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tent on Design Wall Melbourne

Hassell creates six metre-high Design Wall to showcase innovative products at NGV

Architecture firm Hassell has collaborated with the National Gallery of Victoria to create Design Wall 2023, a floor-to-ceiling installation partly made from reused materials from a previous exhibition.

Hassell created the Design Wall 2023 installation, which is on show at the National Gallery of Victoria's (NGV) Melbourne Now exhibition, to celebrate innovative product design from Melbourne.

Design Wall 2023 was curated by designer Simone LeAmon and seeks to demonstrate "how everyday goods can embody the qualities of place and the value of those who live there," Hassell told Dezeen.

Melbourne Now Design Wall
The Design Wall by Hassell is part of the Melbourne Now exhibition at the NGV

Thirty-five projects by twenty-five design studios are on show, spanning products across the homewares, healthcare, trade, sporting, furniture and lifestyle sectors.

These were divided into four themes: change and stability, localities and markets, process and proximity, and creative currents.

The wall was placed diagonally across the centre of the gallery, allowing the 35 products on display to be viewed from every angle so that visitors can discover and explore the design details, whilst being "immersed within the spectacle of mass-production".

Scaffolding and plywood panelling make up the Design Wall
Standard scaffolding and plywood panelling make up the Design Wall

Designed to be disassembled, the six-metre-high installation consists of a galvanised scaffold framework with raw ply inserts and reuses some of the materials from the inaugural Melbourne Now exhibition, which took place ten years ago.

"We wanted the Wall to speak the same language as the products it would showcase and so we looked to systems that were already in production and fixings that could be purchased off-the-shelf," Hassell associate Prue Pascoe said.

The Design Wall explores contemporary product design by local designers
The Design Wall explores contemporary product design by local designers

To limit waste, the galvanised scaffold was rented and the display bays were sized to fit a ply sheet width. Proprietary brackets enable ply sheets to be fixed over the frame, not cut around it.

Nothing has been customised; ply was left raw, fixings are mechanical and the wall was sized to a standard scaffold system.

Cables, connections, fixings and ply sheet edges were all left exposed. When the exhibition closes, materials will either be re-homed or donated, redistributed or taken back to the manufacturer for onward sale.

The deliberately simple materials used for the wall also aimed to showcase the product designs that hang on it.

"Deliberately elemental in its detail, the Design Wall 2023 provides an orderly backdrop to the colour and pattern of the product design displayed en masse," Pascoe explained.

Tube lights attached to scaffolding
Nothing has been customised to increase reuse

Melbourne Now 2023 follows the original edition in 2013, which was then the NGV's largest and most ambitious project in the gallery's 152-year history and presented over 300 works of contemporary emerging designers and their designs.

The 2023 edition showcases more than 200 artists, designers, studios and firms based in the Australian state of Victoria.

The exhibition aims to offer insight into the factors influencing contemporary product design in Melbourne and show how designers, companies and brands are taking their products from concept to market while making contributions to the city's creative landscape.

Visitors explore the Design Wall 2023
Visitors explore the Design Wall 2023

Other recent Hassell projects featured on Dezeen include an exhibition space under a grass-covered dome at a British observatory and the renovation of a historic wharf building on Sydney Harbour for the Sydney Theatre Company.

The photography is by Earl Carter.

Design Wall 2023 is on display until 20 August 2023 at the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia as part of the Melbourne Now exhibition. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.