Prototyping the future with Melbourne Design Week 2020

Image of the Dark Crafts pavilion at the Future Prototyping Exhibition
The Dark Crafts pavilion's hexagon design reflects the consistent use of this geometric order in Canberra's urban plan. Image: James Rafferty/ University of Melbourne

Melbourne School of Design’s Future Prototyping Exhibition offers glimpses of the future with prototypes of sustainable design, reduction and re-use of material as part of Melbourne Design Week 2020.

Running from 24 February to 27 March and presented as part of National Gallery of Victoria’s Melbourne Design Week, the exhibition brings together 36 projects organised around eight themes - Biological, Ceramic, Concrete, Fibres, Metal, Synthetic, Timber and Virtual.

Projects have been developed by significant institutions and design practices across Australia and New Zealand together with a global network of research partners.

Highlights include exhibits focusing on the reduction and reusability of waste products, the organic, scaled growth of construction materials with zero material waste and the use of indigenous flora to distil and define a sensory world of scents.

Curatorial lead and senior lecturer in digital architectural design Dr Paul Loh said the collection of prototypes are intended to generate debates around the nature of innovation through design and making.

“Behind the form, material, technology and techniques of the prototypes showcased in this exhibition are more significant ideas about the future of our society. Some of these prototypes will affect our lifestyle and the way we construct, view and inhabit our environment,” Dr Loh said.

In support of the exhibition an all-day symposium will run on 18 March, centred around three themes of learning through making, technology and prototyping  and prototyping across disciplines. Prominent Swiss architect, Professor Philippe Block, will join panellists from educational and design institutions across Melbourne.

Across 20-21 March, the IX Haute Cuisine dining experience will activate within the exhibition space and will explore prototyping through food. Delving into the traditional human senses, lead experiential director Mond Qu said: “this experience will question how much we really understand sight, taste, sound, smell and touch.”

The exhibition is curated by Dr Paul Loh, David Leggett (LLDS Architects) and Mond Qu (United Make). Proceeds from the exhibition catalogue will be donated to the Firesticks Alliance Indigenous Corporation.