Celebrating Women In Design: Mecca x NGV

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In a significant nod to the contributions of women in the world of design, London-based creative powerhouse, Bethan Laura Wood, has been honoured as the 2023 recipient of the MECCA x NGV Women in Design Commission.

29 January 2024

his major series is a unique Australian initiative, magnifying the works of globally celebrated female designers and architects by inducting their creations into the esteemed NGV Collection.

With an illustrious background dating back to 2009, Wood’s design studio is synonymous with innovation. Her unorthodox approach to blending materials, patterns, and colours has not only earned her a dedicated following but has also reshaped contemporary design narratives. Wood’s fascination with the interplay of colour and surface design in domestic spaces enables her to conjure up eclectic combinations of colours and forms. This genius has birthed unique timber veneers, material composites, and textiles that have found applications across various design sectors, from furniture and lighting to installations and accessories.

MECCA’s M-POWER, a pioneering social change initiative, champions the cause of gender equality and uplifts the stature of women in the world of art and design. Its invaluable contribution makes the annual MECCA x NGV Women in Design Commission a reality. As a five-year series, it is the only commission of its type in Australia and serves as a global stage, illuminating the invaluable contributions of female designers.

The NGV’s Collection of Contemporary Design and Architecture, enriched by MECCA’s benevolent support, is an endeavour to rectify historical gender disparities in representation. The inclusion of Wood’s artistry will undoubtedly amplify the voices and visions of female designers in this collection.

With a portfolio boasting displays at prestigious venues like Design Miami, Victoria and Albert Museum, and Sketch, London, Wood’s designs are permanent fixtures at globally renowned institutions such as The Art Institute of Chicago and SFMOMA.

The NGV Triennial 2023 will showcase Wood’s commissioned piece, a masterful ensemble that amalgamates furniture, textiles, and scenography. This installation, a cerebral exploration into the gendered chronicles of education and learning, draws from an array of British historical touchpoints. From the whimsicality of the kaleidoscope and elegance of Regency furniture to the intellectual vigour of the ‘bluestockings’ network, Wood’s artistry beckons viewers into a contemplative journey. It challenges them to reflect upon the evolution of knowledge dissemination and the roles that gender dynamics have played in it.

Although her design aesthetic resonates with maximalist undertones, Wood’s work is profoundly nuanced, engaging viewers on both intellectual and emotional plains. By celebrating the rich tapestry of women’s contributions to knowledge, she invites audiences to reflect, appreciate, and most importantly, to understand.

 The 2023 MECCA x NGV Women in Design Commission will be on display in the NGV Triennial 2023 from 3 December 2023 – 7 April 2024 at NGV International, St Kilda Road, Melbourne. Free entry. Further information is available via the NGV website: https://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/

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