Designing a Stronger Tomorrow – Victorian Design Takes Centre Stage at the 2018 Business of Design Week
Event Feature
Hong Kong

Words James Lyall Smith
Queenscliff Residence by John Wardle Architects. Photography by Trevor Mein.

Think. Collaborate. Create. The dictum for Melbourne’s approach to the 2018 Business of Design Week in Hong Kong. Using this slogan as a rallying cry, Melbourne has proved that through innovation and design we can build a better future together.

As we navigate our way through increasingly uncertain times, we look towards the design community for inspiration, innovation and ultimately solutions to some of the most complex problems. Over the past five days some of Australia’s most preeminent and forward-thinking creatives have shown the world how the Melbourne design community plans to use design to shape a stronger tomorrow.

Join us for an exploration into the very best in Australian architecture and design through images of the projects that were chosen to showcase the industry in all its glory at the 2018 Business of Design Week.

Boneo Country House by John Wardle Architects. Photography by Sharyn Cairns.
Repair by Baracco + Wright Architects with Linda Tegg. Photography by Rory Gardiner.

Speaking at the official opening of the 2018 Business of Design Week, the Honourable Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria, posed the question, “What makes a great design city?”. She went on to explain, “I think it’s a mindset that Melbourne shares with Hong Kong and other great design centres in the world. It’s an understanding that contextually appropriate ideas always underpin the most inspiring original design. Great design is without doubt a collaborative mindset of creativity and conceptual thinking coinciding with collaboration.”

Melbourne has proved that through innovation and design we can build a better future together.

The idea of collaboration was a fundamental theme for the Melbourne design communities’ approach to the 2018 BoDW. Through an expertly curated showcase of the true excellence of Australian concepts, projects and designs, the city of Melbourne used this forum as an opportunity to demonstrate a more collaborative approach to creativity.

Floe Architecture by Rolan Snooks.
Light Bubble by ENESS.

Throughout the 2018 Business of Design week Australian architects, designers, students, and all-round creatives were afforded the opportunity to stand side by side with their internationally acclaimed peers and showcase the very best in Australian design. “Australia has always punched above its weight in the global design community” states Alastair Richardson, Director of Cox Architecture and Director of Cox Sport. “From a Melbourne perspective we have used our experience of being the world’s most liveable city and the sporting capital of the world to showcase projects that demonstrate a more sustainable way of approaching intense urbanisation.”

The city of Melbourne used the 2018 BODW as an opportunity to demonstrate a more collaborative approach to creativity.

Alastair, along with numerous other representatives from Melbourne from a wide variety of disciplines, was part of the 2018 speaker series. The daily plenary sessions represented a chance for Australian design to take centre stage and engage in informative discussions on all elements relating to Australian and international design. Alastair went on to expand on his goals for the 2018 BoDW, saying “From a Cox Architecture perspective we aim to educate major urban centres like Hong Kong on the benefits of a green approach to urban intensification. Through our work across Australia we will demonstrate an innovative approach to high rise residential developments.” These comments were particularly pertinent as the city of Hong Kong begins to explore pioneering architectural solutions to its substantial housing crisis.

Optus Stadium by Cox Architecture. Photography by Peter Bennetts.
Hotel Hotel by March Studio. Photography by John Gollings.
Bendigo Residence by Flack Studio. Photography by Brooke Holm.

The blossoming relationship between Chinese and Australian design was on full display throughout the Business of Design Week. A short walk around the vibrant streets of Hong Kong Island or Kowloon will expose the inherent differences between Hong Kong and Melbourne architecture but when one explores a little further under the surface you soon discover that certain similarities are becoming more apparent between both cities. Urban revitalisation projects are rife throughout the city, transforming Hong Kong further into a global centre for design.

“We aim to educate major urban centres like Hong Kong on the benefits of a green approach to urban intensification.”

The idea of cultural similarities was something Anne-Laure Cavigneaux of Melbourne architectural practice March Studio was keen to explore throughout her time at the 2018 BoDW. “I have been impressed by Hong Kong’s approach to architecture whilst designing within significant urban constraints”, states Anne-Laure: “I feel there is much that both Melbourne and Hong Kong can learn from each other. In Melbourne sustainability is part of our architectural DNA – this is something Hong Kong is currently attempting to develop as well.”

Fruit Tree Bowl by Gregory Bonasera of Porcelain Bear.
Facett by Leah Heiss for Blamey Saunder hears.
Mayu Floor Lamp by Coco Flip.

Now that the Business of Design Week has concluded for 2018, it is time to reflect on what is undoubtedly a great triumph for the Melbourne and Australian design industries. In the lead up to the event, the importance of the BoDW in reinforcing Australian design’s positioning on the international stage was already clear. The 2018 event not only reinforced, but also strengthened, perceptions of Australian design in the hearts and minds of a global audience. Australia is leading the way in numerous fields of innovative design concepts and in the process designing a better tomorrow for future generations. Through Asia’s largest design event, the city of Melbourne was able to fly the flag for Australia and cultivate a truly collaborative mindset to design that will benefit the industry, and the world over the forthcoming years, for this was the true essence of Melbourne’s approach to the 2018 Business of Design Week.

Nightingale 1 by Breathe Architecture.
Jackalope Hotel by Carr Design Group. Photography by Sharyn Cairns.
Nixi Killick. Part of the Melbourne Fashion Exhibition at the 2018 BODW.
Huangpu East Bank Urban Forest by HASSELL.
Published 14 December, 2018
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