The full program for the 2021 Melbourne Design Week has been finalised, with the most comprehensive lineup ever seen for the festival announced last week.

In its fifth consecutive year, the festival features 11 days of more than 300 exhibitions, talks, films, tours and workshops across Victoria and online exploring the theme ‘design the world you want’.

Melbourne Design Week is presented by Creative Victoria in partnership with the National Gallery of Victoria, and is curated to celebrate the diversity of Australian design and architecture and offers both industry professionals and design enthusiasts alike the opportunity to engage with local, national and international practices at the forefront of design worldwide. 

Presenting at the festival will be leading architecture firm Kerstin Thompson Architects; designer, researcher and SCUBA diving instructor Pirjo Haikola; eco-innovator Joost Bakker; globally renowned architectural innovator Alisa Andrasek, and many more.


Tony Ellwood AM, director of the National Gallery of Victoria says the festival is a crucial event for local, national and international designers.

“Good design has the potential to change the world – and this important provocation sits at the heart of this year’s Melbourne Design Week program. Melbourne Design Week is a festival of ideas, offering industry and audiences alike the opportunity to reflect on the roles and responsibilities of design in 2021. The NGV is proud to be presenting this important festival on behalf of the Victorian Government and hope that audiences and designers alike take the opportunity to engage with this year’s rich and diverse program.”

The 2021 festival has been curated using the three thematic 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 and accelerate the necessary shift to a zero-carbon future.


Highlights of the 2021 edition of the festival include The Waterfront program, presented by Centre for Architecture Victoria and Open House Melbourne, which offers nearly 20 talks, workshops and exhibitions concerning Melbourne’s water sources. There is also a Business and Design Forum held by MedTech Futures, where leaders in the Victorian medical technology sector will discuss how they are using design to achieve competitive advantage and position their products and services at the fore of national and global markets, as well as the return of The Telstra Creativity and Innovation Series.

The festival will also expand into East Gippsland for the first time, exploring the post-fishing community. Audiences will be introduced to sites around the lakes district through a series of walks, tours, talks, kayak and boat trips, hearing about the issues affecting the waterways of the Gippsland Lakes from various speakers.

The 2021 edition of the Melbourne Design Week will run from March 26 until April 5. For more information, head to