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.

Open House Melbourne – MA picks

Melbournians! Open House bears down like a runaway train and the city is ready to show her hidden treaures and frilly architectural undergarments to a curious throng. Here’s a tiny sampler of the choicest Modernst Australian-infused picks (though we’d be partial to pretty much anything on the building/exhibition/concert menu this year) and let’s hear a cheer for a highlight of the year – huzzah for Open House!

First up is wonderful heritage stalwartds Prof. Hannah Lewi and Philip Goad presenting a floor talk at football o’clock (2pm saturday arvo)  walking us through thier new book ‘Australia Modern: Architecture, Landscape & Design’ and also dovetailing exhibition (for free!) presently on at the Melbourne Uni School of Design, ‘Australia Modern: from the iconic to the everyday.’ Discussing the genesis of this book with associated histories, homes and (possibly juicy) anecdotes, you could not be in more genial and enlightening Modernist hands.

‘Australian Modern: From The Iconic to The Everyday’  – Floor talk Saturday 27 July 2pm. Exibition 22nd July – 30th August.

Next up, a trip to the movies with the Open House month-long program for a collection of interviews and archival material from some of the greats of Melbourne’s Modernist architecture story including, but not limited to Daryl Jackson, Graeme Gunn, Phyllis Murphy and a fresh new view hearing from one of the lesser name-checked architects, Dione McIntye. As stated;
“You are invited to a special screening of the 2019 Modern Melbourne extended interview with Dione McIntyre, a University of Melbourne architecture graduate in the early 1950s, accomplished Melbourne architect, and Peter McIntyre’s business and life partner.”

‘Modern Melbourne’, Thursday 25th July. Booking essential.

And now a subject close to our heart with the public viewing of a landmark apartment building which stands sentinel of what we call ‘Marvellous Migrant Melbourne Modernism’, Edgewater Towers in St Kilda (c.1961). Presiding over Mid-Century Melbourne’s bohemian beachfront, start of the bagel beltway and concentrated cluster of some of the most majestically designed and crafted residences in the nation. With its 13 shining storeys, this urbane tower is a burst of high-density sophistication unseen in this sleepy outpost until ushered in by our European diaspora with names like Mordechai Benshemesh, Harry Seidler and Neville Gruzman. Tres chic. Quelle Magnifique.

Edgewater Towers, St Kilda. Saturday 27 July 10am–4pm, with tours on the half hour. 

To finish, we go West where the future lies and the suburbs venture to the horizon. Here we have the council chambers for the City of Hobson’s Bay (c.1963) through which we see, in its optomistic, science-focused outlook in architectural form and engineering, a still utilised for original purpose building to this day. That is a rare feat for a local public building in an embryonic suburb at the time. 

Hobson’s Bay City Council Chambers. Open Saturday 27 July 10am–2pm. Self guided visits.

Iwanoff captured – an exhibition.

Perth Modernists this month is yours, for as well as being able to peruse a current Iwan Iwanoff residence on the market in Menora, accomplished architectural photographer Jack Lovel is holding a celluloid celebration of the man and his works, opening on the 20th of this month! Get on down to There Is Studio in Northbridge to see ‘The Architecture of Iwan Iwanoff – through the lens of Jack Lovel’  for 10 days only.

“The Architecture of Iwan Iwanoff – through the lens of Jack Lovel”
There Is Studio
49 Stuart St, Northbridge (Cnr. Fitzgerald St)
Open 10-3pm daily
June 20-30


The art of Australian Modernist suburbia

With the rise of Mid-Century Modernist architecture in the wider cultural gaze of Australia and our recent past, it comes as no surprise to see a dovetailing ascent of such buildings as the subject in Australian fine art. The results show up in the galleries and socials, with varying degrees of acumen and creative skill.
The beautiful paintings of Eliza Gosse, to our minds, are a lovely example with her architectural background informing the arrangement and lines, and the washed out tonal quality of her painting a distinct reading of memory and reminiscence.
Presently the artist is working toward a new exhibition (slated for this August at May Space Gallery) which will depict Australian MCM homes of suburbia coupled with quotes of childhood recollections, in a set of wry and engaging works.
Below, a few examples have been imparted to us for a sneek peak. 

The artist is currently seeking more homes and stories within her intent:
“… to humanise these buildings and raise awareness for the place they have in Australia’s history.”
And so to those of you lucky enough to have spent formative years in a swingin’, savvy or simple Modernist home across the country, here is your invitation to contact the artist and possibly have a little slice of your own MCM history documented within a work of art and collection of of stories.

*Eliza Gosse is here, contact her with your great tales of MCM childhood homes.

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. 

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!