Melbourne design week presented by the National Gallery of Victoria was held throughout the third week of March at various locations around the city, showcasing some of the state’s leading designers of furniture, lighting, general wares and objet d’art. The 1880’s mansion Villa Alba in the inner east suburb of Kew provided one such exhibition space. The darkened original interiors preserved in a semi restored state speak of former grandeur, hand painted depictions of native English wildlife and floral motifs envelope the inner walls, aptly fitting together for the mise-en-scène of Futures Collective put together by Spence and Lyda to flaunt an array of both locally and internationally recognised designer’s wares in individually curated spaces. Each room flows on from the last tied together by allowing the works to mix freely as opposed to one designers work allocated to one room. In the drawing room a recycled plastic rug depicting the Ganges river hangs like a tapestry from a temporary gantry by Álvaro Catalán de Ocón from his Plastic Rivers series, soft in composition to the sharp lines of Broached Commissions’ Recall Monoliths finished in reclaimed veneer.
Low-set chairs, tables and lounges for Sydney’s Ace Hotel by Fiona Lynch take pride of place in the vestibule overlooked by the painted views of Sydney Harbour and Edinburgh respectively. Created using raw sustainable timber upholstered in Belgian linen appearing seemingly splattered with paint from the ceiling above, the patternation created utilising waste from the hotel building site; brick rubble, broken glass and discarded metal all finely ground to form pigments to dye the fabric. This form of sustainable reuse and recycling not only helps the impact of the site on the environment but also incorporates the history of the site into the finished product. Upstairs in the main bedroom Lucy Kurrein’s Bibendum for Molinari Design sits as a centrepiece. A three seat modular lounge composed of decoupled curved white bases that wrap up into a supporting back for the cushion upholstered in off white leather, with each piece being independent of the other allowing the user to utilise individual seats as armchairs or together as a complete suite. The curving lines of the lounge are juxtaposed by the sharp angles of various tables from Jon Goulder’s Innate 2.0 series.
Drifting from room to room soft music wafts throughout the halls only interrupted by the hushed reverberation of voices, the ambiance is set by both this, the typical scent of an old building and the visually pleasing pieces curated by Otomys Gallery scattered throughout the house to accompany each space, broken up by the odd view out of a window, across the gardens to the undulating topography beyond.