FAD: Life at the edge

After a successful debut last year, the Festival of Architecture and Design (FAD) returns in 2015 and is set to stage events across the state from Thursday, October 8 to Tuesday, October 13. Dino Vrynios, one of FAD’s Creative Directors, shares some insights into what we can expect from this year’s festival.

The theme of this year’s FAD is ‘Life at the Edge’. How did you decide on it? We thought it would be great to champion what is the ‘South Australian way’. Ultimately, it came back to the Thinkers in Residence program, and in particular Charles Landry and Laura Lee (whose report facilitated the Integrated Design Commission among other initiatives). Charles Landry spoke about an ‘edge condition’. When you look at SA, geographically we are on the edge. It’s at the edge; when you are at your limit that innovation happens, and creative industries can be at the forefront of that. What was the intent for collaborating with different disciplines in this year’s festival? The Festival is only about 13 or 14 months old. When we started this journey it was primarily architecture–driven, but strategically we always wanted to engage with other aligned creative industries. Last year, we had 12 events and we have over 40 this year. The imperative was to collaborate and grow something together, and to create a legacy. Would you say that the festival is about celebrating the synthesis of different creative fields, and exposing the value that can emerge from collaboration? Absolutely – collaboration is embedded in everything we do in South Australia. Because we have a certain scale here, it is easy to find contacts and make things happen, which is a point of difference. We are quite agile. Having all of these organisations working together can only help amplify our voice within the broader community. Has Adelaide’s growing interest in the value of design helped inform some of the aspects of the festival this year? That was a big reason why we decided to create the festival, because there was an appetite in the public, and also within the design industry. It’s a way to create a platform for them to tell their story. Design, no matter the industry, is not just about the end product; design is a process. The festival aims to create a culture and awareness for that process, through sharing stories. Storytelling is a great way to expose the design process. Is that one of the key methods that will be embedded in the events? There is a range of different events, which can be categorised as public talks and discussions, as well as more industry-focussed forums. There are also public exhibitions and walks and tours. In all instances, there is an opportunity for one-on-one contact, for people to engage with those stories. One exciting event is Open House; can you tell us about it? Open House was previously a program run by History SA. We saw an opportunity in that, because it’s a great event. It allows people to touch, feel and experience the tangible side of architecture and design. We’ll be running Open House events focussed on residential design; opening up award–winning residential homes for people to meet the designer and talk about the decisions that were made, to really get into the head of the designer. There are a number of buildings around the city that will also be opened up for the public to tour. You also have some events tailored to younger creative professionals. What can they expect? As part of our talk series, we have New Architects Group (NAG) holding a soapbox talk, which tackles the conundrum young people face in South Australia, which is whether they should stay or go interstate or overseas to develop their career. Events like this festival are ways we can create an environment where graduates can flourish. How can families and those with children participate? The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) is facilitating a tour of all of the playgrounds, which have been developed around the city. For parents, it’s a chance to hear about how these spaces contribute to their children’s wellness and health. There will be ‘making activities’ at the Princess Elizabeth Playspace. Part of the festival will include other activities like art and design mural–making, giving young minds the chance to imagine their perfect city. The festival is a chance to elevate the importance of good design, create authentic discussions and generate a platform to highlight and celebrate our state’s uniqueness of ‘life at the edge’. The Festival of Architecture and Design program will be launched this month. fad.org.au

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