As the year draws to a close it's only natural to look back at the year that was. And what a year it was for the Australian design industry.
Filled with incredible art exhibitions, the creation of award-winning architectural projects and the release of some stunning furniture collections, 2018 really was a memorable year.
We’re excited to share our pick of some of this year's highlights from the Australian design industry.
Image Source: architectureau.com
Dine in Style
Many Australian restaurants are realising that food should not be the only focus when it comes to a great dining experience, with architecture and design now almost as important as what's served on the plate. There have been several restaurants this year that have blown us away with their innovative design.
Sydney favourite, Quay, closed it doors for three months to undergo a $4 million renovation, resulting in a new interior focused on intimacy and making the most of that beautiful Harbour Bridge View.
The bespoke timber ceiling’s organic shape steps up in level to direct the gaze of diners upward and out towards the harbour views, while materials derived from nature - including stingray patterned divides, volcanic lava stone and a series of blue carpet pools referencing the ocean - have been used throughout.
Melbourne's Ishizuka by architect firm Russell and George won the 2018 Eat Drink Design Awards for Best Restaurant Design, and for good reason. This Japanese kaiseki restaurant beautifully ties together design and the dining experience.
Even before entering the dining room, Ishizuka’s sense of place and occasion come to the fore with a large backlit lantern egg greeting diners, giving way to a beautifully dignified, almost mysterious dining room.
MoMA at NGV
When "the greatest modern art museum in the world" arrived on our doorstep in June, safe to say it was a hot talking point here at Curious Grace.
In partnership with New York's Museum of Modern Art, The National Gallery of Victoria featured approximately 200 of MoMA's iconic pieces as part of this year's Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition.
The exhibition traced the development of art and design from late-nineteenth-century urban and industrial transformation, through to the digital and global present. Featuring artists such as Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Salvador Dalí and Paul Cézanne, it was certainly a show stopper.
Ancestors by Ethnicraft
Something a little closer to home was the release of Ethnicraft's latest range, Ancestors. This incredible range of furniture from Ethnicraft's woodsmiths celebrates the origins of humankind and delves into the rich heritage and history of cultures past.
It's safe to say that Tabwa, the first collection to launch within the new range, has taken our breath away with its intricate detailing and profound use of linear geometric shapes and patterns.
These pieces are an embodiment of Africa's rich cultural heritage, blending art, history and tradition together to create contemporary furniture that is steeped in the rich history of this ancient culture.
Image Source: architectureau.com
Japanese Home Design In South Australia
Back in September the University of South Australia was lucky enough to play host to an the exhibition Japan – Archipelago of the House,which explores the influential field of Japanese domestic architecture.
The exhibition was the first English-language version of its kind and was comprised of works from 58 Japanese architects across 70 projects, which were arranged by time and location.
We love the way Japanese architecture blends the historical concepts of 'Wabi Sabi' with more modern architectural principles, resulting in buildings that are at once simple and harmonious, yet completely fitting for their 20th century environment.
Images source: www.jessdare.com
Reflection Memorial receives Commendation
This year saw Reflection, Martin Place's memorial following the December 2014 siege receive a commendation in the 2018 NSW Architecture Awards.
Design by architect by architect Richard Johnson, the concept for the permanent memorial was based upon creating a subtle reflective and symbolic memory of the floral tribute laid by thousands of people following the siege.
The work comprises 210 hand crafted brass powder coated flowers by Adelaide artist Jess Dare, with each unique flower housed in a mirrored stainless-steel cube inserted into the pavement of Martin Place.
Developed with close involvement of the victim's families, this beautiful design has captured the public's outpouring of compassion, grief and love, and cemented it in our memories forever.
Image source: www.indesignlive.com
Design as Art
It’s not often that design is elevated to art-world status. However, this past year we were excited to see several galleries across Melbourne showcase beautifully innovative design in exactly this way.
The Artefacts Objects exhibition showcased bespoke design objects by the likes of Michael Gittings and Maddie Sharrock, while Elliat Rich, Dale Hardiman and Chen Lu all had one-off pieces on display at Sophie Gannon Gallery.
This newfound understanding of design as art is a step forward in appreciating and recognising innovative design pieces in the way they should.
Curious Grace Makes it in Business Award
While we don't like to polish our own pedestal, we just wanted to mention a little exciting news from Curious Grace this year.
For the first time ever Curious Grace found itself selected as finalists in the Australian Retailers Association’s 2018 Eftpos Australian Retail Awards. We were excited to be nominated for the award, which celebrates a breadth of talent across the dynamic and ever-evolving retail landscape!
With 2018 all wrapped up, we can't wait to see what wonderful, beautiful and innovative design, architecture, art and exhibitions await us in the new year!
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