Rigg Design Prize 2015

September 11, 2015

Recognising excellence in contemporary Australian design, the Rigg Design Prize is the highest accolade for object and furniture design in Australia.

Above image: Koskela and Elcho Island Arts Yuta Badayala lamp shades 2015, Gold and brass plating, bush string, pandanus digital visualisation.

Recognising excellence in contemporary Australian design, the Rigg Design Prize is the highest accolade for object and furniture design in Australia. Awarded to a designer with outstanding creative achievements, the triennial prize is a reflection of the National Gallery of Victoria’s commitment to contemporary, art, design and architecture. The invitational award, formerly the Cicely and Colin Rigg Contemporary Design Award, was established in 1994 to support contemporary craft and design practice in Victoria. In 2015, the new look prize extends to include a selection of designers from around Australia.

Curated by the recently established NGV Department of Contemporary Design and Architecture, the Rigg Design Prize 2015 showcases a significant body of work from seven outstanding designers. Identified for producing some of the most interesting and compelling object and furniture design in Australia today, the participants are Daniel and Emma, Adam Goodrum, Korban Flaubert, Khai Liew, Koskela in collaboration with the weavers of Elcho Island Arts, Brodie Neill and Kate Rohde.

In the landscape of design prizes in Australia, the Rigg Design Prize is unique, championing design as both cultural practice and cultural production. In contrast to other notable design prizes, this award focuses on Australian design practitioners pursuing artistic conversations; developing their own design and material processes; contextualising their work in relation to design history and the present; and enhancing the perception of contemporary design practice in Australia.

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Daniel Emma, Mish Mash armchair, Tic Tac canisters and Cherry on the Bottom, pendant light, 2013, photo Sean Fennessy


NGV and Rigg Design Prize 2015 curator Simone LeAmon says of the designers in the Prize:

‘Each has forged a distinguishable approach to designing and making furniture and objects. The participants deliver a picture of contemporary Australian design that is highly creative and accomplished. These types of design practices are immensely valuable – they serve to enhance the perception of contemporary design practice in Australia. As like artists, contemporary designers are conscious of their creative potential and apply it to explore ideas and contemporary issues. They use design to inquire, experiment, test and propose things for the world. This type of activity is central to any design culture wishing to be recognised.

When you think about it (seriously) every thing designed reflects a way of thinking – everything made reflects a way of doing. As a curator I am interested in understanding how designing and making in a time reflects upon the designer, society and the world at large. In this sense, design is cultural production – like art, and like art there are many different types of design. More people are viewing design in this way.

The judges for the Rigg Design Prize 2015 are Gijs Bakker (The Netherlands) and Wava Carpenter (USA).

The Rigg Design Prize 2015
NGV Australia
18 September 2015 – 7 February 2016

The Rigg Design Prize is generously supported by the Cicely & Colin Rigg Bequest, managed by Equity Trustees

  • Eli Giannini September 19th, 2015 8:25 pm

    If the selection of designers truly represents the best in design in Australia the we are in trouble! Daniel Emma seem to have reinvented Memphis but the work is not humorous or surprising as the original, it’s just twee, Koskela’s crude design sits very uncomfortably with the beautiful weaving of the Elcho Island artists, some of the other rooms show some great some not so great works. The Kate Rhodes and Goodrum rooms being the exception. The NGV needs to get a more solid curatorial and selection process if it wants to maintain the prestige of the award

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