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DESIGN Canberra Festival Guide: The Modernist

DESIGN Canberra Festival Guide: The Modernist

A modernist can be described as a believer in or supporter of modernism, especially in the arts and design. Where form follows function and mid-century modernist tendencies become a way of life. Sounds like you?

If so, then the 2017 DESIGN Canberra Festival is your chance to really immerse yourself in the world of modernist craft and design. We don’t want you to miss out, so here is your reference guide – your journey to DESIGN Canberra and all that it holds.

Your DESIGN Canberra experience is packed full of modernist exhibitions, design dinners, public talks and modern design tours. So, prepare yourself to be transported into the wonderful realm of modernist design at DESIGN Canberra.


On the afternoon of Saturday 11 November, join comedian, self confessed design nerd and presenter of the acclaimed ABC TV series, Streets Of Your Town, Tim Ross for an afternoon of assorted stories about his obsession with collecting furniture, Australian architecture and beyond. Join Tim at University House, ANU for a casual chat about modernism, Canberra and anything else he feels like!

On the evening of 11 November, get your modernist outfit together for the Canberra Modernist Dinner in the Great Hall, University House ANU. Dress in your finest modernist attire and be prepared to travel to a different time and space in history. Using an authentic menu from the modernist era, University House’s chefs will prepare a three-course meal with wine. The keynote will be acclaimed modernist photographer Darren Bradley AKA @modarchitecture, and the MC for the night, Tim ‘Rosso’ Ross promises to bring the ‘razzle dazzle’.

If markets are your thing, then get up early on Sunday morning and head to the Canberra Modernist Market at University House, ANU. A day out for the young and old, enjoy traditional market-style stalls including sellers of vintage clothing, jewellery, books and homewares as well as food vendors. Take a look at some of the era’s cars at the ‘show and shine’ or enjoy vintage hair and makeup demonstrations. The day will also include exhibitions, a modernist photo booth, performances, guided tours and more.

Then, between 12.45-4.30pm join renowned architecture enthusiast, Martin Miles on a bus tour around Canberra’s best architecture including mid-century modernist icons by Roy Grounds and other architects. This tour will pick-up and drop-off from the corner of Parkes Pl W and Queen Elizabeth Terrace.



So, with Week 01 complete, let’s take a look at what’s in the program for the next two weeks of the festival.

Start your week visiting an exhibition at EastSpace: Darren Bradley’s Canberra: Yesterday’s Vision of Tomorrow. A self proclaimed “urban archaeologist”, photographer Darren Bradley has spent his free time in Canberra seeking out the heart of soul of our city, and it’s at this event where you will learn of his findings and see for yourself the vestiges of the visionary designs in this city.

Then, prepare yourself for a super fun filled Sunday, as it’s going to be a big day.

Between 12.45-4.30pm join Martin Miles on the second instalment of his bus tour around Canberra’s best architecture including mid-century modernist icons by Robin Boyd and friends . This tour will pick-up and drop-off from Watson Street in Turner.

After the tour, participants are invited to Sunday Sessions where you will hear music by local acts, see a series of large-scale graphic interventions, and an award-winning architectural pop-up wine bar, the Pop Inn.


Between 7-12 November you will have the chance to view the Canberra Modern Talking Points exhibition, which will present recent works from makers connected with gold and silversmithing program at the ANU School of Art and Design. The exhibition will present a diverse range of dialogues, interests and concerns that have emerged through the gold and silversmithing studio over the last 40 years, and is one not to be missed!

If photography is more your forte, then grab your camera and head to the ANU Acton Campus for a Photography Walking Tour of ANU on Sunday afternoon. Take a walk around the ANU campus and surrounds with award winning photographer Darren Bradley where Darren will share his tips and tricks for architectural photography with several examples of modernist buildings on and around the campus. Darren will also show you how to make your snaps shine with a brief editing workshop.

This is your last chance to jump on a bus and explore mid-century design around Canberra by Seidler and friends. You know the drill after that … it’s time for Sunday Sessions!

Hungry for more? There are many other events that you can partake in, so head to our website for more information.