• Inside the Collection

Category: Design and Designers

Design Nation: When Australian Design Moulded the World

March 1, 2018

Colonised Australia felt it had grown into an independent, and quite sexy young adult by the 1980s. The 1988 bicentenary was a celebration of all that Europeans had acheived in Australia in 200 years.  It was also a year which benefited from the optimism of the Wran NSW Labor Government - which commissioned, among other public institutions and spaces, the ingeniously designed converted power station as the new home for the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences in Ultimo, Sydney.

Life Cycles: Sustainable Materials Library

January 10, 2018

In 1907, while developing an alternative to shellac, a natural resin secreted from the East Asian lac bug and used to insulate electrical cables in the early 20th century, Belgian chemist Leo Baekeland invented the world’s first mouldable synthetic polymer, called Bakelite.

Amelia Earhart’s last contact

November 29, 2017

This ordinary looking stamped-addressed envelope in the Museum's collection features two signatures, one is of the famous American aviator, Amelia Earhart, and the other F. (Fred) J. Noonan, her navigator during their pioneering world flight in 1937.

New Acquisitions: Kate Rohde’s Deer Vase and bespoke wallpaper

November 7, 2017

The artworks of Melbourne-based artist and designer Kate Rohde are recognisable for their exuberant embrace of form and pattern. Baroque in style, highly ornate and vibrating with colour, the works claim a unique position in contemporary Australian design.

3D Printing and the Open Source Movement

September 26, 2017

If you have been to a maker fair or school in the last few years, then you may have seen 3D printers in action. But when did this manufacturing technology first emerge and why was there so much hype? 3D printing is a form of additive manufacturing, where the object is created by laying down successive layers of building material until the desired form is reached.

Radio Birdman: Deniz Tek – A Wasp man

July 19, 2017

When Deniz Tek, medical student, audiophile and guitarist met Rob Younger in the early 1970s amidst the satin flares and platform boots that then graced Sydney’s pub stages the two students could see and hear that energy, rebellion, intelligence and true social comment were sorely missing.

World AIDS Day 2016

November 28, 2016

HIV is still here - and it's on the move For folk who lived through the 1980s, AIDS was an omnipresent gargoyle. The disease was part of the contemporary culture. It had insinuated itself into current affairs stories and commercials, into youth culture, gay culture, tea-room discussions, into jokes, bullying; and into people’s bodies.

Printing fashion in 3D: the inBloom Dress

November 1, 2016

Why would a museum collect 3D printed objects? To answer this question it’s important to think about why museums collect anything at all. Museum collections, on the whole, show a deep, human preoccupation with material culture - the things that surround us.

Looking for the mermaid: developing the Annette Kellerman visual installation

October 12, 2016

I am still looking for my chest of gold in a cool dripping sea cave -- though a professional mermaid for the movies, I still wait to see my first real one sitting on a damp grey rock combing her long green hair.1 The exhibition Million Dollar Mermaid: Annette Kellerman features a visual installation projected onto a set, creating an immersive, sensory environment.

Sydney’s Capitol Theatre – a century of entertainment

December 29, 2015

Have you ever wondered why the Capitol Theatre in Sydney's Haymarket is such a strange design? It was originally a fruit and veggie market! 2016 marks the theatre’s 100th birthday. What a century it’s been, filled with performing seals, elephants, mermaids and now the von Trapp children.