The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) has announced several new initiatives to drive their vision to become a leading international hub for design.

New design initiatives include the creation of the Department of Contemporary Design and Architecture, the first of its kind for an art gallery in Australia, new appointments to the NGV team, and a series of programs including exhibitions, awards, installations and a design store.

Two of Australia’s foremost design professionals, Ewan McEoin and Simone LeAmon have joined the NGV team. The two new positions have been funded through the generous philanthropic support of The Hugh D.T. Williamson Foundation.

Making this announcement, Tony Ellwood, Director of the NGV said that Ewan and Simone will bring a strong creative industry perspective, connections and ideas to the Gallery.

With two decades of experience in the Australian design industry, Ewan McEoin will lead the new department while also working across future design strategy and new retail initiatives at the NGV. Simone LeAmon has worked for two decades as a visual artist, industrial designer, businessperson, industry consultant, curator, writer and university lecturer.

NGV’s new Department of Contemporary Design and Architecture will work closely with the local and international design industries, collecting, presenting and exploring the most interesting trajectories of design and architecture.

New design initiatives announced include the opening of the Design Project Space at NGVA in 2016, presenting a diverse program of design and architecture projects, exhibitions, films and conversations to explore key ideas and issues in design and architecture; the revitalised Rigg Design Prize shortlist; NGV Commission for Ephemeral Architecture for a temporary outdoor installation; and a new design store.

Presented by the NGV, the triennial Rigg Design Prize of $30,000 is awarded to an Australian contemporary designer displaying outstanding creative achievements in design production. The 2015 Rigg Design Prize shortlist includes Brodie Neill, Khai Liew, Adam Goodrum, Daniel Emma, Kate Rohde, Korban Flaubert, Koskela and Elcho Island Weavers.

Submissions for the NGV Commission for Ephemeral Architecture will be sought each year from architects and designers to offer innovative designs for a temporary outdoor installation in NGV’s Grollo Equiset garden. The inaugural Commission for NGV’s Ephemeral Architecture program for 2015 has been developed by John Wardle Architects for their project titled ‘I Dips Me Lid’, which takes inspiration from the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, an iconic public performance venue in Melbourne, and will be a theatrical centrepiece offering shade, retreat and a place for performance and workshops.

The NGV design store and online shop has been recently rebranded and restocked, and will collaborate with leading designers, artists and manufacturers to produce, present and showcase design products from local and international designers.

Events and programs announced include Design Speaks: Housing Futures on 31 July 2015, presented in partnership with Architecture Media and featuring local and international architects such as Charles Renfro (New York), Kerstin Thompson (Melbourne) and Philip Thalis (Sydney); and Parallels – Journeys into Contemporary Making in September 2015, organised by NGV in partnership with the National Craft Initiative (NCI). The two-day international conference is designed to reframe conversations about contemporary craft and design practices.

Work is underway on the 2017 NGV Triennial, a major celebration of contemporary art design and architecture from around the world. The NGV Triennial will provide a multidisciplinary focus on art, design and architecture, as well as fashion, film, performance and a variety of cultural practices.