Melbourne Design Week 2021 MPavilion featuring the Australian premiere of White Cube by Renzo Martens

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: The Naomi Milgrom Foundation today released its dynamic program for Melbourne Design Week 2021. Happening from Friday 26 March at MPavilion Parkade, 34 Little Collins Street, Melbourne, the extensive program showcases Renzo Martens and OMA’s White Cube, Home Made—a collaboration with New Architects Melbourne, a conversation on the social power of the modern bathhouse with Sense of Self, a screening of Making a Mountain—a documentary that follows the making of the world’s cleanest waste-to-energy plant by the Bjarke Ingels Group, and much moreBeyond MDW, Empty Spaces Summit—a week-long symposium of workshops, talks, and site visits —will take a close look at the potential of different spaces in Melbourne.

The Australian premiere—featuring a building designed by OMA / David Gianotten—the architecture firm and one of the architects behind MPavilion 2017 (now located at Monash University)—Dutch artist Renzo Martens’s White Cube documents the work of Cercle d’Art des Travailleurs de Plantation Congolaise (CATPC). A plantation workers’ cooperative, CATPC make sculptures from river mud on a former Unilever plantation in Lusanga, Democratic Republic of Congo, in order to buy back land from corporations that have occupied it since the 1920s. Inspired by people from the area, the sculptures often depict important or traumatic moments from the colonial past. From elite museums and galleries across the world to the Congo’s exhausted farms, White Cube follows CATPC’s efforts in using art and activism to fight the destructive system of monoculture that occupies their lands. 


MTalks – Home Made: Panel discussion, Fri 26 March, 6.30—9.30pm

Following the disruption to Melbourne Design Week 2020, Home Made is relaunched with a new impetus as we emerge from Covid-19 lockdown with an altered relationship with our homes. A panel conversation to launch the Home Madeexhibition, curated in collaboration with New Architects Melbourne, invites speakers from key innovative housing projects across Melbourne, including Assemble 122 Roseneath Street, Clifton Hill, Property Collectives McCracken Street, Northcote, Nightingale 2.0, and Murundaka Co-Housing, Heidelberg Heights.

MMeets – Home Made: Exhibition, Sat 27 March, 10am—6pm

Leveraging the track record of housing innovation concentrated in Melbourne in the past decade, this exhibition explores what a more community-centred, sustainable housing model might look like and how it can provide an attractive, generous way of living in our urban centres.

MMeets – Assemble Papers X Melbourne Design Book Fair: Publishing as public art, Sat 27 March, 12—4pm

A changing media landscape has meant that discourse around design comes from many voices and platforms in a multitude of forms. This event brings together young thinkers and design satirists and established publishers and editors to investigate how design thinking is evolving.

MTalks – Communal Ceremonies: The Modern Bathhouse, Sun 28 March, 11am—12.30pm

The founders of the new Sense Of Self bathhouse talk about bringing the social ritual of communal bathing back to our communities. Hear how they designed the space to combat isolation and disconnectedness and how bathing could be one of the answers to bringing us back together again.

MTalks – 2021 Design Trust Critically Homemade X MPavilion, Sun 28 March, 5pm—6pm (online)

Under MPavilion’s theme of ‘Space: Experiments in Time’ the online event focuses on the act of creative collaborations under lockdown and prompts questions around resiliency and collectivism under the Design Trust: Critically Homemade Programme and its rainbow D universal symbol of hope across different continents.

MTalks – Exploring new and improved ways of urban living for a post-pandemic world, Mon 29 March, 1—4pm

With facilitated audience participation, respected academic, government, and industry experts pull together the threads of the opportunity of the COVID-19 situation to identify cooperatively better urban living ways for a post-pandemic world.

MMeets – Making a Mountain + discussion with Hip V Hype, Mon 29 March, 8—10pm

Curated by Transitions Film Festival, join Hip V Hype for a panel discussion on sustainable architecture, followed by a screening of the feature documentary Making a Mountain – BIG / Bjarke Ingels, a decade-long adventure to build ‘CopenHill,’ one of the world’s most innovative and iconic examples of green architecture and ‘Hedonistic Sustainability.’

MMeets – Three Bodies, Tue 30 March, 6.30—8pm

This screening of Three Bodies—by Dorothy Allen-Pickard, commissioned by Molonglo—will be followed by a panel discussion that explores how the built environment can either be a pathway or a barrier to community, opportunity, and pleasure, depending on how places are designed and who they are designed for.

MTalks – Housing Choices Australia: 2021 Oswald Barnett oration, Wed 31 March, 5.30—8.30pm

Housing Choices Australia present the 2021 Oswald Barnett Oration. Focusing on the state of social housing in Victoria, the talk will hone in on one critical question: how can we bring about a social housing boom in this state?

MMeets – Australian premiere film screening: White Cube, Thu 1 April, 8—10pm

Join us for the Australian premiere of White Cubethe Dutch documentary by Renzo Martens that features the architecture studio behind MPavilion Monash, OMA. Moving viewers between the violence of the plantation system and the aesthetic ‘civility’ of the white cube, the film asks: can museums ever hope to be inclusive when no reparations have yet been paid to the plantation workers who financed—and in some cases, continue to invest—the very foundations of these institutions?


MProject – Empty Spaces Summit, Tue 16 March—Sat 20 March

As part of MPavilion’s ongoing M_Curators program, Bloomberg Philanthropies presents a five-day-long program led by multidisciplinary artist Jarra Karalinar Steel and mixed-media conceptual artist Dr Clare McCracken. Considering questions around the history, use, neglect, and potential of different kinds of spaces across the city—including car parks, petrol stations, vacant buildings, and more this unique program, invites young creatives aged 18—25 who are passionate about art, architecture, urbanism, and public space. 

Ongoing MProjects commissioned by MPavilion include upcycled staff uniforms by Chelsea HickmanStool Dollychairs designed by Holly Board & Peter Grove of BoardGrove Architects, and MPavilion Education Guides and free educational programming for schools. The rest of MPavilion’s highly accessible online events, talks, Hope St Radio at Melbourne Zoo streams, and Summer Reading Lists can be enjoyed on the MPavilion website’s specific event pages, the MPavilion Library, or the MPavilion YouTube channel

With over 500 collaborators presenting 400 free public events, including talks, performances, kid-friendly activities, and installations this season, MPavilion has taken on a critical role in the city by adapting its program to support community needs. By adapting and re-using the Parkade car park and reanimating the MPavilions of previous years— including Amanda Levete’s MPavilion at Docklands, Bijoy Jain’s MPavilion at Melbourne Zoo, and Rem Koolhaas & David Gianotten’s MPavilion at Monash University—MPavilion is responding to the challenges of the pandemic with creativity, community, and a revival of Melbourne’s outdoor and public spaces.

MPavilion is supported by principal partners, the City of Melbourne, the State Government of Victoria through Creative Victoria, and RACV.  

For further program details, please visit