2020 kicked off to a bit of an unexpected start for the TDF team. After the devastating bushfires of Summer 2019/20, we leapt into action in January to launch Art Fights Fire – an online art auction to raise funds for the Country Fire Association and WIRES Wildlife Rescue. We initially aimed to raise $50,000 in 7 days… but, like most things we do, this project quickly grew bigger than our initial vision! With the unbelievable support of all of you, not to mention the extraordinary generosity of over 40 participating artists – we raised over $160,000 for bushfire relief. And that was only January!
Things calmed down momentarily, but then March came along… and… well, we all know what happened next. When the Pandemic hit Australia, like so many of you, we felt a little bewildered. And TBH, it was super weird posting our usual content at such an unsettling time. So, to document some of this crazy shared experience amongst our community, we launched ‘Times Like These‘ – a new weekly column featuring the impacts of the Pandemic on the work and personal lives of a variety of different creatives. Penned by our talented Managing Editor Sally Tabart, this column provides such a sensitive and fascinating snapshot in time – can you even believe how much our lives have changed since March?
Our Sustainable Homes series was another highlight of this year. We were super proud to partner with Bank Australia to share a series of really varied Australian homes that prioritise low environmental impact. From country homes, to inner city apartments, this series was full of surprises, and really proved that living in a sustainable home is more accessible that you might think. We’ll be sharing more sustainable homes next year – watch this space!
Would you believe that 2020 was our most successful year ever at TDF Collect? True story. Despite our gallery being closed to the public almost all year, and endless uncertainty around lockdown restrictions, we hosted six truly incredible exhibitions (without visitors), and sold out almost every show! Thankyou SO MUCH for supporting these incredible artists. The highlight of these was ‘Different Sorta Colour‘ – a group show bringing together five incredible female artists from the Pilbara and Kimberley region of WA, co-curated by Spinifex Hill Studio.
Another HUGE project this year was the second annual TDF+ Laminex Design Awards! Like everything in 2020, our unique awards program pivoted to an online ceremony this year. It really stretched us to our limit figuring out how to produce this event under very different circumstances (and with tight restrictions on most photography and videography!), but with the help of our amazing team, the generosity of our judges, and a host of different videographers across Australia, the awards presentation went off without a hitch on November 5th (you can revisit the online Awards ceremony here). Phew – what a feat!
It’s worth mentioning the incredible representation of First Nations creatives in our Awards program, and across The Design Files more generally this year. Projects involving First Nations creatives accounted for around 10% of our Design Awards 2020 finalists, and three out of ten winners involved First Nations creatives too! We were especially thrilled to publish this story by Ngugi woman, artist and weaver Elisa Carmichael, to shed some light on the incredible design projects drawing on the skills of First Nations artists and designers right now, across Australia.
And finally… despite the challenges of 2020, we were endlessly encouraged by the strength of our community. In a year so full of uncertainty and anxiety, we experienced a huge increase in readers, followers and engagement – and according to Instagram (if you believe what they tell you!), our Instagram channel alone recieved 1.5 MILLION likes over the past twelve months. Woah. That’s a whole lot of love-hearts – THANKYOU!
Honestly though, this whole thing really isn’t about us… it’s about you. A huge, huge thankyou to YOU, our loyal community, for tuning in to TDF each day, for reading our emails, downloading our podcasts, and double-tapping our instagram pics! We’re endlessly grateful for your support and enthusiasm, and can’t wait to bring you many more beautiful homes, interiors, studio visits and creative stories, podcasts, events and exhibitions in 2021. Bring it on!