Cast your mind back to Melbourne Design Week 2020 and the very first stages of Covid-19 were unfolding here in Australia. Events went ahead and design was celebrated in dynamic ways, but an unpredictability hovered in the air.

While many parts of the world are still very much in the throes of a pandemic, we find ourselves incredibly grateful to be able to gather and share good design in this beautiful city once again, as Melbourne Design Week 2021 kicks off.

Many of us spent last year dreaming up a positive future; considering the world we live in; reimagining our everyday; and finding comfort in simple places. This year’s MDW theme asked participants to harness this and ‘Design the world you want’. We’re more excited than ever to see the work on show this year.

At Modern Times, there’ll be many ways to immerse yourself in the world of contemporary design. Our exhibition re:coquo features new work by 10 Australian creatives spanning fine art and object design principles; we’ll host several thought-provoking panel discussions and workshops; and we’ll launch Permanent Future – a new sofa brand from Modern Times founders Amy and Joel Malin, among other things.

And what’s Design Week without a launch event – join us on Thursday March 25 from 6-8pm with our friends and MDW partners Blackhearts & Sparrows and Sample Brew to kick off what promises to be an amazing week in Melbourne.


We’re excited to present re:coquo, an exhibition featuring new work by 10 Australian creatives spanning fine art and object design disciplines.

Recoquo is latin for remodel, readjust, alter, recast, change. Coquo means to cook. Expanding on the broader Design Week theme of ‘Design the world you want’, re:coquo participants were invited to examine existing work, material or unresolved ideas and revisit the broken, forgotten or discarded with the aim of creating something anew.

Read more here.

This exhibition will run from 25 March – 1 April.

Permanent Future – Outstanding Seating

Melbourne Design Week marks the launch of Permanent Future – an exciting new sofa brand from Modern Times founders and owners, Amy and Joel Malin.

Permanent Future is a natural succession for Amy and Joel, who have harnessed their experience working within the vintage European furniture and contemporary design industries for the past decade, and created a brand committed to making outstanding seating.

“We know furniture. As the owners of Modern Times, we’ve spent 10 years sourcing it. Dissecting it. Restoring it. Sitting on it. We’ve loved all the classics we’ve brought back from Europe, and now we’ve created our own. Cue Permanent Future: a new collection of sofas, designed and manufactured to our exacting (some might say fussy) standards.”

Permanent Future will launch at Modern Times on March 25 and is now available to shop online and in store.

Follow @permanent.future on Instagram.

The Dangerous Power of Speculation: An Exhibition by Lucy West

We’re delighted to host The Dangerous Power of Speculation by Lucy West. This exhibition invites the viewer to design the future by responding to ethical dilemmas leveraging speculative design. Through video footage, the exhibition explores topics such as surveillance and AI, which provocatively challenge ethical norms.

The exhibition is a rollercoaster ride through impossible questions where each response builds upon the last, strengthening or weakening the ethical direction of that future through each choice. It puts you in an immersive, communal experience designed to push your own ethical boundaries and reclaim your future.

This exhibition will run from 25 March – 1 April.

The Dangerous Power of Speculation: Panel Discussion

As part of West’s exhibition, we invite you to attend a panel discussion on design and ethics – a challenging and exciting conversation focusing on the thought leadership and work of the speakers.

The speakers include:
• Dr Simon Longstaff, Executive Director at The Ethics Centre
• Jeannie Paterson, Professor of Law, Co-Director of the Centre for AI and Digital Ethics, The University of Melbourne
• Dr Melis Senova, Co-founder of Huddle and Creator of Deep Leadership
• Remya Ramesh, Head of Digital Experience at Coles
• Jon Yeo, Speaking for Influence Coach at Brightstar and Licensee and Head of Curation for TEDxMelbourne, to moderate our panel.

Monday March 29, 6-8pm at Modern Times
Tickets on sale March 11 via Eventbrite

'The Symphony of Collection: The Best of Times' installation view. Artworks by Tim Silver. Photo by Immortal Memory. Courtesy of Guest Work Agency and Ten Cubed.

Collecting Fine Design – A Panel Discussion

Guest Club​ and Modern Times present a panel discussion on collecting fine design, addressing questions: where do you start looking for fine design? And what questions should you ask when you make a purchase?

Join Guest Club’s founder Alana Kushnir as she leads a conversation on collecting fine design with Modern Times Co-Founder Amy Malin, NGV Design Curator Simone LeAmon, Co-Creator of Steelotto Alexander Cummins and collector Pip Stevenson.

Thursday April 1, 6-8pm at Modern Times
Tickets are on sale now and are subject to availability. Get in quick and book here.

Manifest: Future Interior Design Propositions

Phoebe Whitman and Ying-Lan Dann – both lecturers from the Bachelor of Interior Design (Honours) program at RMIT – have curated a series of posters presenting critical interior design ideas from selected 2020 graduating student final year projects and manifestos. We will host one poster as part of a network of locations hosting this exhibition.

The rationale for a poster series is to expand interior thinking into the public realm. The poster will feature a QR code to unlock access to more information behind this exhibition. What’s more, it will exhibit on the exterior of our store, so you can visit and tap into this one whenever you please.

Manifest will exhibit at Modern Times from March 19 – April 16.

All events are part of Melbourne Design Week 2021, an initiative of the Victorian Government in collaboration with the NGV.

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