes during an event hosted by Affinity Electrical Technologies. Watch kids become street artists at the Embassy of Spain. They’ll colour in a large-scale mural based on Manga character Samurai Flamenco.

Embassy of Spain.

Street art at the Embassy of Spain.

3. Explore exhibitions. Fourteen diverse exhibitions are on. Don’t go past the ANU School of Art graduate exhibition and furniture workshop. Summer Swing is on at KIN Gallery. University of Canberra graduation exhibitions (architecture and industrial design) will inspire.

4. Eat at the Quesadilla Bar. M16, an awesome studio and gallery, invites you to visit artists. While there, grab a drink and a bit to east at the Quesadilla Bar. Also check out three M16 exhibitions.

5. Visit Craft ACT. Three must-see exhibitions are on all in one location. ‘Discover Define Develop Deliver’ gives insights into the creative minds of 29 Accredited Professional Members of Craft ACT. ‘Thought – Process’ showcases Skeehan’s new Hoshi Collection. ‘Splash of Colours’ features ceramics made using a Japanese technique of creating patterns with coloured clay.


Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair.

6. Shop up a storm before Christmas. Explore an ACTivated Canberra through pop-up exhibitions, installations, studios and shops (the festival’s second weekend coincides with Christmas in the City). Shop till you drop for jewellery, homewares, fashion, textiles, furniture and more.

7. Experience Designs from the Bush. This is your chance to see incredible work produced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. Buy hand-crafted art, fashion and homewares.

8. Venture into the studios of Living Artist. Seize a rare opportunity to enter 17 working designer/artist studios. Includes architects, landscape designers, jewellers and glass artists.

Ingrid van der Wacht, who will speak at DESIGN Buzz.

Ingrid van der Wacht, who will speak at DESIGN Buzz.

9. Have your say. Book into a Design Buzz session. Two nights, two sessions each night. Hear from international, national and local design experts on stimulating topics and have your say on issues affecting today’s design world.

10. Pick a pattern; pick a colour. Celebrate the official launch of DVANT Designs. This new company specialises in using materials, such as concrete, steel, glass and timber, to create unique furniture, clocks, glass art, wall panelling and more. Customise with colour and pattern selections.

The majority of DESIGN Canberra festival events are free. Most encourage drop-ins; some bookings. Settle in with a cuppa and explore the program. Printed copies available in some of Canberra’s best cafes, shops and cultural institutions. Or online at

This is a sponsored post. For more information on our sponsored post policy, click here

Feature image: Products by Claudia Owen, who will have a pop up at the festival. 

Wendy Johnson

Wendy Johnson graduated with a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, a few decades ago. She’s been living in Australia since 1995, having fallen in love with eucalypt trees and kangaroos. Wendy is passionate about Canberra and all the nation’s capital has to offer. She loves to write (about everything and anything) and owns her own pr and advertising business. More about the Author

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