Join us as we explore Architecture and Design as it was and is now through the careers of three iconic designers. Brdar, Connell and Provan collaborated together on projects in Melbourne in the 1990s and the work was innovative and award winning. Projects from THEN are featured in the exhibition presented by Creative Victoria at the RMIT Design HUB – Victorian Premier’s Design Awards Showcase – celebrating 25 years of excellence in design. Dr Denise Whitehouse will moderate a conversational panel discussion in the iconic garden courtyard at Walsh Street.
Geelong born Visnja Brdar launched her Creative Studio, BRDAR in Melbourne at the age of 21. Australia’s celebrated names would soon become her clients, including The Sydney Opera House, Marc Newson, Chris Connell, Neometro and Jill Dupleix. She moved to New York in 1999 to work with Fabien Baron as art director for Michael Kors, Jil Sander, Armani and Nars Cosmetics. Career highlights include working with Richard Avedon and Tibor Kalman. She reestablished BRDAR in New York in 2003, doing projects with Estee Lauder, Issey Miyake, Van Cleef & Arpels and New York’s top real estate developers. Brdar also designs jewelry for her own line, VISNJA JEWELS.
2022 marks the thirty fourth year of Chris Connell Design, a small design studio based in Melbourne, Australia. Chris Connell has over 40 years’ experience within the Architecture and Interior Design industry as well as the Furniture Industry. Chris Connell along with business partner Raoul Hogg founded MAP International Furniture in the mid-80s. Chris Connell has a reputation for elegantly shaping residential and commercial interiors while also designing and manufacturing furniture and objects many held in permanent collections of art institutions across the world. Striving for simplicity through clean lines and honest use of material. Chris Connell works closely with each client and on every project, the design process beginning with the simple sketch. Chris is well known for his sketches; his lines are clean and sparse but very expressive and he uses colour in a very emotive way much like his designs. Chris Connell Design is a team of experienced Architects and Interior Designers who offer a high level of service and commitment across retail, hospitality, and residential projects. With extensive experience and passion for all design, Chris Connell incorporates custom product, lighting and furniture into many of his designs. Chris Connell Design’s work is known for its restraint and attention to detail. In 1995 his Pepe chair was included in the permanent collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and in 2017 to Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). In 2018 Chris Connell was commissioned by the NGV to design a new chair for their Great Hall. In 2019 he was commissioned by the Naomi Milgrom Foundation to design a new chair for the 2019 MPavilion designed by world renowned architect Glenn Murcutt and in 2020 was commissioned to design a new flagship restaurant as part of the redevelopment of The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) at Federation Square. In addition to many residential and commercial projects, Chris has designed some of Melbourne’s favourite dining institutions, which include: Il Baraco, Melbourne | Caffe e Cucina, South Yarra | Melbourne Wine Room, St Kilda | Duke’s Coffee Roasters, Melbourne | Bar Carolina, South Yarra| Agostino, Carlton (King & Godfree)
Neometro’s Founder, Jeff Provan, established the company as a pre-eminent design-focused developer in 1985. Since that time, Jeff has been an active and integral part of Melbourne’s development community, building relationships with other like-minded industry leaders, architects, builders and consultants. Neometro’s array of architectural and design awards are a product of Jeff’s stewardship, and are attributable to his own design DNA which is collaboratively integrated into the design capabilities of the relevant project architects.
Dr Denise Whitehouse
Denise Whitehouse is a distinguished design historian, academic, educator, author and curator of design exhibitions. Author of Design for Life: Grant and Mary Featherston, Denise is currently the John Truscott Foundation Research Fellow.