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Adam & Arthur portrait, image by Pier Carthew

Melbourne Design Week Award

The Melbourne Design Week Award presented by Mercedes-Benz is an annual prize awarded for an outstanding contribution to Australia’s largest international design event.

The winner receives peer recognition among the local and international design community, and a cash prize thanks to Major Partner, Mercedes-Benz. The winner is selected from the program that most resonantly responds to the theme of Melbourne Design Week.

2024 winner – A&A

Australian industrial designer Adam Goodrum and French marquetry artisan Arthur Seigneur are this year’s award recipients. Adam and Arthur (A&A) have been recognised for their outstanding contribution to the Design Week program and the Australian design industry. Adam’s designs for furniture and surface pattern have been skillfully realised with Arthur, who brings masterful expertise in straw marquetry. Working in collaboration since 2017, together they produce contemporary furniture pieces that embody the cultural and historical significance of centuries-old craft techniques, all while maintaining a resolutely contemporary aesthetic. Straw marquetry is a highly specialised technique that appeared in Europe by the 1600s. Using premium-grade rye straw imported from speciality growers in Burgundy, France, Arthur applies thousands of small coloured straw sections to a timber substrate to create the patterned veneer surfaces appearing in A&A’s one-of-a-kind works.

For Melbourne Design Week 2024, A&A have produced their most ambitious work to date, The Kissing Cabinet. On display at Melbourne’s Tolarno Galleries, The Kissing Cabinet illustrates A&A’s ongoing interest in mechanical furniture, made popular in the 1800s. Traditionally, such pieces encompassed cabinets, desks and bookcases, often featuring concealed chambers that merged design, engineering, and craftsmanship. A&A’s cabinet is more than a homage; it unfolds as it turns inside out to reveal a hidden compartment before closing in the form of ‘kissing lips’.

2023 winner – Paula Savage

Paula Savage, is a senior Mualgal artist from Moa Island in the Torres Strait renowned for her ability to bring to life the enduring traditional material practices of her cultural heritage. During Melbourne Design Week 2023, Savage presents three extraordinary works at the Melbourne Design Fair on display as part of the FOCUS exhibition, which brings to attention the skills and conceptual prowess of five accomplished Australian female designers. Savage was selected to display works in the FOCUS exhibition through her accomplishment in melding an array of creative practices: weaving, tie-dying, carving and jewellery making.

2022 winner – Revival Projects, led by Robbie Neville  

Revival Projects was awarded for its exhibition Zero Footprint Repurposing. The building company, led by Robbie Neville, set up one of the world’s first free repurposing hubs during MDW: at the location in Collingwood, the design and construction industry can use the space to store demolished materials while associated developments come to life and repurposing becomes possible. The exhibition in the space for MDW, inspired designers to adopt simple re-use and recycle policies, and aimed to influence legislative change by advocating for a legal framework that obliges developers and designers to handle existing materials responsibly. 

2021 winner – A New Normal, curated by Finding Infinity

The exhibition, A New Normal, curated by Finding Infinity, exhibited fifteen ideas by Melbourne’s leading architects and designers to transform Greater Melbourne into a self-sufficient city by 2030.

2020 winner – Georgia Nowak and Eugene Perepletchikov

Georgia Nowak and Eugene Perepletchikov won the inaugural Mercedes Benz Design Week award in 2020 for their work Aurum, which explored their complex relationship with gold through the medium of film. It has since been acquired by the National Gallery of Victoria.

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