Renewing and Reworking – Transformative Repair Exhibition

Words by Brett Winchester
Photography by Carine Thévenau & Traianos Pakioufakis

Turning waste into valuable collector’s items, Transformative Repair features a series of innovative pieces renewed by leading Australian designers. Running from 2 to 10 June 2022 at the Australian Design Centre in Sydney, the exhibition showcases a range of broken design objects that have been given a second life, placing a spotlight on the pressing burden of consumer waste.

Transformative Repair is a project of proportions. Giving once loved items a second chance, the exhibition aims to generate a discussion on the environmental impact of consumer growth and the all-too-common practice of discarding objects. The initiative is led by both Guy Keulemans, Enterprise Fellow at UniSA Creative, and Trent Jansen, Lecturer at UNSW Art, Design and Architecture. “The project responds to the pressing cultural and environmental burden of product obsolescence and consumer waste through innovation in transformation repair,” explains Guy. “This designed reworking of broken consumer objects transforms their aesthetic appeal and cultural value.”

Running from 2 to 10 June 2022 at the Australian Design Centre in Sydney, the exhibition showcases a range of broken design objects that have been given a second life, placing a spotlight on the pressing burden of consumer waste.

The exhibition features damaged design objects from high-profile creatives and climate change activists, including Sally Dan-Cuthbert, Yael Stone, Hugo Gruzman, Tim Flannery, Bianca Spender and the Campana Brothers for Edra. “Our hope is that the exhibition will test how transformative repair methods extend object lifespans,” Trent says.

This sustainable approach sees designers pushing inventive boundaries. Bianca Spender’s fashion waste is transformed into upholstery for a high art, collectible sunlounge by Lucy McRae; Hugo Gruzman’s model aeroplane is reimagined as a crown by Kyoko Hashimoto; Adam Goodrum rebuilds a damaged designer lamp by the Campana Brothers for Edra into a one-of-a-kind floor lamp; whilst a broken vespa donated by Yael Stone is given new life by David Caon. The exhibition also includes objects reimagined by Illiam Nargoodah, Liz Williamson with Tulla Carson, and Kyoko Hashimoto with Ebony Fleur.

Giving once loved items a second chance, the exhibition aims to generate a discussion on the environmental impact of consumer growth and the all-too-common practice of discarding objects.

Alongside the exhibition, an auction will take place on 9 June 2022 for selected collective pieces, where 85 per cent of the profits will go to the artists and 15 per cent to the Australian Design Centre. Items on sale include the animated NFT of a model Cessna 30 by Kyoko Hashimoto and Ebony Fleur, and a series of woven artwork by Liz Williamson made from the scrap elastic of the old webbing of Plan-o-spider chairs. “This project has the potential to address problems of unsustainable consumption,” explains Trent, “and explore a new transformative repair market for craft and design professionals that will position Australia at the forefront of sustainable design.”

Bringing together both leading and emerging Australian creatives, Transformative Repair gives designers the opportunity to develop innovative and sustainable ways to repair, use and re-use once loved materials and products. The exhibition will run from 2 to 10 June 2022, giving consumers the opportunity to engage with the design industry in a considered and sustainable way.