In 2021, Melbourne Design Week explores the theme ‘design the world you want’ where designers demonstrate how they can collaborate to create a better and healthier future for the planet.

Over eleven days, Melbourne Design Week presents emerging and established designers to address the theme in an array of talks, tours, workshops, exhibitions and launches across Melbourne and Victoria. Through this, it celebrates the diversity of the Australian design and architectural sector offering both industry professionals and design enthusiasts the opportunity to engage with individuals, institutions and practices at the vanguard of design world-wide. 

Melbourne Design Week is ideas-driven. Inspired by the theme ‘design the world you want’, designers respond to this provocation through three pillars: Care, Community and Climate. Events under the Care thematic reflect the desire for design processes that consider the emotional needs of others, including other species; Community celebrates collaboration across disciplines, disseminating knowledge and embracing new cultures; and Climate examines the ways in which designers can mediate the effects of climate change, including the necessary shift to a zero-carbon future.

The design festival is complimented by specially curated programs: Melbourne Art Book Fair, Melbourne Design Week Film Festival and Waterfront. The extensive Waterfront program, presented by Centre for Architecture Victoria | Open House Melbourne, extends to Lakes Entrance and Lake Tyers in 2021 with the School for unTourists. Exploring the future for this post-fishing community, audiences will be introduced to sites around the lakes district through a series of walks, tours, talks, kayak and boat trips; and hear about the issues affecting the waterways of the Gippsland Lakes from the perspectives of Traditional Owners, local community members, designers, artists and marine experts.

An initiative of the Victorian Government and delivered by the National Gallery of Victoria, the inaugural Melbourne Design Week was launched in 2017. Since 2017 the program has grown in scope and scale from just under 100 programs in 2017 to over 300 in 2020 making it Australia’s largest international design event.