For the eighth year running, The Big Design Market is once again giving Melbourne shoppers the chance to browse, buy, eat and play under one roof. This December, over 250 designers will converge on the Royal Exhibition Building to share the gifts, homewares, art, fashion and other goods they’ve created to make life easier (and more beautiful).
There’ll be lots of food options, too: expect to sample dishes from 400 Gradi, Miss Chu and Earl Canteen; sip on refreshments from Moo Brew, Willie Smith’s and Archie Rose Distilling Co; and indulge with sweets by Koko Black Premium, Esti Garcia Patissier, Billy Van Creamy and Luxbite.
Even with three days to explore, the options can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. Here are our picks to help you get you started.
Georgia Perry is a local designer and illustrator who, in recent years, has expanded her wares beyond the pop-culture enamel pins she first became known for. The Georgia Perry line now features new twists on classic eyewear shapes, hair barrettes, bags in bold prints, graphic-print socks and jewellery created in limited quantities. At The Big Design Market, expect to find Georgia’s nifty new Replay collection – jewellery crafted from upcycled materials.
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Melbourne label Good Sport’s fresh approach to women’s and girls’ streetwear begins in Japan. The designers source preloved Kimono and indigo-dye fabrics, and gently upcycle the salvaged textiles to create clothes in classic, wearable silhouettes, whilst honouring the traditions of the original garments. Shop one-of-a-kind shorts, dresses and bomber jackets that feel fresh but hold their history in every stitch.
Bon Lux’s candles, fragrances and bath and body products are all handmade in the Melbourne studio of Chantel Camilleri. Using home-grown and locally sourced ingredients – including sustainably farmed soy wax in all candles – Camilleri has turned Bon Lux from a passion project into a beloved supplier of gifts and self-care essentials. Explore the different fragrances, then take your favourite home as a roll-on perfume, room spray or candle.
Tantri Mustika Ceramics
Tantri Mustika’s colourful, practical handmade ceramics – known for their twist on traditional terrazzo tiling – are always in high demand. Her stall at The Big Design Market is a rare chance to shop her full range of planters, plates, vases and incense holders. Mustika works in small batches, so all of her pieces are unique. And if seeing her creations sparks an urge to get your hands dirty, you can also sign up for the tutorials she runs from her Preston workshop.
An essential in any tea-lover’s fridge, Chai Addict is a masala chai concentrate made in Melbourne by artisan spice-masters. It’s a quick way to get the flavourful, spicy chai you love if you don’t have the ingredients and skills to brew it up – just pour a little concentrate (or the super-charged Chai Harder variety) into hot or cold milk. Shop the range from founder Chloe Janson at The Big Design Market, including bundle deals and gift packs paired with [Rooftop Honey] (https://www.rooftophoney.com.au/) to sweeten the deal.
A graduate of the prestigious Glasgow School of Art, this Adelaide-based designer takes inspiration from the Australian bush, creating charming designs for silk scarves, socks, notebooks and wall art based on native flora and fauna.
Designed on the Mornington Peninsula and hand-sculpted from clay, Keep Resin is known for its one-of-a-kind bowls, platters, vases and accessories in terrazzo and vivid blues and greens (evoking the coastal location of the studio). This is the perfect place to pick up a gift for someone you love – or yourself.
Good design isn’t just for humans. Dog-lover Georgia Havekotte shares the love with man’s best friend, designing high-quality collars, leashes, harnesses and beds for the discerning dog (and the occasional cat). Nice Digs combines contemporary, colourful designs with durable materials, including vegetable-leather accessories, Australian-made bedding and nappa-leather pieces assembled by artisans in Europe. Your pup will be the best-dressed in the park.
Places We Swim
From the best beach in the Top End to the secret spots for skinny-dipping down south, the best-selling book Places We Swim examines Australia through the lens of our underwater activities. With a foreword by writer and pool connoisseur Benjamin Law, this exhaustively researched travel guide pairs incredible colour photographs with tangible tips you need for day trips or spontaneous excursions – info like travel times, things to bring (or leave behind), and nearby watering holes for both drinking and dunking.
Nelson Made’s luxury sandals have earned them fans on footpaths across Melbourne and beyond. The team source materials with the lowest possible environmental and human impact, including vegetable tanned leathers. But once you slide on a pair of their minimalist sandals, colourful heels or strappy slides, all you’ll notice is the comfort and style of this modern, wearable label.
The Big Design Market runs from Friday December 6 to Sunday December 8 at the Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton. Entry is $5 (free for kids 12 and under). More details here.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with The Big Design Market.