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Designers weave their way into national competition finals

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A collaborative design proposal by a Curtin research fellow, Curtin graduate and Melbourne sculptor has been shortlisted in the Tapestry Design Prize for Architects 2015.

The tapestry design proposal by Dr Robyn Creagh, Mark Robertson and Lucy Irvine
Dr Robyn Creagh, Mark Robertson and Lucy Irvine’s tapestry design proposal ‘seeks to engage with the complexity of place, evoking the lines of history, memory and culture that define the space in which we live and locate ourselves’.

Research fellow at Curtin’s Centre for Sport and Recreation Research Dr Robyn Creagh, Curtin architecture graduate Mark Robertson and Melbourne sculptor Lucy Irvine, worked together to create a design proposal, which required the team to ‘celebrate contemporary architectural space through the placement of tapestry’.

The hypothetical site for each team’s design was the new Australian pavilion at the Giardini, a park in Venice, Italy where the Biennale, a contemporary art exhibition, is traditionally held.

Robyn, Mark and Lucy proposed to construct a human-scaled, transparent cylinder and travel around Australia with it, inviting people from various communities to step inside and trace a line on the cylinder while turning around 360 degrees.

Robyn says that the lines would remain on the cylinder as it journeyed around the country.

“Tapestry is rarely an individual pursuit, especially when it’s a big project. If you look into the history of tapestry, it’s about groups of people, who have since become anonymous, that used their hands to make a piece with tiny weaving gestures,” she says.

“In our proposal, you’d be looking through the transparent sheet at the same time as you’d be drawing your line, which means you’d be drawing across the place you live in – the street, the landscape, the people. It would allow us to examine space, place and landscape, and how it’s all interwoven.”

Robyn says it was easy to create the proposal with her group members, despite the fact that Lucy was located in Melbourne.

“Lucy would get up and start working on the project in the morning, hand it over to Mark, who’d work on it in the early afternoon, and I’d get it back in the evening to make some more comments on it. Lucy made maquettes, drawing on her previous arts practice, I was quite involved in the narrative and storyboarding and Mark led in constructing the images that explained the proposal. The collaboration flowed in a really fluid way,” she says.

Robyn, Mark and Lucy’s design proposal was one of 12 shortlisted by the competition’s prestigious judging panel, which included a number of nationally recognised architects and tapestry weavers.

Each of the finalist’s design proposals will be displayed in an exhibition at the Australian Tapestry Workshop in South Melbourne. The winner will be chosen by the judging panel, which will be announced on 25 June. There is also a People’s Choice Award accessible online.

“It’s going to be amazing to see everyone’s work together in the same place and the responses that they have had to the same brief,” Robyn says.

We wish the group all the best for the final stage of the competition.

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