2013 Sum up

un Sakaguchi and Jeremy Bishop, Emergency shelter, 2013, © Emergency Shelter Exhibition Pty. Ltd.

The cheerful appearance of Florentijn Hofman’s ‘Rubber Duck’ in January 2013 at Darling Harbour bought in the new year in just the right tone and with Hofman presenting at the Powerhouse Museum we were particularly excited. Since then, Rubber Duck has traveled around the world experiencing deflation in Hong Kong and an explosive event, of the literal kind, at New Year’s Eve in Taiwan. The duck is now on it’s second visit, this time to Parramatta kicking off the new year in much the same way as it did twelve months ago.

‘Rubber Duck’ in Darling Harbour in January. Photo by Marinco Kojdanovski

‘Rubber Duck’ in Darling Harbour in January 2013. Photo by Marinco Kojdanovski

Some of us may see it as a memorable year and others may not as the design world to some extent still strives for the same ‘vanity’ heights as it always has – to some in architecture size still counts. The tallest approved building in the southern hemisphere was planned for Melbourne but has since been shelved, while in Sydney we await the development of the tallest hotel/casino development at Barangaroo.

 Hollie Baigent: Vacci Pak

Hollie Baigent: Vacci Pak

After its break, this year also saw the return of Sydney Design 2013. It’s return prompted us to ‘rethink’ the design process and to focus on sustainability and community – to create a more livable world. D*Hub contributed by looking at whether it would be possible for clever design save the world.

Healthabitat designs products to improve the efficiency and health function of existing and new houses. A shower, laundry and toilet

Healthabitat designs products to improve the efficiency and health function of existing and new houses. A shower, laundry and toilet

In a program of exhibitions and talks presented by the Powerhouse Museum and through the ‘Hypothetical: can clever design save the world?‘ debate, the organisers were able to tease out the role designers can play to intervene and disrupt models that are not working. Presenting a panel of eminent designers, business and industry experts the program outlined some of the failures and successes of socially responsible projects and how they can be overcome. Projects discussed were as divergent geographically as in design practice – from the Australian local scene to New Zealand, Indonesia, and other parts of the world. Speakers dealt with issues ranging from how to design architectural solutions and disaster management to how to design systems that can create and ensure the successful delivery of services and innovative solutions. Whether design can transform, replenish and restore the well-being of the world was an integral part of the discussion.

George Nelson at the America National exhibition in Moscow, 1959. Photos courtesy Vitra Design Museum Archive

George Nelson at the America National exhibition in Moscow, 1959. Photos courtesy Vitra Design Museum Archive

The George Nelson exhibition, George Nelson: architect, writer, designer, teacher, from the Vitra Design Museum featured at the Powerhouse Museum in the later part of the year. Presented by Herman Miller, one of the earliest proponents of sustainable design, it featured pivotal designs from one of the most influential figures in American design during the second half of the 20th century.

Coconut chairs and ottoman (1956). Photos courtesy Vitra Design Museum Archive

Coconut chairs and ottoman (1956). Photos courtesy Vitra Design Museum Archive

2013 was also the year of the anniversary with the Opera House, no less, turning 40. Designed by the 38 year old Utzon, it has stood the test of time with a remarkable worldwide interest that has helped create an industry around the iconic structure. And to celebrate the birthday a number of Danish Designers featured in an exhibition within the Opera House foyers.

Along the harbour foreshore other significant projects have been announced and approved including the Crown Resort Casino, and talking of heights, the 170 metres height restriction will be broken by this project.

Physical model, image courtesy of Wilkinson Eyre architect

Physical model, image courtesy of Wilkinson Eyre architect

Sydney has been witness to a great deal of redevelopment in and around the Ultimo and Broadway area including the installation of a heliostat, the closure of much loved historical pubs  and the development of Central Park and Sydney’s first Gehry building.

Frank Gehry, Dr Chau Chak Wing model.

Frank Gehry, Dr Chau Chak Wing model.

Throughout 2013 the focus has been strongly on sustainability and responsible design with a feature on jewellery designer Rosanne Bartley who has been working with found objects to address issues of sustainability and has revisited the idea of what precious is and the notion of acquired meanings. We investigate how being ‘green’ manifests in design, how it impacts on economy, and we present a model that has been successful for commercial ventures and the importance of integrated thinking.

Roseanne Bartley Seeding the Cloud - a walking work in process; plastic, wood, silk, 100cm by 50cm, 2010

Roseanne Bartley Seeding the Cloud – a walking work in process; plastic, wood, silk, 100cm by 50cm, 2010

Continuing on the topic of sustainability we also looked at new materials with a focus on biomaterials that leave no trace and degrade after their useful lifespan.

Ecovative's Mushroom® Packaging cradle wine shipper

Ecovative’s Mushroom® Packaging cradle wine shipper

We have covered Australian Designers and the local manufacturing sector. We took an in- depth look at designers like Patricia Urquiola, Jamie Hayon, and Bertjan Pot.

Portrait Bertjan Pot

Portrait Bertjan Pot

In fashion we looked at trending colours, selective ethics, the real cost of fast fashion. Interior designers were delighted this year at the relaunch of Parker furniture while crafters and makers with a digital flair reveled in the first Sydney Mini Maker Faire.

Sydney Origami Group. Image courtesy of New Media Curation

Sydney Origami Group. Image courtesy of New Media Curation

With the start of the new year it’s difficult to predict the many twists and turns design will take however we are perched attentively on the edge of our seat to keep you up to date with new and interesting stories, events and announcements from the Australian local scene and beyond and to offer our thoughts and opinions.