Unleash your creativity and dive into design excellence at Geelong Design Week 2023

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Unleash your creativity and dive into design excellence at Geelong Design Week 2023

We The Makers
Words by Staff Writer

Geelong Design Week 2023 promises to be an incredible celebration of design.

From October 19 to 29, Geelong will come alive with a burst of creativity as Geelong Design Week 2023 returns for an 11-day celebration. An array of captivating exhibitions, thought-provoking talks, immersive workshops, and unique experiences awaits those who appreciate the profound impact of design in our lives.

This event, organised by the City of Greater Geelong, shines a spotlight on the transformative power of design. It not only celebrates the city’s rich design heritage but also highlights local design talents, affirming Geelong’s UNESCO City of Design status.

Stay up to date with what’s happening in and around the region here


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Acknowledging the city’s commitment to using design and creativity to build a more sustainable, resilient, and inclusive community, the week is set to inspire attendees through a diverse tapestry of activities that demonstrate how design can shape our city and lives.

The event encompasses a variety of experiences including engaging hands-on workshops, led by design experts that offer a chance to explore your creative potential; inspiring talks from thought leaders, designers, and artists who share their insights and experiences, broadening your perspective; interactive exhibitions and design displays that challenge your perception of the world, offering a fresh viewpoint; and of course, a whole lot of networking opportunities allowing you to connect with fellow design enthusiasts, professionals, and creatives who share your passion.

With over 50 events on various topics, including human-centered design, the potential of green design in city transformation, the significance of slow fashion, and creating infrastructure from coffee ground waste, Geelong Design Week underlines the region’s commitment to pushing boundaries, inspiring the community, and encouraging collaboration. Geelong Design Week truly reflects the region’s enterprising, adaptive, and forward-thinking spirit, supporting the vision of being recognized as Clever and Creative.

So let’s talk about some highlights!

The Dell Eco Reef: Where Design Meets Innovation

One of the notable features of Geelong Design Week is The Dell Eco Reef. This innovative creation, designed and built by Alex Goad for the City of Greater Geelong, demonstrates how design can intersect with ecological expertise and innovative technology. The artificial reef, located off Clifton Springs, incorporates sculptural units that reduce beach erosion, provide wave break protection, attract marine life, and enhance the coastline’s beauty.

The Dell Eco Reef has earned recognition for its innovative design, including being named on the Australian Financial Review BOSS Most Innovative Companies list for 2023. It’s also been honored with multiple Australian Good Design Awards.

A brilliant and imaginative approach to coastal protection, as part of the week, attendees are able to snorkel in this artificial reef that is making waves for sustainability and restoration in our region! Tickets are $40.

‘House of Fast Fashun’ Installation

For those keen to get involved in the design action, the House of Fast Fashun at the National Wool Museum is a must visit! Taking the form of a house made entirely of clothing and textile waste, this installation is a space for community, collaboration and self-expression. Audiences become the fashion designers, makers, and catwalk models.

On Saturday 21 October, there will be a free open day where attendees can create haute couture outfits out of clothing and textile waste. Artists are on hand to help by giving demonstrations and assistance. Putting things together with just safety pins is encouraged. There are also sewing supplies available to use. A runway show will take place every hour on the hour. Participants are encouraged to showcase their creation by wearing it and walking down the catwalk.

This is all about reclaiming the fashion catwalk as an inclusive, celebratory space of creative expression. Audiences are welcome to watch or participate.

All other dates, the House of Fast Fashun is available for viewing.

DIY or DIE Fashion Show and Cocktail Party featuring Fast Fashun

If the House of Fast Fashun sounds like your vibe, you’ll also want to head to the DIY or DIE Fashion show and cocktail party on 20 October.

Celebrating the closing week of We the Makers Sustainable Fashion Prize 2023, meet with local finalists and like minded fashionistas looking to change community thinking, one garment at a time.

You’ll be able to party the night way, with exclusive access to the We the Makers: Sustainable Fashion Prize 2023 Exhibition, music by DJ Wormboy, cocktails by The Chamber of Gin and an ethically scoured grazing table by Feed Me Surf Coast.

Special guests Fast Fashun, will elevate the night to the next level with the aforementioned community built House of Fast Fashun. A catwalk will be in full swing every hour so deck yourself out in your own unique style and join the celebration of creative expression. This is the event to wear and share locally made garments, trashion and everything in between.

We The Makers: Fashion Disrupted

Taking place at the National Wool Museum across various dates, attendees can discover the power of slow fashion through frantic making and rapid design with the We The Makers exhibition. Fashion is full of contradictions and challenges: how can an industry based on consumption, conformity and aspiration be sustainable, radical and inclusive?

Delve into these grey areas by joining fashion disruptors to explore the power of creativity, design and sustainable style.

Celebrating Local Designers

Another highlight of Geelong Design Week is the Local Designers Showcase that features the work of local furniture, lighting, and fabric designers. The free showcase, held daily at the Wurriki Nyal Civic Precinct, provides a platform for local talent. You can explore the latest designs and experience Kip&Co’s latest collection, created in collaboration with Ernabella Arts.

Tim Ross ‘Designing a Legacy’ Live Show

Edging towards the end of the week, comedian and architecture enthusiast Tim Ross will be bringing his acclaimed ABC TV series to Geelong in a new show titled ‘Designing a Legacy Live 2023’.

For the first time in 160 years, Customs House will be open to the general public for this event where for one night only, Tim will passionately share architecture knowledge and design stories about Customs House, combining elements of slideshow, stand-up comedy, and architecture discussion.

This one takes place on Thursday 26 October from 7pm. Tickets can be purchased here.


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Designing with First Nations Communities

Taking place at Wurriki Nyal Civic Precinct, attendees can join in on a discussion on working with First Nations creatives and commissioning designs. Hear insights from a diverse group, including Kip & Co, and learn about copyright, licensing, and more. Gain a First Nations perspective from Michelle Searle, designer of the Geelong Cats First Nations Guernsey, and Kip & Co’s collaboration with Ernabella Arts.

Don’t miss this opportunity to explore best practices in design and Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property.

Geelong Urban Design Walking Tour

Discover Geelong’s urban transformation on a captivating walking tour led by knowledgeable guide Jonathon Daly.

Begin your journey at Wurriki Nyal, delving into sustainable urban growth and indigenous culture integration. Explore the Green Spine, Market Square, and the vibrant dining scene of Little Malop Street. Finish in the Cultural Precinct and Johnstone Park, reflecting on the city’s journey towards a sustainable and culturally rich future. This one is all about exploring the inspiring Geelong urban design evolution.

Explore and Be Inspired…

That’s barely scraping the surface of this year’s vibrant and extensive program. There’s also a Geelong Fashion Takeover by the We the Makers Sustainable Fashion Prize 2023 finalists, a Geelong Inventions Exhibition (featuring decimal currency designs, the fridge, the Toyne’s rotary clothesline and the Ford Ute), Kungka Kunpu (Strong Women) at Geelong Gallery, a walking tour of Geelong’s 20th Century architecture, an exhibition by final year Deakin Design students of real-world design solutions through industry engagement and collaboration, and a special Open Day Public Meet and Greet session with the architects responsible for the ‘Architects in Geelong & the Surf Coast’ Exhibition.

Oh, plus there’s Chromatica; the free installation that turns the classic childhood kaleidoscope into a large-scale interactive artwork; and the regional premiere screening of film Modern Melbourne 2023 featuring this year’s AIA Gold Medal winner Kerstin Thompson.

There’s no doubt, Geelong Design Week 2023 has something to offer everyone, whether you’re an experienced designer, a curious individual, or someone passionate about making a positive impact on your community through design.

Check out the full program and secure your tickets here