The Melbourne (Sydney, Berlin, Amsterdam and Zürich) Design Guide(s)

Art Press Release from Australia. Published by Rebecca Gabrielle Cannon on Tuesday 24 November 2009.

The Melbourne (Sydney, Berlin, Amsterdam and Zürich) Design Guide(s) image

Imagine a Yellow Pages for designers, crossed with a Lonely Planet for art, and you've got the Melbourne Design Guide in your hands.

This wonderful, triennial, pocket-sized reference book is an interesting hybrid developed to showcase the range of local design talent in Melbourne, who collectively contribute 7 billion AUD to the economy each year.

Published by Alphabet Press, with support from Design Victoria, the Melbourne Design Guide fuses two formats together to offer a guide both for cultural travellers (if you open one end of the book), and a directory of reputable design professionals (if you open the other end of the book).

As such, the book will be immensely useful both for local businesses and domestic consumers who want to find the best local architecture, furniture, objects, jewellery, industrial designers, fashion labels, web and graphic designers and design resources, as well as tourists to Melbourne who’d like to know which locations to check out to find our design output; key local fashion shops, galleries, architectural monuments and other quality design retailers.

The main competitive edge of this book is the way the content has been sourced. Rather than open the directory up to advertising, specialists on Melbourne’s cultural scene were invited to submit their recommendations. Upon careful scrutiny I was happy to find all my favourite up-and-coming designers in there, gently nestled between the old guard of established, internationally-renown icons.

Each entry in the book has a couple of snappy paragraphs which deftly sum up the particular area of expertise of the designer/collective/studio/firm mentioned, with one of two of their key outputs also described. Many colour images decorate the listings as well.

Over all the guide is an incredibly easy read, more of a contemporary-historical overview than merely advertising. As a local I felt a lot of pride welling up reading about some of the design coming out of Melbourne, and it’s great to now have a reference on-hand when I want to check which architect or designer was behind some local icon. I’ll also be hunting down a few of the other projects I hadn’t heard of; in particular, as one of our many cyclists, I’ll be looking out for Rory Hyde and Scott Mitchell’s intelligent bike lights that display speed on the bicycle’s spokes.

Apparently Sydney has a design guide too, which I’ll be keen to get my hands on, and next year Berlin, Zürich and Amsterdam!

Both the Melbourne and Sydney design guides can be purchased online from Alphabet Press.

Melbourne Design Guide.
ISBN 978-1-74066-822-4
Edited by Vivianne Stappmanns.
Durable paperback.