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Announcing 25XDesign for MPavilion: A world-first collaboration with London Design Festival and Google’s Creative Lab

Photo by The Good Copy.

We’re excited to announce a world-first digital design initiative for Melbourne, launching as part of Mavilion’s 2015/16 season. Conceived by London Design Festival director Ben Evans and developed by Google’s Creative Lab, 25XDesign is an interactive event created to celebrate design and place.

The first iteration of 25XDesign will ask MPavilion’s 2015 architect Amanda Levete of AL_A to choose her 25 Melbourne design inspirations. These buildings, views, objects and works of art will be displayed in 360 degrees using an experimental platform called Story Spheres, developed by Google’s Creative Lab.

Whether you’re at MPavilion, at your desk, in your backyard, winging over some far-flung ocean or wandering the city, 25XDesign invites you to jump into your browser for a tour. Each Story Sphere takes a 360-degree image and overlays audio so that (for the first time) you can virtually experience landmarks up, down and all around—with sound. Story Spheres use experimental browser technologies including webGL and 3js and can be viewed on desktop and mobile, or through Google Cardboard for a virtual-reality experience.

25XDesign will become an annual event on the MPavilion program, featuring a new Melbourne tour created by each year’s commissioned architect. The project aims to place MPavilion centrally but also expand its reach geographically.

Amanda Levete’s initial selection of ten Melbourne design highlights for the 25XDesign project are:

  • Cairo Flats, Nicholson Street Carlton, Best Overend 1936
  • Melbourne Laneways (19th Century)
  • Patricia, Little William Street, Foolscap and Boyond the Pixels, 2014
  • Robin Boyd House, South Yarra, Robin Boyd 1959
  • Kappo Restaurant, by Kei Kitayama, Denton Corker Marshall
  • Spring Street (formerly Shell House), Harry Seidler 1985–1989
  • Our Magic Hour, Ugo Rondinone (Sussan Group HQ) 2007
  • Newspaper House mosaic, “I’ll put a girdle round about the earth”, Napier Waller 1933
  • Underground Car Park (South Lawn) University of Melbourne, Loder & Bayley 1972

Amanda’s full list of 25 design inspirations will be announced at MPavilion by Ben Evans, director of the London Design Festival, on Wednesday 7 October at 12 noon. Describing the project, Ben says: “25XDesign, with the help of Google’s Creative Lab, will give you a unique view of the city you think you know… Expect to see the familiar differently, details you have never noticed, even experiences that are new.”

He’ll be joined at the launch event by Tom Uglow, director of Google’s Creative Lab, for a wide-ranging conversation on design and technology. Discussing the collaboration, Tom says he’s looking forward to exploring the possibilities at the intersection of design and digital: “Sometimes I forget that everything is designed, from Post-Its to Porsche and that digital technology is exactly the same. Sometimes magical, occasionally infuriating and increasingly appearing in physical objects and the spaces we live in. But all designed. It is exactly the right time to be talking about how we get the best out of both as digital becomes physical.”

Naomi Milgrom AO, founder of MPavilion and chair of the Naomi Milgrom Foundation says: “MPavilion has become a catalyst for the industry and community—a utopian space where anything can happen and a place from which to explore design’s role in the creative city. This year, Amanda Levete’s MPavilion highlights innovation and technology in design and architecture, extending an invitation to engage and experiment. Our collaboration with Google’s Creative Lab was a natural fit—enabling us to celebrate Melbourne as a design city. MPavilion is a base from which to explore and be inspired. 25XDesign allows us to integrate design and technology to promote Melbourne design and architecture to the world.”

25XDesign launches—virtually and literally—on 7 October. If you’re able to join us in person, entry is free and everyone’s welcome. Either way, please charge your phones!