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'A New Normal' exhibition wins Melbourne Design Week Award presented by Mercedes-Benz
Kennedy Nolan, An Apartment Building at Docklands. This project highlights the ways in which building infrastructure can be utilised to make it sustainable, efficient and operationally cost-effective, including through the use of solar panels as cladding operate buildings on the power of the sun.

MELBOURNE.- The 2021 Melbourne Design Week Award, presented by Mercedes-Benz, has been awarded to A New Normal, an exhibition featuring fifteen installations by leading Australian architects and designers that challenges Melbourne to become an entirely self-sufficient city by 2030.

Presented as part of Melbourne Design Week and staged on the roof top of a repurposed office building, the exhibition features prototypes, concepts and designs for large-scale, real-world projects that could create “a new normal” for Melbourne, including an arresting solar-panelled roof top pavilion by John Wardle Architects and a bespoke, energy-producing greenhouse designed by Ha.

Drawing on exemplary case studies and scientific research, as well as empirical evidence of the Melbourne’s consumption of resources, the fifteen installations present responses to or solutions for Melbourne’s transformation from a consumer of resources into a sustainable producer.

Curated by Finding Infinity, an organisation dedicated to creating sustainable cities through design and creativity, with support from Thomas Supple, the exhibition is complemented by a series of talks, programs and live-streamed events throughout Design Week.

Highlights from the fifteen installations include an architecturally designed rooftop pavilion fitted with solar panels by John Wardle Architects, which marries Melbourne’s love of roof top experiences with the need to generate green energy; a greenhouse by Ha that shows the ways in which land can be used for both agriculture and solar energy production; and a project by WOWOWA that demonstrates how the heat produced by decomposing waste can be used to warm Melbourne’s swimming pools, spas and saunas.

Rt Hon Sally Capp, Lord Mayor of Melbourne, said: ‘A New Normal brings together all levels of government, innovative companies and Melburnians to discuss ideas and projects that could help to create a more sustainable and healthy city, while developing a plan to attract new industries and jobs to our city’.

‘The economic and environmental challenges we face are significant but Melbourne has a history of being a world leader in sustainability and entrepreneurship. We need to harness both these traits to reboot our city post-COVID and ensure we remain one of the world’s most liveable cities for years to come.’ the Lord Mayor said.

Tony Ellwood AM, Director of the National Gallery of Victoria, said: ‘This exciting exhibition offers a platform for leading Australian architectural and design practices to share their vision for our city’s transition to renewables and economic recovery. Melbourne Design Week presents the first opportunity to the public to engage with these ground-breaking ideas, which are part of an ongoing, large-scale research project that will have a transformative real-world impact on our city.

‘A New Normal was selected as the recipient of the Melbourne Design Week Award because of its collaborative spirit, the potential impact of the fifteen individual projects, and the way it embodies the theme of this year’s Festival, which invited designers and architects to design the world they want,’ said Ellwood.

Florian Seidler, Managing Director and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific, said: ‘Great design is about much more than the way something looks or feels; just as importantly, it’s about how it functions and fits a society’s needs. As a society, we should aim to create products and services that give something back.

‘Mercedes-Benz supports initiatives to electrify our fleet, but equally, we’re working to reduce our footprint in many other sustainable ways. Our vehicles already contain components made from recycled materials, and we’re working to eliminate CO2 emissions from our supply and production processes.’

Ross Harding, Principal, Finding Infinity, said: ‘We can transform our city to run on resources that will never run out, and profit from the transition. These projects offer possible ways to achieve this future by integrating the physical infrastructure that makes our city function with the cultural infrastructure that enables it to thrive.’

A New Normal is presented as part of Melbourne Design Week, Australia’s leading annual international design event. Presented by Creative Victoria in partnership with the National Gallery of Victoria, and now 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’.

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