In terms of theme, this year’s Fringe Furniture is guided by the concept of redesign and the works exhibited represent a mix of on-theme pieces, as well as market ready furniture. Vanessa Wright, Fringe Furniture’s Associate Producer for the second year running, is pleased that this year’s participants have embraced the experimental nature of the exhibition’s history. “We are really trying to show that furniture isn’t always a practical and functional object,” Wright says. “It can be a sculptural form in its own way as well.”
While this year’s Fringe Furniture has fewer works than last, the catalogue is sufficiently jam-packed. So much so that the exhibition has overflow space in shipping containers at both the Abbotsford Convent, the site of the exhibition, as well as at a satellite venue in Federation Square for the first time.
Although Wright isn’t a maker herself, she has an abiding love of furniture. “I’ve always loved arts and, by extension, design,” she explains. “So, furniture appeals to me in that way – it’s a beautiful object, it’s something beautiful that you can look at and display, but it’s also an object. It’s an interesting way to bring art into your house or life. You can have a piece that’s really special to you, that you love to look at, but it’s also the table that you sit at for meals every day. I like the idea of being able to use the things you value and them having a purpose.”
Although tables and chairs are probably not the first thing you think of when Melbourne Fringe comes to mind, Fringe Furniture is actually the longest running event in the festival’s history. “It’s an odd one in a way,” Wright muses. “Mostly, you think of performance and comedy or music when it comes to Fringe, but art and design are so linked, even though we often think of them quite separately. It’s really important for a festival which is open access to include all aspects of art. Fringe Furniture really encapsulates that – it brings art and design perspectives. Furniture can have a functional purpose, but it can also be theatrical and make a statement about who you are and who you want people to think you are.”
BY MEG CRAWFORD
Venue: Abbotsford Convent- Oratory and Ironing Rooms
Dates: September 15 – October 2 (Wednesday to Sunday)
Times: 11am – 5pm