This isn't for the cool kids. This one's for the geeks, the nerds, the unsung heroes who work in obscurity and get excited about the design of a hinge of a bin. A good designer needs to be able to traverse multiple scales of experience: from the dimensions of a city to the flow of pedestrianson recently widened footpaths to the height of a bench to the bluestone paving underfoot. And yes, to the hinge on a bin. We owe these designers a debt of gratitude. They're not the ones making Melbourne cool – They're the ones making it work. Laying the foundation (pun intended) so that there's a cohesive sense of place while the rest of us get the credit.
The exhibition "Bluestone Lounge Room – Designing the Streets of Melbourne" gives these nerds their time to shine. And shine they do. It's a beautiful exhibition that spills out onto the streets with some benches and lamp-posts from Melbourne's recent history. Leaving the exhibition you can't help but continue walking through the streets examining the rest of the citywide exhibition as it changes in real time.
Dan Hill spoke on the night and I'd planned to incorporate some of his speech from the night into this post and the article (the above review appeared in Design Reporter - pick it up it now if you haven't) but he beat me to the punch. Publishing not just the complete transcript of his talk but a fantastic overview of the exhibition. Reading over his speech I've just noticed that I somehow stole his last line by osmosis, which is fine by me. It was a damn fine talk, cheekily injecting some of his fascination with urban informatics into the speech which got a few gasps from the audience. I highly recommend this exhibition, if nothing more than to see benches curated in sequence out front. While you're at it, pick up the exhibition catalogue. One of the best I've read in some time.
Bluestone Loungeroom is on at City Gallery at Melbourne Town Hall.