April 13th, 2022.
During Melbourne Design Week 2022, a dynamic series of open-forum panel conversations became an incubator of thoughts, stories and ideas bound by the context of design. Today we are looking at two in particular – Then + Now: Brdar, Connell and Provan, & Beyond The Selfie – which explore the cataclysmic potential for design to inform the vernacular, and how past influences shape modernity.
Then + Now brought together three design vanguards whose work across the past three decades has shaped the built environment and established the value of brand identity within it.
Visnja Brdar, Chris Connell and Jeff Provan reminisced on their intersecting disciplines of visual identity, architecture and development and the profound potential the 80’s elicited in the evolution of Melbourne’s inner-south.
Before making her way to her current NYC address for her creative agency BRDAR, Visnja created brand collateral for some of Australia’s most iconic brands such as The Sydney Opera House. The sophisticated precision of her visual language was a preeminent graphic identity then and now, displaying her agility and innovation in cutting through the noise to create timeless branding that still resonates today.
L-R: Chris Connell, Visnja Brdar, Dr Denise Whitehouse & Jeff Provan.
Chris Connell has played an integral role in the design of Melbourne’s cultural fabric, particularly in the built evolution of Chapel Street as a flagship location throughout the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s. Through Chris’ reconciliation of architecture, interior, furniture and product design, a collection of Melbourne’s most iconic retail and hospitality have emerged including Il Barco, Bar Carolina, Caffe e Cucina and Melbourne Wine Room.
Jeff Provan fills the development quota, complimenting the built and brand design of Visnja and Chris. As Director of NEOMETRO™, Jeff has created and nurtured a conscious development philosophy since the early 80’s. One that was integral to the formation of Melbourne’s inner-south then, and is now responsible for the regeneration of key public realms throughout the inner-north.
Beyond the Selfie – a conversation hinged on the relationship between image making and city making – is an expansion on RMIT Architecture graduate Louis Nuccitelli’s final Masters project of the same title. The forum analyses the relationship, responsibilities and implications of social media on architecture, acknowledging that perception and reality often vastly differ and that the positives and negatives on this are arguably evenly split.
Taking part in the panel were Christine Phillips, Architect and academic from the RMIT Architecture Program, Louis Nuccitelli, speculative architect and film maker Liam Young, Hayball Design Director Ann Lau and Melbourne University’s Ass. Professor of Architecture Dr Rory Hyde and Architect and Marketing & Communications Manager at Neometro Nicola Cortese.
Then + Now panel photography by Andrew Steele
Beyond The Selfie photography by James Carroll and Kevin Chen.