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State of Design Festival 2011

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by Courtney Symes (subscribe)
Courtney is a freelance fashion, art and design writer and content creator for - an online boutique specialising in quality gifts for men. Read more of Courtney’s work at
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The benefits of design extend across society, influencing our personal and professional lives and improving our lifestyle, as well as our economy. The State of Design Festival is an annual design celebration that aims to raise awareness of the value of design and its benefits to business and society, as well as our environment.

Running since 2004, the festival is the largest design event in Australia, so it's not surprising that the two week event is bursting at the seams with an intensive program of exhibitions, workshops, forums and other events. There's something for everyone – including fashion focused events to food, architecture and kids' activities, cycling, film and more.

A good design festival would not be complete without a prestigious awards ceremony. The 2011 Australian International Design Awards on Friday 22 July aim to recognise and promote new and innovative products that consider the key elements of good design – "form, function, quality, safety, sustainability and innovation." The broad range of design categories include: Consumer, Business and Technology, Medical and Scientific, Automotive and Transport, Architecture and Interiors, Sport and Leisure, Housing and Building, Heavy Machinery and Student Design. This year's hottest design innovations will be selected from these categories by a panel of local and international judges.

Five influential design commentators involved in fashion, interior design, graphic design, industrial design, architecture and education will each be presented with nine Q&A-style questions as part of the Wheeler Centre's 9 to 5 Talks Program. Ilse Crawford, Troika, Kyung-won Chung, Milton Glaser and Gareth Pugh will all participate in live Skype sessions to discuss their work and this year's festival theme, Design that Moves.

Ilse Crawford has a rich, design-focused background. Crawford established Elle Decoration in 1989 and was also Vice President of Donna Karan Home where she was responsible for re-invigorating the brand. Crawford now runs her own company, Studioilse and is renowned for the work she has done for Aesop and Soho House, as well as her position as Head of Department at the Design Academy Eindhoven.

UK's Troika includes Eva Rucki, Conny Freyer and Sebastien Noel, who combine art and architecture with technical innovation. Troika's work has been featured at MoMA New York, The Art Institute of Chicago, The British Council and the Victoria and Albert Museum. They are also renowned for their installations and digital sculpture, including 'Cloud' in London Heathrow Terminal 5.

As the former Chief Design Officer and Deputy Mayor for Seoul Metropolitan Government, Kyung-Won Chung believes that design should be part of everyday life and not just an extravagance. Won Chung is passionate about design initiatives such as Seoul's plan to spend 100 million (AUD) on small to medium sized businesses' design potential over the next three years.

US designer-illustrator Milton Glaser is the creator behind the legendary 'I ♥ NY' concept. He was the first designer to be presented with The US National Medal of Arts for his dedication to and innovation in graphic design.

Gareth Pugh is a UK fashion designer renowned for his modern take on luxury that actively challenges fashion conventions. A Central Saint Martins graduate, Pugh has collaborated with Self Service, Arena Homme, Dazed & Confused and Nick Knight, as well as dressing Beyoncé, Kylie Minogue and Lady Gaga. 9 to 5 Talks runs from 25-29 July.

Lucy Feagins is a venerable supporter of unique and innovative design, which she showcases through her blog, The Design Files. Popularity of The Design Files has recently reached fever pitch, evident through its nomination as one of the top 50 design blogs in the world. State of Design welcomes The Design Files Live Talks on Thurs 28 July, which will feature three design-focused Melbourne business-women. The inspiring trio selected for this Q&A session will include illustrator Beci Orpin, Chloe Quigley (Ortolan and Michi Girl) and interiors stylist Clair Wayman. 6.15-8pm at Do Design, Melbourne GPO.

Food-lovers will enjoy Chasing Kitsune, a contemporary truck fitted out by Schiavello offering Sake and awesome Japanese food throughout the festival. The catch? Tracking down the van which will make unexpected appearances at various locations throughout the festival. As the name suggests, Kitsune (the Japanese word for fox) is illusive and cunning. Good luck hunting it down!

The source of our food affects us all. Natural disaster and increasing fuel prices regularly influence the price of food, leading us to further question where our food originates from and how far it has travelled to reach us. Carolyn Steel's Keynote Address challenges our current practices when it comes to food production and consumption, raising our awareness and forcing us to question where the food on our plate originates. Thurs 21 July 6.15-7.30pm.

Design to Go: Design for Children and Families proves that you're never too young to enjoy good design. Design to Go's touring design educational program is aimed at children aged 5-12 and will tour regionally throughout Victorian schools in June until the program concludes at the festival in July. The program's series of activities have been created by leading designers and design commentators in areas such as industrial design and architecture to assist children acquire new skills and ways of thinking.

Architecture is another key design discipline that will feature consistently throughout the festival. 3RRR – The Architects is a discussion hosted by Simon Knott, Stuart Harrison and Christine Phillips as part of Triple R's The Architects weekly broadcast. Taking place on Thurs 21 July, the conversation surrounding architecture, sustainability and urban design will be enjoyed with street food and washed down with local craft beer at ACCA Southbank.

Using their Oslo Central Station project as a key example, Space Group will lead the Transit Space discussion that will explore urban architecture, as well as the planning and infrastructure challenges Melbourne faces. Gary Bates (US) and Grant Cooper (AUS) will be joined by other panel members to examine how key points within the city can be transformed from chaotic hubs into an ordered, calming experience. Sun 31 July, BMW Edge, Federation Square.

It goes without saying that fashion and design go hand-in-hand, so our local boutiques are paramount when it comes to showcasing the latest fashion and accessory trends. Look.Stop.Shop features a selected group of retailers who have created specific window and in-store installations based on the event theme, Design that Moves. The Look.Stop.Shop event will lead visitors on a walking trail through Melbourne city to a variety of boutiques including: Akira, Dizingof, e.g.etal, Hill of Content Bookshop, kinki gerlinki, Lenko Boutique, Little Mule Co., Lord Coconut and many others. The captivating quirky window displays created for the event also mean that visitors can enjoy the Look.Stop.Shop concept 24/7.

Academic and PhD candidate, Mick Peel and a group of RMIT fashion design students have joined forces for Fashion Design Mobility. This exhibition explores the concept of movement and mobility in an urban setting through fashion design, which is then translated via clothing, film and drawing. Runs from 15 July-14 August at Endless Gallery, South Yarra.
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Why? Because design is everywhere
When: Dates vary according to event
Where: At various locations fhroughout Melbourne
Cost: Prices vary according to event
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