Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents - Neale Whi­taker is edi­tor-at-large of Vogue Liv­ing. See high­lights from DENFAIR 2017 at vogue­liv­

Aussie de­sign is gar­ner­ing global ac­claim, re­ports Neale Whi­taker.

Bris­bane and Syd­ney, you might want to put your hands over your ears, be­cause you may not like what I’m go­ing to say. Mel­bourne is Aus­tralia’s de­sign cap­i­tal. That’s right. MEL­BOURNE. DE­SIGN. CAP­I­TAL. And if last week’s DENFAIR 2017 ( at the Mel­bourne Con­ven­tion and Ex­hi­bi­tion Cen­tre was any in­di­ca­tion, it’s set to stay that way.

That Aus­tralia now has a de­sign event it can be proud of cor­re­sponds with the fact we now have a de­sign in­dus­try to be proud of. To be fair we’ve had one for some time, but it feels as if the cul­tural cringe that shack­led us has fi­nally been laid to rest. We do things our way and the world is tak­ing note. Ear­lier this year, 11 Aus­tralian de­sign­ers showed at Mi­lan De­sign Week as part of the col­lec­tive Lo­cal De­sign (lo­calde­ The ex­hi­bi­tion re­ceived in­ter­na­tional ac­claim and rightly so. One of the Aussie de­sign­ers, Jon Goul­der, had his stun­ning Set­tlers chair snapped up by US fur­ni­ture brand BDDW, and sev­eral other de­sign­ers’ works were ac­quired by Lon­don’s Mint gallery.

But as im­por­tant as global recog­ni­tion is, our de­sign in­dus­try needed a good shop win­dow at home. Previous de­sign fairs were ham­pered by an out­dated need to al­ter­nate be­tween Syd­ney and Mel­bourne, thus never gain­ing ground in ei­ther city. Since its 2015 launch, DENFAIR has stayed loyal to its Mel­bourne ori­gins and has quickly es­tab­lished it­self as our premier de­sign event. Al­most 8000 peo­ple vis­ited across three days to see a con­fi­dent port­fo­lio of 350 pri­mar­ily Aus­tralian de­sign brands, in­clud­ing heavy­weights Zuster, Ar­madillo & Co, Mud Aus­tralia and Be­douin So­ci­ete; new­com­ers such as Syd­ney’s Mr. Fräg Stu­dios (mr­ and Bris­bane’s jr.abel (jra­; and es­tab­lished re­tail­ers Cult, Ani­bou and Great Dane.

“We’re hum­bled by the rapid growth of DENFAIR,” says co-founder Thibaud Cau-ce­cile. “In our role as am­bas­sador for orig­i­nal Aus­tralian de­sign, we aim to be on the global de­sign cal­en­dar, and judg­ing by the in­ter­na­tional in­ter­est we’re well on the way. It’s in­spir­ing to see so many peo­ple pas­sion­ate about sup­port­ing orig­i­nal de­sign.”

And my favourite? I couldn’t go past Ade­laid­ian brand Daniel-emma’s sub­limely sim­ple Soft Chair ( And since you’re ask­ing, I’ll take it in pink.

AUS­TRALIA FAIR Lo­cal brands that dis­played their wares at DENFAIR 2017 in­clude (clock­wise from above left) Ar­madillo & Co; Be­douin So­ci­ete; DanielEmma (Neale’s hit chair); Zuster; Mud Aus­tralia.

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