Design Canberra Festival Design Canberra Festival

Surface Strategies, 2017, by Lucy Irvine. Photo: Five Foot Photography
Surface Strategies, 2017, by Lucy Irvine. Photo: Five Foot Photography

A global city of design

Referencing Canberra’s distinctive form, DESIGN Canberra 2018 will explore the strong geometry present throughout our city and the ways it creates human, creative and global connections. By seizing on its creative strengths and imaginative mindset, the national capital has now become a global city of design.

This year, the DESIGN Canberra festival will present a program of events that celebrates international influences, exchange and collaborations.

Here’s a snapshot of the must-see events, packed with global design credentials:

NAMAKO, created by Japanese architect, Kengo Kuma

Inspired by the Japanese word for sea cucumber NAMAKO, Kengo Kuma’s 3-metre-high, 12-metre installation reflects the distinctive characteristics of the animal’s softness, transparency and form.  The ephemeral architecture project will activate Aspen Island in Lake Burley Griffin for the duration of the festival, where audiences are encouraged to get up close and personal with the creation.

Where: Aspen Island | When: 5-25 November 2018

Design Diplomacy

Design Diplomacy is a series of public conversations in an ambassador or high commissioner residence or chancery. This year, the participating embassies are Italy and New Zealand. The concept involves an intercultural exchange, new card-game forma, between a design professional from the hosting embassy’s country and a Canberra designer.

Design Diplomacy: New Zealand

When: 7 November 2018 | Time: 4:45 pm | Cost: Free (by invitation)

Please email your expression of interest to

Design Diplomacy: Italian Embassy

When: 19 November 2018 | Time: 4:45 pm | Cost: Free (by invitation)

Please email your expression of interest to

UNESCO City of Design

At CraftACT, we have a long-term ambition to pursue listing of Canberra as a City of Design amongst the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, where there is a common objective of placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of development plans at the local level and cooperating actively at the international level. Join us as we strive to achieve this status for Canberra in the near future.

When: 20 November 2018 | Time: 12:00 pm – 2:30 pm | Cost: Free (by invitation)

Contact for further information

The Void: Reimagining Enrico Taglietti

This exhibition celebrates architect Enrico Taglietti’s lasting and important contribution to Canberra’s built environment through the eyes of participating artists, who have been selected for their outstanding practice, association with Dr Taglietti, and alignment of design values.

Opening on 25 October, the exhibition will run throughout the festival, with selected artists presenting a floortalk on 14 November.

Festival Opening Party and Auction

Everyone is invited to celebrate the best of Canberra design at the Festival Opening and Auction party. Hosted at Canberra Centre’s iconic Monaro Mall, enjoy music and food, as well as local wines from Lake George Winery and local brews from Capital Brewing Co. Artworks by established and emerging Canberra designers, artists and makers will be auctioned via online bidding.

When: 10 November 2018 | Time: 8:00 pm | Where: Level 1 Monaro Mall, Canberra Centre

Book now