After heading to the Federation Square revival of the Design Market in the carpark today, I was perplexed. Wasn't the National Design Centre coming to Fed Square (of which I am an avid fan, to declare my stance on the contentious Melbourne debate) supposed to highlight the brilliant talents in fields of design - particularly Australian designers? If so, why has the carpark market changed from previous incarnations of tiny, diverging, interesting design and craft (of the un-granny kind) to this year's offerings of larger stores I could find in Chadstone et al? Sure, R.G. Madden has plenty to offer, Aesop have great product, Kiki K are a great alternative to Officeworks. But where were the surprises? Few and far between, I felt. I didn't want to go to a mall, and to be honest, I'd rather not have seen a collection of the designers I see in Fitzroy.
I want a market to be about little people and companies who don't get their full product line stocked anywhere. Great designers who aren't sold anywhere outside their website. I don't want to see it dominated by design-orientated magazines I can find in newsagents and beauty products I can find in chain stores. How is that a 'market'? It doesn't allow those creative types to come out and show that we can make different things when not focusing on mass production or to let those designers who are on the fringes of the established scene get a good chance to show their wares to a captive audience.
Hidden between the usual suspects were some nice little finds, but the cramped space for their small stalls and the fact that there were so few of them meant the market lacked the really neat 'what will I find next?' feel of the last few.
Next year can we add the interest back in?