Design Now! is the national design graduate exhibition, presented by Sydney’s Object Gallery and sponsored by Living Edge. It’s at the Melbourne Museum until October 5th, and is situated in a gallery adjacent to the Bombay Sapphire Design Discovery Award on the first floor of the Museum.

The exhibition is small but extremely varied… spanning fashion design, architecture, industrial design, animation, wallpaper illustration and furniture design. Delicate handcrafted glassware by Louisa Vilde and Lee Mathers actually border on fine art… and seem a little out of place I must admit. Similarly, Viktor Legin’s domestic water meter and Benjamin Campbell Forsyth’s Molecular Diagnoistic Device(!) were both incredible examples of engineering achievement… but.. in all honesty… weren’t much to look at from a design perspective and seemed a little incongruous with the rest of the show…

Still, there were some stand-put pieces. Denae Trickey (great name!) from RMIT showed some incredible clothing designs. Her ‘Lifepod’ jacket and bodice (pictured) are designed with intricate origami-style folds to create a sense of containment and sanctuary for the wearer. Interesting concept and cleverly executed.

Denae Trickey’s ‘Lifepod’ jacket and bodice

Sian Power’s illustrated ‘Hidden Nature’ wallpapers, stole the show… her ‘Poppy’ print featured on much of the exhibition’s promotional material and signage, and she is also recipient of the Living Edge Travelling Scholarship award. The ‘Poppy’ wallpaper design combines illustration and photographic elements, referencing images of death, decay and regeneration. Her bright poppies burst against a smoky backdrop of gothic imagery… it’s a really effective and well balanced composition – and almost reminds me of a more macabre version of Florence Broadhurst‘s stunning red Poppy print (under ‘floral collection’ in the wallpaper section). More info on Sian’s work here (on the Living Edge Blog). She’s one to watch!

Sian Power’s stunning ‘Hidden Nature’ Wallpapers

Karin Colpani’s Something to Write Home About (2007) again seems more of an art piece than a form of functional design… although I do like her concertina book made from postcards, which addresses notions of home and place through the correspondence of others.

Design Now! was again designed with a low-tech (and presumably low budget!) aesthetic. Cardboard boxes and plywood ‘palettes’ form recycled display shelving for exhibits of all kinds.