Dezeen Magazine

Melbourne Now's Design Wall

NGV curator picks seven highlights from 2023 Melbourne Now's Design Wall

Curator Simone LeAmon has chosen seven key product designs from the Design Wall installation at the National Gallery of Victoria's Melbourne Now 2023 exhibition.

The Design Wall 2023 features 35 product designs by 25 studios based in Melbourne, Australia, and aims to celebrate some of the most innovative consumer products designed in the city over the last decade.

Objects exhibited range from electric motorcycles to cricket balls, pillows and cling film wrap, and cover the homewares, healthcare, trade, sporting, furniture and lifestyle industries.

Melbourne Now Design Wall 2023
The Design Wall is on display as part of the Melbourne Now exhibition

"Design is always about delivering a degree of change," said LeAmon, who is the curator of Contemporary Design and Architecture at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). "How and why new products are developed is driven by social dynamics, regulations and economic forces."

"Offering insight into the factors influencing contemporary product design in Melbourne, the collection explores how everyday goods can embody the qualities of place and the values of those who live there," she added.

Below, LeAmon has selected seven highlights from 2023 Melbourne Now's Design Wall for Dezeen:

Melbourne Now Design Wall 2023 Gecko Traxx
Photo is courtesy of Gecko Traxx

Gecko Traxx wheelchair tyres by Ryan Tilley and Huy Nguyen

"The invention of Gecko Traxx came from design engineer Tilley who wanted to help his friend Nguyen, a wheelchair user, to better experience outdoor and off-road activities. The concept began as Tilley's final-year project at RMIT University in 2018, featuring a flexible set of tyres that wraps securely around a wheelchair's existing on-road tyres.

"The tyre's unique cross-section, informed by the spreading motion of gecko feet, expands three times in contact with the ground, before quickly returning to its thin profile, which ensures the tyre does not impede upon the push rim or interfere with the wheelchair frame.

"The lightweight accessory can be carried inside a small backpack, and includes an integrated clip that allows users with various abilities to easily add on to their wheelchairs. With Gecko Traxx, many wheelchair users are able to enjoy terrains like sand, snow, soft grass and gravel for the first time."

Melbourne Now Design Wall 2023 Nudie Roll
Photo is courtesy of Great Wrap and Bayly Group

Nudie Roll by Great Wrap

"Nudie Roll by Great Wrap is the world's first compostable stretch wrap made from food waste. It was first designed in 2019 using potato waste. The wrap is currently made from food waste and a mix of compostable biopolymers. The company helps reduce 150,000 tonnes of plastic cling wrap sent to Australian landfill each year.

"In the future, Great Wrap plans to make their wrap with PHA, part of a family of biopolymers created by microorganisms as a form of energy storage, mostly made from carbon-based feedstock. Once extracted, they act like conventional plastic but can be home-composted, breaking down in 180 days and leaving zero microplastics behind.

"To further remove the carbon footprint generated from the transportation of imported PHAs, Great Wrap is currently working towards the commissioning of a local PHA biorefinery, where food waste will be converted into marine-degradable biopolymer films."

Melbourne Now Design Wall 2023 Savic Cseries
Photo is courtesy of Savic Motorcycles

Savic Cseries by Savic Motorcycles

"Based on the classic cafe racers of the 1970s, the Cseries, created by Savic, Australia's first high-performance electric motorcycle manufacturer in 2017, provide the look and feel of a handcrafted motorbike, but with cutting-edge electric battery and power conversion technologies.

"The Savic team designed a lightweight cast-aluminium frame – which doubles as a waterproof enclosure – incorporating the 140-volt battery pack and 80 per cent of the bike's electronics in a structural chassis, allowing a bulky 80-kilogram powertrain to be smoothly integrated into the bike.

"More than 80 per cent of the electric motorcycle is made from recyclable aluminium."

Melbourne Now Design Wall 2023 Carry On Light
Photo is courtesy of July

Carry On Light by July

"Melbourne luggage company July has created the world's lightest double-wheel, hard-shell suitcase. Named Carry On Light, the suitcase weighs 1.8 kilograms when empty and has a 38-litre capacity.

"July went through meticulous engineering and testing to achieve the balance between weight and cost before they first launched the product in 2021. Carry On Light features an aerospace-grade polycarbonate shell, moulded in July's trademark eggshell curved shape, which prevents the suitcase from breaking.

"The custom-designed double wheels are light but strong, while a telescopic twin-bar handle with three adjustable heights is made from ultra-light magnesium. The entire shell of the suitcase is 100 per cent recyclable."

Pink cricket ball
Photo is courtesy of Kookaburra Sport

Pink turf cricket ball by Kookaburra

"The first pink turf cricket ball by local company Kookaburra was released in 2006 for a Cancer Council fundraiser, and soon attracted interest from both players and audience around the world for its high visibility. With more and more cricket matches being held in the evenings to attract bigger audience, the classic red-and-white balls weren't visible enough to players and television audience.

"After its initial success, Kookaburra trialled sixteen shades of pink to determine which shade and stitching combination would be the most visible, over an eight-year period. Debuting at the first day and night test match in 2015, the pink ball retains Kookaburra's signature turf design with a cork and rubber nucleus, covered in five layers of worsted yarn and cork, then cased in leather, hand-sewn closed, lacquered and branded."

Melbourne Now Design Wall 2023 SureflO2
Photo is by Dr Andrew Middleton

SureflO2 by Matthew Matusik

"Melbourne-based anaesthetist Matthew Matusik invented the SureflO2 oxygen mask after a near miss in his own practice, in which the existing oxygen mask failed to deliver the oxygen to the patient. In order to reduce the risk of human error in operating the oxygen system, Matusik and his team wanted to design a mask with a visually prominent, intuitive flow indicator.

"The resulting SureflO2 features a bright orange spring-operated indicator to provide clear, timely feedback that oxygen is flowing as intended to the patient. Its dual airflow paths and internal ridges ensure a quiet, fail-safe operation. It can also be retrofitted to most existing standard oxygen mask systems."

Eco pillow by Tontine
Photo is by Magenta Kwan

Eco Pillow by Tontine

"Both the cover and filling of Eco Pillow are made from recycled polyester, which has been manufactured in Campbellfield, Melbourne, in Tontine's global recycled standard–accredited factory since 2020.

"The product marks the over 60-year-old pillow manufacturer's commitment to become more sustainable. The recycled polyester used in Tontine products can be fully traced from waste collection stations, where plastic PET bottles start their journey towards becoming recycled polyester.

"The company estimates that in any given year its use of recycled materials for pillows and quilts stops the equivalent of 100 million plastic drink bottles from entering landfill and waterways."

The photography is by Peter Bennetts, courtesy of NGV, unless otherwise stated.

Design Wall 2023 is on display as part of Melbourne Now Exhibition from 24 March to 20 August 2023 at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at Fed Square, Melbourne. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.