The Greatest Show In Perth

Last Updated: 09 Sep 2015
Hannah Lawrance

Featuring exhibitions, talks, workshops and appearances by exciting creatives from around the world, this year’s Design Circus will be unmissable.

It's the go-to event for anyone with an interest in design and creativity – The Design Circus is returning in 2015 for a second year that promises to be bigger and better than the first. Taking over the State Theatre Centre for three days in December, the program will feature a host of big names including Doshi Levien (London), Xavi Mañosa (Barcelona), Nina Masó (Barcelona) and Janet Holmes
à Court (Perth).

"We are expecting The Design Circus to provide a fun, interactive and educational experience for those attending, and to demonstrate that Western Australia is a place that can embrace design and culture," says Salvatore Fazzari, managing director of local designer furniture company Mobilia, which is presenting the event.

HeadHat lamps in Metallic.

Fostering greater involvement and interaction within the wider community, The Design Circus will feature exhibitions, talks, workshops, and more.

"We have coupled with various local charities, businesses, local artists and design organisations to add interesting layers to the concept," says Salvatore. "These include an exhibition to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the iconic Series 7™ chair, and the HeadHat competition where we are encouraging local designers to explore the manufacturing process."


When Nipa Doshi went to the Royal College of Art in London, she came
away with more than an education – it was at the college that she met her husband, Jonathan Levien. The highly acclaimed designers bring together their different cultural and academic backgrounds (Nipa is from India, Jonathan is a Scot) to create beautiful, unique and contemporary works as Doshi Levien.

You can spot a Doshi Levien design from a mile away. Nipa's ingrained plural upbringing and astute eye for visual culture is much in evidence, giving each piece of furniture character and authenticity, while Jonathan's precision and his tenacity as an industrial designer bring about the production and functionality of their creations. Not only are all their pieces aesthetically pleasing, they are also practical, hybrids of culture, creativity and purpose.

Doshi Levien's award-winning Rabari rug for Nanimarquina, plus the studio's
Paper Planes chair.

And after 10 years, their award-winning designs speak for themselves. This year alone, Doshi Levien won Designer of the Year at the Elle Decor International Design Awards, as well as the Best in Floor Coverings award for their distinct Rabari rug for Nanimarquina; Wallpaper Design Awards (their Maya mirrors took out the Best for Men Only award); and a Best Exclusive Office award for their Almora armchair (which also won an Artravel award).

Doshi Levien's contribution to The Design Circus will be a short talk about their experiences, inspirations and journey to international success. Tickets are $35, with all proceeds donated to Youth Focus via The Ride For Youth program.
Doshi Levien: A Conversation will be at Studio Underground at The State Theatre Centre on December 1.


Nina Masó is one of the founding members of successful editing group Santa & Cole, which is based in the beautiful estate of Parc de Belloch in Barcelona. Santa & Cole projects editing expertise across a number of design fields, including household items, books and urban furniture, but is most famous for indoor and outdoor lighting. At first glance, the group's considerations may seem random, but a common philosophy unites it: to carefully select items instead of accumulating them; to seek quality instead of quantity; and to share instead of show.

Nina, who is the editor of interiors for the brand, and her colleague Jordi Sunyer will take part in a workshop for The Design Circus, sharing their experiences and the history of Santa & Cole's success, this year marking the brand's 30th anniversary.

The Wally lamp by Santa & Cole.

In addition, Santa & Cole, in collaboration with Mobilia, is inviting anyone in the design industry to take part in the HeadHat by me competition, in which entrants create their own version of one of Santa & Cole's most recognised lighting creations – the award-winning HeadHat. The winner will travel to Barcelona to meet the co-founders of the company, and have a personal tour of the studio and estate, while their winning design will also be supported, manufactured and marketed under licence by Joey. Entry to the competition costs $5, with all proceeds going to Perth City Mission to help feed the homeless on Christmas Day. For more information, head to

Nina Masó: Editor in Chief will be presented in the courtyard of the State
Theatre Centre on Tuesday December 1. Tickets are $5, with all proceeds going to the Breast Cancer Foundation.


In 1955, chair design changed forever, when Arne Jacobsen created Series 7™. Produced by Danish furniture manufacturer Fritz Hansen, it became the most sold stackable chair in history, a timeless icon of style and design that has surpassed six decades of change in technology, culture and lifestyle.

In honour of the chair's 60th anniversary, Mobilia – in collaboration with Autism West and assisted by Janet Holmes à Court – is inviting nine chosen local artists to add their own personal touch to the iconic chair. Each artist will paint
an exclusive piece that will be displayed at Exhibition 7, and then auctioned at The Design Circus cocktail party, with all proceeds going to help children and families with autism. Amok Island, Eveline Kotai, Joanna Lamb, Trevor Richards, Penny Bovell, George Howlett, Rod Garlett and Chrissie Hogan will all be participating. Alongside these eight artists, autistic teenager Charlie Paganin from Autism West will also be designing his very own chair.

More than seven million units of the Series 7™ chair have been
sold since its debut in the 50s.

What's more, to celebrate the success of Series 7™ – over seven million units of the design have been sold to date – the chair will be reinvented with a new colour palette. Danish artist Tal R will present these nine new colours at Exhibition 7, for the very first time in Western Australia.

"I grew up with the Series 7™ chair," says Tal R. "It's the simplest chair I know. It doesn't want to be anything more than just a chair. Each of the nine colours that I've chosen for the Series 7™ chair has its own story, and lets you see the chair in a new perspective.

"All the colours have one thing in common: they lie in between two colours, and are constantly pulled in both directions. This gives the colours depth and the ability to conjure up mental images."


The Spanish word 'mañosa' literally means a handy, skilled person, so it's fitting that Xavi Mañosa should be renowned for his innovative and unique hand-made ceramics. But while he founded his successful family design business Apparatu seven years ago, he wasn't always sold on a creative career. Growing up in Barcelona, Xavi's childhood was spent largely in his parents' ceramic workshop, which he began to loathe (much to their dismay). After graduating university, however, he moved to Berlin, where he set up a small pottery studio selling pieces at flea markets. From this, Apparatu was born, and as it grew, so did Xavi's desire to create.

Today, Apparatu is a successful design studio and pottery workshop, producing bold and daring pieces, and Xavi has become arguably one of the best ceramicists of his generation. Combining his inherited skill with techniques of the modern digital age, his works have been exhibited in design fairs and festivals in London, Frankfurt, Tokyo, New York, Mexico, Stockholm and more. He's had commissions from the likes of Nike, Alessi, Vitra and Camper, and also teaches workshops in museums and universities all around the world.

Pleat Box lamps in terracotta by Xavi Mañosa.

What makes his works unique is that he doesn't follow a plan or a prototype…
and he is partially colourblind. As a result, Xavi develops his projects naturally, guided by only his intuition as the old art of ceramics is processed into the new modern sphere.

Xavi will be hosting a workshop at The Design Circus, and discussing his projects from the past year. Tickets are $5, with all proceeds going to the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation. Xavi Mañosa: Xavi is a Potter 2.0 will be presented in the courtyard of the State Theatre Centre on December 1.


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