Tuesday, May 5, 2009

DesignEx 2009

The DesignEx central bar was designed by Michael McCann of Dreamtime Australia Design. Constructed from cardboard tubing and cableties, it was very impressive in scale etc.... but, call me pedantic... I was a bit sad that they didn't trim the cableties. :(

Furniture in the Central Bar by Spacecraft

Oooh... I hope you're not all design-festivalled out already! ...because today I have some coverage of DesignEx, which was held in Melbourne on the weekend. It never ends. I can't figure out why DesignEx happens only a few days after Milan Design Week ends. Strange. It seems to me that all the most exciting designers would be in Europe at this time? Anyway.

DesignEx is a weird one. It's trade only, which kind of annoys me. Although on this occasion I did have a media pass which made things (ie taking photos) much easier. Essentially it's a huge showcase of all the top brands in building products and interior design materials, presented to I think around 17,000 architects and interior designers who descend on the event over 3 days.

It's not always very exciting, because all the brands who show at DesignEx are very established big names, and are not necessarily very innovative. And after all the Milan coverage I must say it's hard to get excited by our local, somewhat more modest offerings! But let's be fair, this isn't the international stage, and I have to say that this year, amongst all the usual suspects, a handful of stands really did stand out. Highlights below!

Perhaps my favourite stand - Cascade Coil is a flexible wire mesh fabric, manufactured in the US. It's available in a number of colours and finishes, but I loved the all-gold theme of their stand - particularly effective with the illuminated floor! Very swish. Stand design by Hassell. It was only a smallish stand but really wowed the crowds. Fabulous. Cascade Coil is available in Melbourne through DAAC commercial window furnishings.

More Cascade Coil

Marc Pascal lights

Marc Pascal is such a great Melbourne character - that's him on the right, as colourful as his work, getting a bit frazzled by with the lack of phone reception. Hee! Love his hand-crafted lamps and pendants... beautiful.

SONA (the Student Oragnised Network for Architecture) created this scaffold wendy-house structure... the stall was unmanned... so I don't know much about it. Except that it was designed by Andrew Moller, based on ideas of adaptation and manipulation of flexible, temporary and re-usable building materials. (ie, scaffolding). Cute.

Meizai won me over with sheer styling power - they showcased their very extensive and eclectic range of home accessories and furniture in a huge stand divided into three main themes. I took a lot of shots of the earthy, rustic-inspired area, and the more opulent boudoir-style section (bottom shot below). It all looked absolutely gorgeous... and so well put together... but... I was a bit disappointed by the very Jaime Hayon-esque inspired furniture and lamps... oh well... I guess when you're Jamie Hayon imitation is inevitable.

Meizai's rustic homewares (top) and somewhat Jaime Hayon-esque furniture and accessories.

Latitude showcased student design - my favourites were Annabelle Peters' Skewer Lamps, and I quite liked that delicate steel/timber chair (below) by Rock Martin. (both designer's websites are definitely worth a visit!)

JSB Lighting

JSB Lighting made me chuckle... mainly because their lumberjack-inspired matching outfits were so ridiculously cute! They must have been cursing their bosses. Anyway, fantastic stand showcasing their range of Modular lights. Really engaging recycled tea-crate style shelving and yes, artificial grass. It was very popular. Sometimes it feels as though DesignEx is an astroturf convention.

JSB lighting again... aww, toolbelts!

Oooh and while we're talking artificial grass - check out The Outdoor Room by Jamie Durie. He used the opportunity to launch his new Outdoor kitchen with Electrolux. Jeepers Creepers. It's a bit much. Plumbed-in sink, cooktop and BBQ and worksurface etc etc, and even an incorporated vertical herb garden etc! Jamie himself was there in full-force plugging his wares... hee! I just can't stop thinking about him doing backflips on Backyard Blitz. Ah, good on 'im. (PS also notice that in addition to his own Patio range and Eletrolux stuff, he is also flogging the 'Outdoor Cinema', and a custom Porters Paints range, with his photo on every tin!)

Jamie in full force!

Although Jamie was very entertaining, I kind of prefered the more serene award-winning 'Relativity' garden by James Dawson Landscape Design and Woodbridge Landscape Developments. I cannot believe they brought in a full scale water pool... with gold-fish!

The most inspiring and refreshing of textiles / wallpapers on show were at the Funkis Sweden stand, showcasing the incredible Tres Tintas range from Spain. (above and below)

Fisher and Paykel
must be doing ok in the current economic climate - their incredible 'Ironside' stand left no expense spared, comparing a full-scale functional 'Kitchen of Today' with 'Tomorrow's Kitchen', each fully fitted within a customised 40 ft shipping container. Tomorrow's kitchen introduced the IZONA range of products, specifically the 'Cool Drawer' (fridge + drawer = Cool Drawer). Wow.

Fisher and Paykel / IZONA Kitchen of Tomorrow and IZONA cooldrawer

Last but not least. The incredible AIA bar by Chris Bosse of LAVA featuring the 'Kaleidosculp' roof constructed from a 'silicone glass composite textile with outstanding translucency and light
diffusion properties'. What can I say? That Chris Bosse really knows what he's doing.

Phew. Can I go home now?


  1. Lucy I'm still trying to catch up on your Milan posts from last week... and now this! Thanks for all the wonderful coverage and images. I'll have to set aside some time to come back and digest it all. I really enjoy seeing not only the products on display but the imaginative way the displays themselves are designed.

  2. Great roundup, thanks Lucy! Loved Marc Pascal's display area - was that a rug made to look hand painted, or a painted solid platform thing?

  3. Great photos Lucy. I am shamelessly saving the shot of the stripey cool drawer, as I love Paul Smith esque stripes. Hope you dont mind.

  4. Wow Lucy - another great post. What a life you seem to have!

  5. OOhh thanks guys! It's been a big week for photo-editing, so I appreciate your kind words!

    Lisa - Oh yes don't worry I am still trying to catch up myself! Thanks so much for your encouragement!

    Tess - Thanks! Re: Marc Pascal,I think it was a hand-painted board of some description? Possibly painted by Marc himself? I forget the detail... sorry... sensory overload!

    Folder of Ideas - OH please save away - I save shots from blogs all the time! That's not shameless, it's flattery! Thanks so much for commenting :)

    SewHum - OH thank so much for your sweet comment! But it made me chuckle... you see, you are mistaken, I have NO life. My life has been replaced by racing around design events at top speed and then blogging every single night of my life. Hee!

  6. Whoa, this all looks amazing. This is why my husband and I want to move down to Melbourne, but for the next few years we're in Brisbane! How to bring the fabulous exhibits up here? *strokes chin*

  7. Wow Lucy AND TGYH??? Very inneresting exhibition - love the Japanese garden + real goldfish.

  8. I love that really green garden - looks fab. Love your Milan roundups.

  9. The Cascade Coil stand was just stunning. ALL GOLD. Elegant, dramatic and the best stand hands down. It didn't have crappy brochures and big signs and knick knacks all over it and felt really special to step into. They also had these great little gold coil gifts that they were giving away. Did anybody get one? I want one.