The Most Obscure Events to Attend at Melbourne Design Week 2019

What do you think when you hear the word Design?

Maybe a good-looking website, a blueprint of a house, a pattern on a dress? Have you ever associated the word Design with the food you eat, the death of a loved one, the train you catch, or your last hospital experience?

Design is everywhere, it infiltrates almost every corner of our life. Majority of things we interact with have been designed to create a very intentional experience for you.

Think about the action of unlocking your phone, so quick and smooth – designed for ease of access. How about the moment you enter a shopping centre – the lights, the cool air and lack of clocks – all designed to keep you shopping. The walk through a city park with perfectly positioned bench seats to give you the best view of the lake and so on and so on. It’s all been designed by someone.

Sure some things have been designed badly (cough, Myki, cough) and some things designed very well. Nevertheless, the design is there, at the core of every product, service you use or every experience you have.

Melbourne Design Week is not just about pretty pictures. Here are some of the most obscure design-related events you could attend this March;


After the disaster: A design for Melbourne 2069

Format: Workshop series

Want to be a part of rejuvenating Melbourne after the apocalypse? Well, this is how the brief to this workshop series goes:

The year is 2069 and Melbourne is in crisis. You have been specially selected for your skills and experience, joining an elite team working to design the city’s response to this cataclysmic event.

Take part in interactive workshops to design the future of Melbourne with other (hopefully smart) people.

Learn more:


The Future of Death and Ageing in Australia

Format: Talk

Ever thought in any depth about what the experience would be like to die? Probably not if you want to stay sane. But designers are starting to think about this, more specifically about the series of experiences along the journey to death, which can be unpleasant and frustrating for individuals and their families.

In this talk, Melbourne design agency Portable discusses its year-long research and development initiative into the future of death and ageing, describe how a human-centred perspective can be used to improve citizen experiences and illuminate a path to a more positive future.

Learn more:


Sex in the 21st Century

Format: Talk

The future is here and it’s called Sextech. We all knew this was coming but now Sextech is a burgeoning trillion-dollar industry. As this industry scales rapidly, this talk aims to dive into what this means for us as a society and how we might plan for the risks.

Learn more:


Circular Thinking: Design Your Own Circular Food System

Format: Workshop

Where your food comes from is part of an intentionally designed system. A system that is no longer fit for the 21st Century, the way we grow food currently sucks natural resources from our planet.

The transition to a circular economy will see a production which regenerates rather than harms the natural systems upon which it relies, food waste designed out, and food by-products used at their highest values.

Sounds good right? This workshop aims to teach you how to create a sustainable food system of your own.

Learn more:


Melbourne’s green spaces: From sci-fi fantasy to future reality

Format: Exhibition

Remember the recent train station naming competition that ended up with suggested names such as Bunnings Sausage, Ramsey St, well it’s not the first time Vic Government have done that (you think they would have learned).

In 1978 the Victorian Government held a Landmark Ideas Competition offered $100,000 in prize money (worth close to $500,000 in today’s terms) for proposals for a Melbourne “landmark” on the site of the Jolimont rail yards (where Federation Square currently sits).

Wanting to compete with the QLD Giant Pineapple, the theme of entries were all related to Giant monuments. Entries which were beautifully hand drawn (No Adobe Suite back then) included a giant birdcage, a giant futuristic “fish garden”, giant egg, giant brain, a closed hand with two fingers extended (a giant peace sign, if we’re being politically correct) and a pair of “Monumental Mammaries”

Learn more:


Melbourne Design Week is on from 14-24 March 2019

Full Program:


Laura is a Melbourne based service designer. She loves dogs, going to gigs and asking lifes big existential questions.


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