Sydney Design is back. For the first eleven days of September, Sydney-siders and international visitors will be treated to an wide array of exhibitions, events, discussions and symposia exploring areas of design practice and themes as diverse as digital manufacturing, new visual experiences in cinema, and design’s role in zero-waste living.

During Sydney Design, UNSW Art & Design is hosting a series of events examining the experimental frontiers and history of interactive media.  The Interactive Media Symposium brings together practicing professionals and students designing interactive media experiences to engage the latest thinking, experiments and possibilities for creativity with media.  Facilitated by interactive media artist and UNSW Art & Design lecturer, Dr Oliver Bown, the symposium features leading industry professionals from Google Creative Lab, Code on Canvas, Mod Productions, dLux Media Arts, and lightwell, to name a few, and will ask how the creative media and technology industries are changing and what impact this will have in everyday contexts both within Australia and globally. 

UNSW Art & Design is also marking the launch of its new and ground-breaking Interactive Media Lab, dedicated to exploration and research across the realms of robotics, interactive cinema, the processes of 3D visualisation and sound.  As such the campus will open its doors and offer a special evening of media art performances and demonstrations of interactive works as part of the Sydney Design festival. 

Anyone interested in exhibitions during Sydney Design will find an array of challenging and pioneering work on offer.  There’s the new project created at The Cad Factory by multimedia artist, Vic McEwan, and UNSW Art & Design graduate, Nicole Barakat, which, through the use of contemporary and historic images, rethinks the relationship of design and natural resources in rural environments. A collaborative initiative with the National Museum of Australia and the Narrandera Textiles Group and Narrandera community, located near Wagga Wagga, Shadow Places looks at the interconnectedness (or lack there-of) between urban and rural community groups. 

One of the showcase exhibitions for the Festival, Out of Hand:  Materialising the Digital, features work by more than 60 international artists, designers, and architects, including seminal figures of Barry X Ball, Zaha Hadid, Iris van Herpen, and Ron Arad, all of whom have examined the value and impact of digital technology in the design and production of objects. The work on display will demonstrate how new techniques of making are shifting and mulitplying possibilities and expectations.

As part of the Out of Hand exhibition, design production houses and independent studios will offer insight into their own digital manufacturing processes.  Site tours of select design practices, like that of UNSW Art & Design graduate Louis Pratt’s Newtown studio, will give audiences a hands-on understanding techniques including 3D scanning and printing in the creation of figurative sculptures.

The Rug2 exhibition showcases contemporary designs by emerging UNSW Art & Design practitioners creatively responding to two design briefs for handmade rugs. Curated by UNSW Art & Design Associate Professor, Liz Williamson, the exhibition includes innovative design responses alongside selected designs made into rugs by skilled artisans in India. Rug2 integrates local and international expertise and creative ways designers engage with traditional hand production methods.

Celebrating its 15th anniversary, the Kudos Art & Design Award, recognises excellence in visual art and design across all areas of study at UNSW Art & Design.  This special exhibition, on display in the student-led Kudos Gallery, encourages experimentation in the creative development process including the selection of material and the creation of concepts. The exhibition offers insight into the learning experience of emerging creative practitioners.

Clay Intersections, on show at the Australian Design Centre, features the work of eight contemporary ceramicists who practice across a wide spectrum of clay-making techniques, ranging from those using new trends and technologies to those who engage ancient modes of wheel forming, casting and hand-building.   Participating in the exhibition are celebrated Australian ceramicist, Bridget Bodenham; Cone 11 design studio owners and practitioners, Colin Hopkins and Ilona Topocsanyi; Sydney-based craftsperson, Helen Earl; artist, object designer, and UNSW Art & Design graduate, Tania Rolland; sculptor and hand-builder, Natalie Rosin; JamFactory functional ceramicist, Ulrica Trulsson; and installation porcelain artist, Kenji Uranishi.

The Australian Design Centre is running a Clay Makers Market in parallel with the Clay Intersections exhibition featuring works for sale by 20 of your favorite ceramic designers working today.  Meet the makers Public Holiday, Milly Dent, the UNSW Art & Design’s well-known and well-loved graduate design collective, Fortynine Studio, and fellow UNSW Art & Design graduate, Hayden Youlley, and become owners of their work. 

There are numerous talks and forums on as part of Sydney Design too. The Musuem of Applied Arts and Sciences Powerhouse Museum is presenting, Visual Culture in a Digital World, a panel session with TL (Tea) Uglow (Google Creative Lab), Felicity Coonan (Animal Logic) and Josh Harle (artist and UNSW Art & design graduate) discussing the impact that digital technologies have on visual culture, ranging from cinema and advertising to social media and the arts.

Also at the Powerhouse Museum, Kat Holmes, the woman who led the development of the Microsoft Inclusive Design toolkit with the aim of utilising technology to “create experiences that are one size fits one, not one size fits all” delivers a one-off and not-to-be missed lecture Design for 7 Billion, Design for One