Modernist Australia X Garage Sale Trail

We interrupt regular programming this morning to get behind one of the great recent events in the national calander: Garage Sale Trail. We hold no doubt that many of you (as we do) come from a mindset of reusing, recycling and a steadfast rejection of planned obsolescence. Garage sales, op-shop hunting and hard rubbish fossicking are the undisputed the gateway drug through which many find their first love of brilliant design and Mid-Cenutry aesthetics. That lamp/ashtray/coffee table/LP/Tretchikoff print you picked up cheaply years ago second hand, a humble introduction to an entire world of deisgn, creators and philosophies from which we’ll (gladly) never recover.

 

 

Garage Sale Trail 2019 seeks to celebrate this underrated happenstance of community spirit, recycling and treasure hunting with its growing listing of 18,000 sales events and nearly half a million participants over one single weekend – October 19th/20th. What could possibly get the spine tingling more than spotting garage sale after garage sale, lining your streets on a springtime Saturday/Sunday morning? 
You can get involved as a seeker or register your own sale on the Grage Sale Trail website – all for free. You’ll get a little marketing help and can even dedicated it as your own charity event – wins all round!

 

 

We’ll be opening up the socials today for a chat fest, posing the question: what is the most valuable – sentimental, financial or historical – find you’ve ever made at a garage sale? We have a few, though nothing will compare to a mate unwittingly buying 2 x leather Falcon Chairs (Vatne Mobler, 1970s) at $10 a pop at a regional sububan garage sale, just becuase she liked the look of them!

 

Garage Sale Trail 2019 is on 19th/20th October.
Register your own grage sale for the big weekend here.

Robin Boyd – A Centenary of Design

It would be very remiss of us to not remind you all about the entire year of celebratory events the Robin Boyd Foundation has locked and loaded in for 2019. In celebration and homage for Australian architecture’s largest luminaries, in what would be his 100th year (if he hadn’t exited the building far too early) this long-play birthday party includes everything from house tours, topic expert speakers, exhibitions, films nights, concerts, commemorative stamps (did you get yours?) and discussion panels (perhaps including a special guest appearance from us!).

Boyd’s enduring and expanding legacy is reflected in this program with a myriad of community partners coming onboard to help celebrate including Parks Victoria, The National Trust, Australian Institute of Architects (Vic), Melbourne and Monash Universities, The State Library and Open House Melbourne and in varied locations from ground zero at his Walsh Street house in South Yarra to Shepparton, Koroit to Sydney and Adelaide.

Over the coming months we’ll be cherry picking a few of these events to highlight in detail. But in the meantime, get over to the Boyd Foundation’s dedicated program page, peruse the offerings and book in before it’s sold out.

Canberra Modern is back!

The closest we get to Palm Spring Modernism Week, in terms of celebrating our own MCM heritage en masse with plenty of home tours, guest speakers and cocktail mixers to loosen our learned minds – Canberra Modern – is back! Starting next week (13th April – 5th May) you’ll have so many choices to make. Do you set out to absorb the indigenous, Modernist housing dream in situ at Urambi Village with the architect himself, Michael Dysart as guide (we listed a home in sister development Wybalena Grove just last year)? Do you get your fash on with the Marion Hall Best exhibition or Marimekko talk (oops – already sold out!)? 

Do you check out Rosso in full suburban flight in his Design Nation show? Or (our particular fav this year) get on the bus and stop at Canberra’s collection of iconic Modern bus stops with artist Trevor Dickinson? In any case, and with any MCM taste, there is a little somethin’ – somethin’ for you all and we’d suggest for East – coasters a road trip should be in order to really soak in all up (along with a dirty martini or four at Robin Boyd’s Manning Clarke House c.1952).
Check the website for the full program and ticket purchases and remember after all there’s no Australian Modern quite like Canberra Modern.

Modern Events pt 2. “Design for Life: Grant and Mary Featherston” at Heide

Next up on the event trail is a new exhibition about to open that MCM progressive laboratory, known otherwise Heide, tracing the life and work of our most celebrated designer couple Grant and Mary Featherston.
‘Design for Life: Grant and Mary Featherston’ (showing 30th June – 7th October) will display an all encompassing selection of work – not just the famous furniture but also promotional design, sculpture and photography and offers a wonderfully documented take on the Twentieth Century evolution at a local level, showcasing the creative lives so inspired and what it really meant to be ‘Modern’ back in the day.

Modern Events pt 1. “Mid Century Modern Curated” at Outre Gallery

For those of you wanting to take your love of all thing Modern outside a while there is a bouquet of MCM focused events coming up to pick from (sorry Australia, they are all in Melbourne for some reason). What better time to experience primo winter Melbourne; coffee, handsome folk in warms coats, endless music, bowls of warm pasta and this? So, get out there gang and rub shoulders with your fellow enthusiasts, who knows what you might learn or who you may meet!

First up – this Friday night our bosom buddies Outre Gallery are opening “Mid Century Modern Curated”, a multi disciplined and many faceted ensemble of Mid-Century Modern artworks and designs. Including original futuristic lithographs by designer Syd Mead, Alexander Girard wooden dolls, Mid-Cenutry Australian architectural renderings and a very special selection of original Scandinavian painting and prints from sister space – Gallery Midlandia. Get down there, enjoy the surprises and perhaps find that singular piece for your little Mod home.

 

Architectural rendering by Harry Divola (Australian) early 1960s. 

Big Night Out – Let’s Talk MCM Heritage Panel with MA!

Image: Buchanan House, by Wolfgang Sievers, Pictures Collection State Library of Victoria.

 

The Australian Heritage Festival, brought about by the National Trust in conjunction with interested organisations from across the entire continent is on the horizon. With the theme of My Culture, My Story as the focus you are able to take part as a presenter or participant of over 1000 events; from Botany Beyond Banks in Bentley(WA), Heroes and Villains in the Hunter (NSW) or  Deadly Didge ‘n’ Dance on Palm Island (QLD) as mere examples –  there’s too much to take in. That said, dear readers, we know why you’re here so please indulge our own trumpet serenade with a very special Melbourne Modernist event happening on Thursday May 17th in the MCM bosom of The Beaumaris Bowls Club:  Let’s Talk MCM Heritage – An Expert Panel Discussion.’
Proudly presented by Beaumaris Modern and featuring the astute executive director of Open House Melbourne Emma Talford as moderator, we shall navigate the questions, conflicts and opinion with a panel of some serious heavy hitting locals including master architect and educator Peter McIntyre, renowned academic and author Philip Goad, accomplished architect and presenter of Grand Designs Australia Peter Maddison and…….us. The Legend, the Professor, the TV star and MA – it’s all very Gilligan’s Island and with drinks at bowls club prices and red-hot passion for Mid-Century Architecture on the table who knows where we’ll end up!

Tickets go on pre-sale, then regular sale, next week (top tip- if you join Beaumaris Modern you can get the pre-sale tickets and cheaper!). So keep your diaries marked and the babysitter locked in for a chance to say hello to us and a host of like minded others on one very special night in a May – see you there!

 

 

Design week @ The ICI Building

Weee! Melbourne Design Week is almost here and with it comes a brain singeing list of events, tours and talks – all ready to provoke and please the soul. We could spend hours combing over the joy catalogued in the daily calendar, from chats about begining an architecture practice, to word nerds and Marimekko in Bendigo (now there is two words you never thought you’d see together) but getting back to our Mid-Century Modernist form we’d like to advise there is but one show left of a sell out series of Tim Ross and Kit Warhurst’s comedy and architectural fanboy shenanigans Man About The House, and this time it’s in the illustrious ICI Building, indeed a venerable place of worship in the Australian Modernist sphere. With reportedly a bunch of extra extras including installations of film and furniture, this particular round of Rosso is a dead-set love-in of the MCM kind, to enjoy with like minded peeps.

Canberra Modern – a capital MCM celebration

If you didn’t already cop onto Canberra’s status as possibly our best city to explore Mid-Century design, including such architectural icons as the Australian Academy of Science AKA The Shine Dome, as well as a clutch of impressive domestic and public buildings from the cream of Australian architecture, including Robin Boyd, Roy Grounds, Harry Seidler and local luminary Enrico Taglietti then now is the time to explore  – Canberra Modern (as part of the Design Canberra Festival) has begun!

Canberra Modern (7-16 November) is an independent program of events being held during the Design Canberra festival 2017.  Canberra Modern was initially inspired by Palm Springs Modernism Week and spearheaded a small team of local heritage and design professionals. We hope to promote the appreciation and conservation of the unique mid-century modern places which make an irreplaceable contribution to Canberra’s unique historic urban and designed cultural landscape through fun and inspirational events such as walks, talks, a vintage market, a dinner and a martini masterclass that celebrate Canberra’s modernist soul.”

The Shine Dome (AKA The Martian Embassy) by architect Sir Roy Grounds (c.1965)


From joyful rubber necking on bus tours, Sunday market, Conversations with contemporary experts and living legends, The sublime winners of a MCM photography competition, An arvo spent with Rosso and his comic celebration of Modernism die-hardery, and, what we love the most, after a long day of talk and appreciation perhaps a chance for some good old fashioned martini soaked fun times and/or an ANU great hall dinner with fellow travellers – what more could you want?

 ‘Benjamin Residence’ Alex Jelinek (c.956). Photo: Darren Bradley.


Get onto all the events in the links, post haste as they are selling out fast! And of you wanna mix it up with a bit of house peeping – Check the clutch of Canberra listings we’ve just posted; from a nifty Seidler townhouse to a glamorous updated residence to the re-listing of a jaw dropping, cold-war diplomatic compound there is always a little something for everyone in our (design) capital.

 

An invitation for you – ‘The Fast Can’t Lose’

Your fix of MCM homes and all the browsing joy it entails would not exist without web mastermind – Peter Bakacs. It is his unending toil which ensures MA is always live, looking neat-o and that any IT snafus are fixed ASAP. But that’s not all. Pete has also been endlessly toiling on his own artwork, painting away night after day, to make his colour-filled, ‘toon culture world of cars and creatures comes alive. And this weekend he stars in his very first solo exhibition! So to all our dear Australian Modernists in Melbourne town and nearby, we hereby personally invite you to the opening night – this Friday at Outre Gallery Elizabeth St CBD – from 6pm to 8pm and peruse this gorgeous, flawless work in all it’s glory. Pop in and say hi to MA in person (oooh rare treat!), see some art and/or cosy up with a bunch of fine people doing the same. We love to seeyasthere!

Vermont Park Open Day

It’s been a while since we checked in on the Boyd Foundation’s bustling events calendar but this weekend is a particular ripper for those who revere progressive architecture but who, like us, are perpetually irked that civic planning and more highly conceived ideas for estate housing have completely fallen away amid the hoopla of real estate booms and urban growth.

Unlike today’s housing estates thrown up with the main focus of marketing events, shopping convenience and godawful street naming conventions (Mews? Passage? Way?) the heady experimental times of the 1970s saw several high-profile architects and building firms collaborating with other professionals in landscaping to deeply ponder the broader philosophies of community, movement, place, embracing the natural Australian environs and a push to develop housing tracts as a direct response. Winter park was one such ideological dream made real by Merchant Builders (originally founded by David Yencken and John Ridge) completed in 1974. This was followed up by the establishment of Vermont Park (confusingly in Nunawading) in 1977, a collaboration with Tract Consultants. As described in Architecture AU by Andrew Saniga:

“They converted a four-hectare site, formerly an orchard, into a residential complex of forty-three homes with shared access, open space and a community centre that had barbecues and a swimming pool. Tree preservation, new plantings and small garden spaces together gave the impression the houses were set in a forest.”
A community clubhouse! Perhaps a perfect, though unusual, marriage of exclusivity and communal space. Party down!

An open day this Sunday at Vermont Park, proudly presented by The Robin Boyd Foundation, offers us all a site-based insight into this project;

‘6 key houses from this award winning development will be open along with the residents shared Clubhouse All landscaped areas of the development open for exploration Exhibition panels showing Merchant Builders Chronology and exhibition catalogue on display Open Day insight catalogue provided to each attendee featuring essays from David Yencken.’

40 years on many of us pine for living options which offer such joys as rambling forests built for childhood adventures, community connection and natural bonds holding gorgeous, yet sustainable architecturally designed abodes. *Sigh* And though there is a new resurgence in architect led, community focused, residential developments such as Nightingale Housing it is truly a rare treat we get to look, inside and out, at a fully realised original.

For tickets check the Robin Boyd Foundation.