Review: Open Design Festival 2015

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Open Design FestivalThe Open Design Festival is a melting pot of creativity, innovation and ideas that leaves the city fragrant with inspiration. From artistic expression to intellectual debate, all paradigms are challenged and the world cracks open with possibilities.

Open Design institutes a great opportunity to ‘hack’ into the minds of some of the design industry’s leading individuals and provides an accessible and comfortable platform for inquisition and discovery. From the art walks to the Design for Tomorrow exhibition, the festival emphasises not only the beauty of design, but the clamouring necessity of design to improve daily dilemmas in our city. Attendees of the various talks and exhibitions are challenged to think with active purpose – to become a creator not just a consumer.

Highlights of last week’s festival included the TEDx talk, which saw a line of ticket holders snaking around the City Hall in anticipation, the InstaWalks which explored design in the city by means of an interactive tour, and PechaKucha – a truly unique take on a lecture/talk.

The City Hall also housed the CCDI Design Shop, an accumulation of artisan articles, clothing, illustrations, art and hand-crafted treasures with a unique feel. This is a guilt-free shopping spree – every purchase supporting a local artist, allowing them to nurture and develop their talents.

Another event that was well worth a visit was The Maker Faire, an exhibition of the most cutting edge technology as well as creative concepts and crafts. Visitors were surrounded by robotics, 3D printers in action, drones and a myriad of other mind-boggling inventions, with stallholders all to happy to provide insight into their products and creations.

Now in its third year, the festival was still surprisingly lacking in visitors from the general public. In contrast the attendance of school children was immense, with children in blazers filling up the halls and corridors, like little sponges waiting to soak up information. It is wonderful that the festival is moulding the minds of the future, but it would be great to see some more minds of the present… present.

The extent of the festival is vast, so in order to truly submerge yourself in the creative juices and to thrive in the full experience of the festival it is necessary not only to attend the stand-alone exhibitions at the Watershed and City Hall, but to partake in the walks, talks and as many of the events possible. In this way you also get to meet some of the most bright, exciting minds in the city.

Whether you discover and revere the raw beauty of street art, experience the culmination of creation or allow your mind to be filled with new ideas, you cannot leave this 12-day festival without some inkling of inspiration.

Bronwyn-Leigh Knox

The third Open Design Festival took place from 12 August to 23 August 2015.

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