The interior courtyard of a hostel in one of Beijing’s ancient hutong neighbourhoods designed by Chinese architect Zhang Ke, an award-winning architect and the founder of ZAO/standardarchitecture 标准营造, who will give a keynote address delving into his design process as part of the Sydney Design Festival

David Gianotten, one of the nine firm partners behind OMA, the Netherlands-based architecture firm founded by Pritzker-prize winning architect Rem Koolhaas, is one of a slew of top tier international design talent appearing as part of the Sydney Design Festival from March 2-11, 2018.

OMA are perhaps best known in Australia for their design for this year’s MPavilion, a temporarily erected cultural hub currently hosting an incredible program of free events in Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Gardens. You may also be familiar with OMA’s work with the designer Miuccia Prada, who collaborates each season with OMA’s research and design studio, AMO, on the scenography for her label’s show space at the gilded Fondazione Prada. Earlier today, Prada hosted another of the duo’s collaborations in a new venue, the Prada Warehouse adjoining the Fondazione, a contemporary art facility on the South-Eastern outskirts of Milan. Gianotten, who worked closely with Koolhaas on the design for the 2017 MPavilion, will return to Australia to deliver a keynote address for the Festival at the Powerhouse Museum on March 4, during which he will share insights into the firm’s architectural practice and its underlying philosophy.

Curated around the theme of a ‘call to action’, a formidable international contingent also includes Zhang Ke, the award-winning architect and founder of ZAO/standardarchitecture 标准营造, who will give a keynote address delving into his design process at Powerhouse Museum. Ke, a Harvard graduate who established his design studio in 2001, is regarded as one of the most important contributors to a new generation of Chinese architects working to imbue contemporary architecture with a sense of the country’s cultural history and values. The architect Joshua Bolchover, whose initiative Rural Urban Framework is currently addressing China’s unprecedented rural-to-urban patterns of migration and works to alleviate the damage caused by the imbalances created by mass migrations, will also deliver a talk on the power of design in not-for-profit projects. The Japanese designer, Eisuke Tachikawa, founder of multidisciplinary firm NOSIGNER, will likewise deliver a talk that delves into design’s capacity for affecting social change.

Closer to home, Australia’s foremost media personality with a love of mid-century modernism, Tim Ross, will curate his first exhibition as part of the festival, Design Nation, which will celebrate the rich history of Australian design by showcasing Ross’ picks from the Powerhouse Museum’s extensive collection. A new exhibition, Common Good, will also explore design trends both at home and abroad, with a focus on design-lead responses to social, ethical and environmental challenges, and, true to the mood of the moment, a mass edit of design-centric Wikipedia articles will attempt to Hack The Canon and redress the platform’s overwhelming gender bias (only 10% of the site’s editors are female) with the help of researchers, advocates, lovers of design and, potentially, you.

The Sydney Design Festival takes place from March 2-11 at various venues throughout the city. More information is available here.

Tile and image: Courtesy of Sydney Design Festival