Griffith was the only Australian university invited to exhibit at Beijing Design Week, which provides a platform for cutting-edge work by the world’s most exciting designers.
A global platform for design
Queensland College of Art Director Professor Derrick Cherrie said Griffith’s involvement provided a unique opportunity for the University to showcase the depth of its design expertise.
“Griffith has great strengths in design and creative arts practice, having recently been ranked number one in Australia,” he said.
“The Queensland College of Art display will include a range of exciting work from our research students, highlighting the talent of the next generation of Australian designers.
“Beijing Design Week attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors and provides a wonderful opportunity for our young designers to come together with their Chinese and international counterparts and reflect on design in a global context.”
From superfood to manufacturing material
The QCA’s emerging designers were asked to respond to this year’s theme for Beijing Design Week: food.
Natasha Dennis and Elvira Sebegatoullina have transformed seaweed from a superfood into a manufacturable material. They have used delicate Nori sheets, typically used to create sushi rolls, to create a range of beautiful 3D print and lasercut objects.
The partners in design, both Honours students at the QCA, have also created a colourful acrylic lighting display inspired by the shapes and form of seaweed.
“Our work is inspired by the natural world, and we are really interested in experimenting with sustainable materials and new manufacturing techniques,” said Elvira.
“With this installation, we have used digital fabrication methods to reveal the seaweed’s design capabilities – the end result actually looks a little bit like traditional Chinese paper cuttings.”
Natasha will travel to Beijing to install the work and said she was thrilled to have the opportunity to exhibit work overseas.
“We are so lucky to have access to a whole range of technology that is pushing the boundaries.
“To have the chance to go out into the real world and show our work is amazing.
“It’s great to be able to follow through from the initial design concept to fabrication and installation.”
Combining craft practices and new technologies
Bachelor of Digital Media Honours student Shari Lyons has created bespoke dinnerware that combines natural materials and new technology.
The one-of-a-kind bowls fuse Australian hardwoods and 3D manufacturing technologies.
” I wanted to demonstrate the potential of combining new and old craft practices and materials,” she said.
“I love using local materials to create handmade designs, and then incorporate beautiful 3D print elements.”
Augmented reality bites
Graphic design honours student Christopher Bambury will present an augmented reality mural where visitors will have a chance to throw a ‘prawn on the barbie’.
“I have a passion for hand lettering and typography, and to combine that with augmented reality was a chance to explore something new and exciting,” he said.
“It’s about taking analogue skills into a digital future.”
After exhibiting their products at Beijing Design Week, ten undergraduate students will travel to Beijing and learn first-hand about the international design industry in China. This opportunity has been funded by New Colombo Plan grants.
Flying fruit and high-tech fabrication
Beijing Design Week will also be an opportunity for Griffith to reveal its growing expertise in interactive media.
There will be a giant interactive display of ‘flying fruit’ and virtual reality headsets that will give Chinese visitors a taste of Australia. Designers Andrew Brown, Paul Bardini and Scott Roberts will be in Beijing to introduce visitors to the latest interactive technologies being pioneered at the Queensland College of Art.
Queensland College of Art PhD candidates will also present a range of cutting-edge work. Natalie Haskell has pursued her interest in digital fabrication technologies with a range of vessels for microgreen growing. Fellow PhD candidate Kaecee Fitzgerald will display her unique dinnerware series inspired by Australian Bush Tucker. Grace Keidge and Chris Little have created lightweight fruit using 3D scanning and modelling software to reconceptualise fruit forms.
The Griffith University display will also feature graphic design elements created by Rae Cooper, Alejandra Ramirez Vidal, Fiona Wang and Liveworm, the QCA’s in-house design studio.
Beijing Design Week runs from 26 September to 5 October.