MPavilion season revealed

Living Well | Sue Hewitt | Posted on 12 November 2019

Head to the Queen Victoria Gardens for the MSO, talks on loneliness, and a bike-powered cinema.

Melbourne’s annual pop-up pavilion returns this year to host a huge four-month calendar of more than 400 events to stimulate the mind and celebrate Australian design and identity.

Designed by Glenn Murcutt, Australia’s only Pritzker Architecture Prize laureate, this year’s MPavilion is inspired by the shape an aircraft wing and is set up in the Queen Victoria Gardens as a venue for a diverse program of free events.

Events include talks, workshops, performances and unique collaborations presented by the Naomi Milgrom Foundation, which is a recipient of a grant from the RACV Community Foundation.

M Pavilion 2019

This year’s MPavilion is inspired by the shape of an aircraft wing.

Each year for the past six years the Naomi Milgrom Foundation has commissioned a new pavilion from a  world-renowned architect, and then donates the structure to the people of Melbourne.

This year's MPavilion officially opens this Thursday with Yorta Yorta soprano and composer Deborah Cheetham AO performing a Welcome to Country song followed by RMIT’s master of fashion (design) graduate showcase. 

Founder and philantropist Naomi Milgrom (AO) says this year’s opening event is an opportunity to applaud Australian design. “From those who have paved the way to those [who are] up and coming across our diverse communities, our opening events will be a chance to experience the incredible talents and insights on offer,” she says.

The celebrations continue during this week with a “sound bath” by gong practitioners Mona Ruijs and Rory Pike, a Melbourne Symphony Orchestra quartet performance, Swinburne University of Technology talk on how smart data is shaping our identities and more, including a dog walk.

Glenn and Naomi discuss Glenn’s design for the 2019 MPavilion as well as his 50-year career and future projects on Saturday, while on Sunday the Australian National Academy of Music presents three small ensembles playing in succession.

The 2019 program is diverse, and each month reflects a theme inspired by Glenn – November is Australian Design, December is Connection, January is Unplugged, February is Earth and March is Knowledge.

Glenn Murcutt

Glenn is internationally recognised for environmentally sensitive and responsible designs.


Auslan Consultancy and MPavilion collaborated to provide workshops for the community in Auslan.

Here are some of the program highlights:

Archibald Weekend

The 2019 Archibald Prize winner Tony Costa and his subject, the renowned painter and sculptor Lindy Lee, take you for a peek into the artist’s studio and share the journey from a blank canvas to the coveted prize. The behind-the-scenes experience includes discussing the relationship between an artist and their sitter.

In a separate session, Art Gallery of NSW director Michael Brand, Archibald Prize 2016 winner Louise Hearman and ANZ chief executive officer Shayne Elliot discuss the Archibald’s standing in global art economies and what winning it means in real terms for an artist’s career.


A wide range of topics will be discussed by experts over the month, focusing on the December theme of Connection and harmonious living.

The power of welcome in the age of loneliness” has a panel of experts and social change pioneers who discuss loneliness and explore what we can do to combat it.

Imagining future cities by connecting with past visions” is a discussion by scholars who look at the past examples of architects and planners thinking ahead and what was achieved, and how  the “importance of designers thinking beyond the boundaries of what is possible when designing for the future”.


Putting the people back into pedal power, the Climate Emergency Cinema is powered by bicycles.

The outdoor films at MPavilion celebrate grassroots action around climate change. Co-curated by the Transitions Film Festival and the Little Projector Company, the short films and award-winning feature documentaries will be introduced by Melbourne’s leading climate change thinkers and activists. Audience members can step up and ride a bike to help power the screenings.


 Exploring the theme of “what is home”, students from London’s Royal College of Art’s city design MA program will present a week-long symposium on the development of affordable, sustainable housing. The students, who are researching shared housing and the modern family, will present workshops and panels on the future of housing in Australia and beyond. 


This unique drawing workshop for families will be delivered using Australian Sign Language, Auslan. You and your children can learn to draw the world around you in charcoal in a workshop led by deaf artist Luke King. The workshop is part of a mission to create more awareness of deaf language and culture.