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Powerhouse Announces New Exhibitions: Design for Life and Hybrid

August 19, 2020

Image: Half-piece reusable respirator. Made by 3M Australia, 1997-2000. Photographed by Ryan Hernandez, MAAS.

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The Powerhouse today announced two new exhibitions launching September 2020; Design for Life, which explores the role of design in medicine and Hybrid an exhibition investigating the future home.

Opening on 12 September, Hybrid aims to interrogate the contemporary urban condition and explore the role of the home in 2030. The Powerhouse, in collaboration with Creative Director and writer Stephen Todd, has commissioned nine design studios to work with researchers and practitioners from alternative industries to create a series of furniture and objects exploring the rapidly changing global landscape and the most pressing issues of our time. The selected designers, including Amsterdam based Rive Roshan and acclaimed Australian designers Adam Goodrum, Trent Jansen and Elliat Rich, have responded to issues such as the global pandemic, air quality, bush fires, rising temperatures and wellbeing to premiere new objects ranging from a contemporary home shrine, a space to refocus and de-stress, a responsive light source that brings the experiences of nature into the home, a table and stool from recycled plastic to artefacts developed from the objects left behind by loved ones.

Design for Life explores the central role of design in the health and medical sector and celebrates the intersection between science and design, showcasing design innovation in the creation of medical equipment, devices and tools that save and improve the quality of human life. Drawing on the Museum’s rich collection of medical and scientific material from the late 1800s to present day, the exhibition will bring together over 200 objects from the collection with the latest in medical and scientific product design.

The exhibition will explore developments in life saving respiratory devices that assist breathing and survey the ongoing development of face masks used in the health and medical sectors, presenting a selection of particulate respirators and surgical masks from the 1930s to present day. Design for Life will also explore developments in medicine and drugs which treat and cure diseases, and medical equipment focused on extending the body’s biological capabilities.

Design for Life and Hybrid have been inspired by the themes of Sydney Design Week 2020 and created in collaboration with Creative Director Stephen Todd. As a result of restrictions in place due to COVID-19, the Powerhouse is unable to proceed with the 2020 Sydney Design Week public program events, however the exhibitions will be open to the public – Hybrid 12 September 2020 – 28 February 2021 and Design for Life 26 September 2020 – 31 January 2021.

On Design for Life, Powerhouse Museum Chief Executive, Lisa Havilah: “As science and technology accelerate, the body’s capacities, perception, longevity and durability are being pushed to new limits. Recent partnerships between the medical sciences and design industry have pioneered medical equipment to help this and improve the quality of human life. The Powerhouse is committed to supporting the latest in science and design innovation and we are thrilled to present this new exhibition to our visitors.”

On Hybrid, Creative Director, writer Stephen Todd said: “The way we live and how we perceive and experience our homes is being radically altered. The primary role of the home in the 21st century is to be a sanctuary, a respite from the clamour of daily life, the ultimate refuge in these times of crisis. For the Hybrid commission, we asked creatives outside of the field of design to create domestic artefacts for our future.”

12 September 2020 – 28 February 2021

26 September 2020 – 31 January 2021


Sasha Haughan
0405 006 035

Kym Elphinstone
0421 106 139