Image from the ‘INDEX : design to improve life’ award exhibition in Copenhagen 2007 – these acrylic bubbles will be on display in and around Federation Square as part of the Melbourne International Design Festival 2008. Photos by Jessica Haye and Clark Hsiao. Found on the INDEX Flickr site.

It’s the calm before the storm this week… in just over a weeks time Design Festival overload will descend on Melbourne in the form of the Melbourne International Design Festival (hosted by the National Design Centre at Federation Square), which runs simultaneously with the State Government funded State of Design Festival.

There is seriously SO MUCH fantastic stuff scheduled for both of these concurrent festivals that I’m not sure quite how I will cover it all! July looks set to be a really exciting, exhausting month!

One thing I’m really excited about this year is that I’ll be writing for the Melbourne International Design Festival blog! Yes I am an official contributer – how professional :) So bookmark the MIDF blog for daily updates of all design-related happenings leading up to and during the festival.

…and because it’s almost impossible to decide what to go and see, I’ve put together a bit of a short-list of my top picks for the 2008 Melbourne International Design Festival… See my suggestions below, but be sure to check out the National Design Centre website for detailed info on all MIDF events.

Patrick Blanc’s Vertical Garden in the Melbourne CBD
I mentioned this a few days ago… it’s the most anticipated event of the festival for me! If you can’t get along to the Patrick Blanc lecture at Fed Square on July 18th (only $10 –
book here!)… be SURE to check out his vertical garden installation at Melbourne Central from July 17.

Melbourne Design Market
Always popular, always busy, this year’s Melbourne Design Market is set to explode as usual… the usual mix of emerging and established designers join forces to present a design market of spectacular proportions. Jewellery, homewares, fashion, and lighting will be amongst the wares on offer. This year the market takes place on
Sunday 20th July, 10am-5pm at the Federation Square undercover carpark. Entry is free. My advice – get there early, and bring cash!

Melbourne Open House
Melbourne Open House is a free of charge event on Sunday, July 20th, 10am – 5pm (again!), giving Melburnians a rare opportunity to discover the hidden architectural details of the CBD not often visible to the public.

Melbourne Open House will be opening a selection of inspiring buildings within walking distance of Federation Square and the Melbourne International Design Festival. Taking part in the event are many prominent Melbourne buildings, including the beautiful art deco Manchester Unity building, the ever-popular Nicholas Building and the new Council House 2 on Flinders Lane – that’s the one with the 6-star sustainability rating and those fantastic timber slatted shutters on the facade? You know the one. I am really excited about that one.

The incredible facade of ‘Council House 2′ in Melbourne – images via Picasa

INDEX award exhibition – Design to Improve Life
The international design award INDEX will stage its first major exhibition outside Denmark for MIDF, encircling Federation Square with 70+ acrylic bubbles, each one a showcase for products and projects from all disciplines of design, with the theme of ‘design to improve life’.

As an installaton, the ‘bubbles’ look fantastic en masse… the shots below are from the INDEX award exhibition in Copenhagen last year. These bubbles will be installed all over Fed Square and surrounding areas this week, and will be in place until the end of the month… can’t wait to see them!

Image from the ‘INDEX : design to improve life’ award exhibition in Copenhagen 2007 – Photos by Jessica Haye and Clark Hsiao. Found on the INDEX Flickr site.

So those are my picks for MIDF…. but there are so many more! I haven’t even touched on the always popular ‘pop-up’ events around town… or the ‘studio open’ events which allow the curious (like me!) to snoop behind the scenes at some of Melbourne’s most innovative design studios from all disciplines. Aagggh. too. much. to. see.

(Tomorrow I’ll balance things out with a short-list for the equally anticipated State of Design festival.)