Big Design Market 2013

Big Design Market 2013

By Ella Bourke


 Do you hear that? It’s the sound of 220 makers and designers putting the kettle on and sitting down with an exhausted yet satisfied collective sigh. Melbourne’s Big Design Market  has just wrapped up for another year. When we dropped by last Saturday afternoon, the punters were three-deep, foraging and picking through the stalls like design hungry chickens. If you missed it and are freaking out about what to get Uncle Larry for Christmas or need a little ‘self gift’ for not swearing at your boss at the Christmas party, don’t worry you can still buy a lot of the great stuff online via the designer directory. We’ve even done the legwork for you, by whittling down hundreds of products to our five favourite things. You’re welcome.


Beth-Emily, Bec’s Hummingbird, 2010. Image courtesy of Beth-Emily.

 1. Beth-Emily’s bird prints

Beth-Emily  takes birds very seriously. A naturalist, illustrator and artist, the detail of her pencil and graphite lines display a scientific attention to detail. But these are no field-book sketches and the use of watercolour and gouache, contribute a depth and a sense of movement that is very expressive. The King Fisher’s and Hummingbird’s tails feathers are rendered with such glamorous and colourful flourish that they could be on their way to black-tie avian ball. There are also pensive Birds of Paradise and a cautious Spotted Pardalote. But, it’s the unassuming Gang Gang Cockatoo with a glint in his eye that gets a gold star from us.

2. PLANKS by Green Hat Workshop

PLANKS by Green Hat Workshop. Image courtesy of Green Hat Workshop.

2. PLANKS by Green Hat Workshop

Remember when you were a kid and you could lose a whole day building a fort out of couch cushions?  Well, these little lengths of wood inspire us with the same sense of gleeful possibility and adventure. Simple construction blocks, PLANKS are designed to spark the imagination through creative play. Just quietly, we also think they’re a great way to hook kids on the joys of wood and design.

3. GET-SHIT-DONE-poster-watermelon by Mi Goals


‘Get Shit Done’ poster by Mi Goals. Image courtesy of Mi Goals.

 3. ‘Get shit done’ poster by Mi Goals

There’s something sublime about that first flicker of soft consciousness when waking. Everything is quiet and the strands of your subconscious seem to magically weave into real threads of thought with no effort whatsoever. It’s soft and easy and sweet and makes us want to stay in bed all day. Which is why we sometimes need a reminder to….well, get up and get shit done. Luckily the lovely gents at Mi Goals have released this cheeky ‘Get shit done’ poster in a cheerful watermelon hue, which makes us want to be productive in a summery, happy way. You might even catch us whistling.

4. Zaishu-Ash-Keating

Zaishu slot together art seat / table with artwork by visual artist Ash Keating. Image courtesy of Zaishu.


4. Zaishu slot together art seat / table

If you have ever lived in a small space, you will know the deep satisfaction of discovering a well-designed piece of furniture that serves multiple purposes. Zaishus serve as seats, tables and art pieces. How’s that for a functional trifecta?  Using printed plywood varnished to a hardy finish, Matthew Butler collaborates with artists to produce slot-together furniture featuring their work.  We tip our hat to Ash Keating who, although known for his large-scale works like West Park proposition , still manages to evoke a sense of expanse in this much more compact form. At $395AUD, the price is a little steep if you’re looking for a mere stool but quite a steal for a piece of art.

5. Handbalm by leif

Kakadu Plum & Macadamia Nut Hand Balm by leif. Image courtesy of leif

5. Kakadu Plum & Macadamia Nut Hand Balm by leif

For makers, designers, woodworkers and crafters, calloused hands are our most used and precious tools of trade. A somewhat hardened hand shows dedication and commitment to the craft. But other people may not appreciate this. Your significant other may recoil when lovingly touched by outstretched dinosaur-like mits. Turns out callouses are not cool for caressing! So remember to take care of your hands, just like you take care of your tools. This Kakadu Plum & Macadamia Nut Hand Balm  has a warm, earthy fragrance that is androgynous enough to swing both ways. The packaging is similarly fuss-free, with not a flower in sight. Let’s not mince words. It’s brown. A very nice brown.


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