DESIGN Canberra Festival Returns in 2018 For its Biggest Year Yet


Now in its fifth year, the DESIGN Canberra Festival will return from November 5 – 25, 2018, to celebrate the ongoing growth and recognition of Canberra as a global city of design.

Presenting one of the most eclectic programs yet, Canberra will be home to over 100 events, talks, exhibitions, tours, activations, markets, collaborations, artist studios and open homes to showcase the thriving and globally connected design community that Australia’s capital city is home to.

In keeping with Canberra’s innovative and burgeoning design community, this year’s theme will be ‘geometry’, referencing the city’s distinctive form and rich design history. The theme will explore geometry and its presence throughout the city, which creates human, creative and global connections.

DESIGN Canberra has resonated with Canberrans, the design sector and design lovers near and far because design is in Canberra’s DNA. From the time of Walter and Marion Griffin’s visionary design a century ago, to iconic experimental architecture of the 1950s and 60s, through to contemporary and sustainable design developments today, Canberra has been — and always will be — a living design laboratory,” said Rachael Coghlan CEO of Craft ACT and Artistic Director of DESIGN Canberra 2018.

For the past two years, DESIGN Canberra has invited a local designer to create the look and feel of the festival aligning with the chosen theme. Canberra based designer and maker known for her work with timber, Chelsea Lemon, has been selected as the designer in residence for the 2018 DESIGN Canberra Festival.

Chelsea’s work questions archetypical furniture and showcases a new and fresh approach to a traditional woodworking technique. Her practice incorporates art into craft and design and offers a new perspective on furniture design within Australia.

Delivering a fresh approach and innovative flair to the festival, Chelsea’s work was selected for its quality, the rigour of her practice and the symmetry of her work with the festival’s theme.

As the 2018 festival theme explores geometry, I created a design that refers to the geometric buildings and visual forms which create our city,” says Chelsea Lemon.

From 5-25 November 2018, Chelsea Lemon will be the designer in residence creating new work for DESIGN Canberra exhibitions including “The Void: Reimagining Enrico Taglietti”, participating in the prized contemporary design auction and creating a bespoke gift for festival partners.

In addition to the ever-popular signature events, a newly curated line-up of locally and internationally acclaimed designers has been announced for this year’s program highlights. These events include:

  • Kengo Kuma, one of the world’s leading architects has designed the DESIGN Canberra inaugural ephemeral architecture project which will be installed on Aspen Island in Lake Burley Griffin.
  • The work of acclaimed Canberra-based architect Enrico Taglietti will be celebrated in the DESIGN Canberra 2018 festival through tours, exhibitions, a symposium and installations.
  • Back by popular demand, this year’s architecture tours will take their cue from the 2018 DESIGN Canberra theme: geometry. The tours will introduce people to architects who have used geometric forms in a variety of ways and will be presented by local architecture enthusiast and founder, writer and researcher of, Martin Miles.
  • Montreal-based Daily tous les jours will bring their internationally award-winning pop-up installation which will invite visitors to share their dreams and visions for Canberra’s city centre through a playful yet beautiful field of balloons.

Kengo Kuma’s highly anticipated installation titled ‘NAMAKO’ is composed of a steel rod frame structure and mesh made with bio-acrylic rods woven together by zip-ties and is set to activate Aspen Island in Lake Burley Griffin for the duration of the 2018 DESIGN Canberra festival.

Inspired by the Japanese word for sea cucumber “namako”, Kuma’s installation reflects the unique characteristics of the animal’s softness, transparency and form, allowing audiences to interact with the installation and creating a rich relationship to the surrounding context.

The acclaimed architect was most recently recognised as the designer of Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium for the 2020 Olympic Games and will be joining other artists, designers, contemporary craft practitioners and design enthusiasts as part of the 2018 festival.

DESIGN Canberra is honoured to work with one of the world’s leading architects to design the inaugural ephemeral architecture project. The project promotes experimental and authentic design, fostering international collaboration and design education,” says Rachael Coghlan.

DESIGN Canberra Festival has been created for all interests and all ages, with most events throughout the festival free and easily accessible. Last year, the festival attracted a record 94,000 people.

DESIGN Canberra is the primary outreach program for Craft ACT, a not-for-profit membership-based organisation which supports artists, craft practitioners, designers and makers at every stage of their careers. Craft ACT promotes and celebrates excellence and innovation in contemporary craft and design, and is supported by the ACT Government; the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments; and the Australia Council for the Arts, the Australian Government’s arts funding and advisory body.

More information on the festival can be found at

This project was supported with funding made available by the ACT Government under the ACT Heritage Grants Program.

DESIGN Canberra Festival 2018:

Presented by: Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre

Government Partner: ACT Government Platinum Partners: Rolfe Classic BMW, holly, University of Canberra, National Capital Authority, Cre8ive, Australian National University College of Arts and Social Sciences

Accommodation partner: Vibe Hotel

Selected festival programs have been supported by the ACT Government under the City Renewal Authority’s City Grants program and the ACT Heritage Grants Program.

About DESIGN Canberra

DESIGN Canberra is an annual festival which celebrates and promotes Canberra as a global city of design.

Design is in Canberra’s DNA. From the time of Walter and Marion Griffin’s visionary design a century ago, to iconic experimental modernist architecture of the 1950s and 60s, through to contemporary and sustainable design developments today, Canberra has always been a living design laboratory.

Throughout November 2018, over 100 events, exhibitions, talks, tours, markets, artist studios and open homes will be showcased as DESIGN Canberra. The festival is for all interests and ages and most events are free. Last year a record 94,500 people attended the festival.

Presented by Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre. Program:

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