Design:Made:Trade was a welcome addition to the State of Design line-up this year… the 4-day trade event took place last Thursday 17th – Sunday 20th at the Exhibition Building in Carlton, and was also open to the public on the Sunday. The idea for this new event is to showcase Australia’s small manufacturers, product designers, and design makers. The event was specifically created for designers seeking collaboration with manufacturers, retail and export buyers. Lots of great independent design was on show, some I’d seen before, but also some really interesting new companies I wasn’t aware of.

The best thing about Design:Made:Trade is that it separates these smaller design firms from the sprawling Furnitex/Decoration + Design event, giving them a more specialised environment in which to show their work.

Also I loved the design of the exhibition itself – cardboard fold-out booths gave it a low-fi, sustainable feel (although… I’m not sure what happened to all that cardboard afterwards!… I hope it got recycled.)

*update – Just heard from Melbourne-based design house Buro North, who are responsible for the excellent exhibition design at D:M:T. They have confirmed that all materials used in the project were recycled after the event, in collaboration with VISY. (see comments below) Wicked.

Highlights below:

Samantha Parsons of Studio Sam chats to visitors

Studio Sam products – above, Siena the book block table (available from Format Furniture) below, custom-embellished plates created by Samantha for the Eat Green Design event

Stunning textured wallpapers by Ilias, inspired by braille. I love the colours and the flocking – also he’s branching into rugs and showed the first rug in his range.

New typography/graphic design company The Foundry showed some beautiful simple printed products, with as much emphasis on well-researched content as aesthetic appeal. In particular I loved the ‘produce in season’ wall chart… I’ll write more about The Foundry next week – I think they deserve a post of their own!

The Foundry‘s ‘produce in season’ wallchart

Yellow Diva‘s striking pieces

Marc Pascal‘s colourful hand-made lights

It was lovely to meet Volker Haug in person after interviewing him a while ago for this site! He was so nice and friendly… wish I had more time to chat! (I was frantic as usual getting all my photos…) He showed a small selection of his fantastic lighting range…

Tractor Home had a gorgeous stand full of hand-made treasures from South Africa… including some of superstar South African designer Heath Nash‘s work. Nash makes his pieces from discarded plastics, combining different colours to create the most fantastic homewares and lights… I must visit the Tractor Home retail store! Stunning stuff.