We may not recognise it, but design is an increasingly intrinsic part of our everyday. From the vessel we drink our coffee from in the morning and the shop windows we walk past on our way to work, to the first website we land on when we start up our computer, our world is woven together by an intricate and underlying network of design. “Design is an idea and an object and a way of doing and exploring,” says Kate Rhode, Creative Director of the State of Design Festival. “Good designers don’t have to know about everything, but the possibility of design is immanent to everything.

“‘Not everything is design, but design is about everything’, graphic designer Michael Bierut once said. “

And so it is with this notion in mind that the State of Design Festival comes around each year, highlighting the best of design in Melbourne. Bringing together diverse design thinking, practice and experience under one festival banner, the event allows design to be experienced and available to almost anyone.

Having previously held the position of festival Curator, Creative Director Kate Rhode and the State of Design team have put together an exciting program for 2011 titled Design That Moves. Across a collection of eclectic spaces, transitional zones and previously disused venues across the city, the program will focus on projects that are self-transformative, mobile and networked, in the hope that they can link designers from across the nation and indeed the world.

For 12 days, Melburnians will wander through the city to see shop installations; we’ll sniff out a Japanese food truck serving sake and (MoPho) noodles; we’ll gaze up at digital art projected onto buildings at night on Gertrude Street; we’ll stay up late to listen to music and watch movies at ACCA; and we’ll catch up with designers and artists to drink designer soup at the festival hub.

Speaking with Kate, you get a real sense of the holistic approach she takes in promoting innovation and sustainability across everyday design practice and urban life. “The festival challenges us as the Australian design profession and the end users to work to improve living conditions, create sustainable development opportunities, and generate new and innovative products and services,” she says.

Aimed at engaging a wide public audience, the festival program is filled with mostly free workshops, forums, exhibitions and events across three categories: Design For Business (a series of workshops with local experts offering practical solutions on how design can improve business), Design TV (a new online television station that will document and interact with the festival online) and the exciting Design for Everyone, a series of public and cultural events encompassing fashion, architecture, interiors, art and food. Of the hundreds of events taking place, we have selected a few highlights that you really shouldn’t miss.

Chasing Kitsune
A Japanese food truck designed by HASSELL and fitted out by Schiavello, Chasing Kitsune will be hidden at various locations around Melbourne. The fun is in finding it. Inspired by mobile food stores found in Japan, the truck’s name derives from the Japanese word for fox, and like its namesake, Chasing Kitsune is cunning. To find it you will need to download the festival iPhone application, which will track the truck’s location. Once you get there, you’ll be rewarded with sake and Japanese food by St Ali’s MoPho restaurant.

Presented by HASSELL.

Look.Stop.Shop
A selected group of retailers have created unique window displays and in-store installations exploring this year’s festival theme, Design That Moves. Look.Stop.Shop includes a broad field of traders, from department stores to small independent boutiques, designer owned and operated spaces and pop-up shops for fashion, books, furniture, flowers and objects. This diverse retails landscape provides 24-hour viewing.

Presented by the City of Melbourne.

Late Night Platform at ACCA
Gather at a special plaza for three nights of public discussion and social connectivity within the exhibition Nathan Coley: Appearances, at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art. A recasting of the concrete platforms designed by Oscar Niemeyer for Brasilia, Coley’s exhibition sets the scene for special presentations including a PechaKucha Night, a broadcast of The Architects on 3RRR and a screening by Speakeasy Cinema.

The Gertrude Street Projects Festival
The 2011 Gertrude Street Projects Festival turns Gertrude Street into a free walk, ride, drive and tram through an outdoor digital art gallery. Every night, animations, stills and digital art will be projected onto the pavements, buildings and walls, revealing a transformative landscape through lights and images. Presented by The Gertrude Association.

Made to Measure – TREADLIE Handmade Bike Show
Craftsmanship and design are combined in an exhibition of specially commissioned, custom-built bicycles from around the country. Presenting the ultimate example of design in motion, the final selection of bikes will be based on their aesthetics, artistry and creativity. Accompanying each exhibit will be a series of stories about the bikes and their builders.

Presented by TREADLIE Magazine.

Do Design Space – Pop-up Festival Hub
The Do Design Space is set to be the spot for all festival-goers to regroup, meet artists, presenters and designers and digest ideas and designer soup (at The Micro-Kitchen by Broadsheet). Designed to be ever changing and evolving, Do Design will run as an exhibition and workshop space with programmed activities taking place morning, noon, night (late) for the second week of the festival.

The State of Design Festival runs July 20–30.

stateofdesign.com.au