Ends on

LIVING ROOMS: Architecture + design + craft = an open home with a difference. 

 9–29 November 2020

DESIGN Canberra has struck a chord with architecture lovers from all over Australia, proving itself a powerful platform to celebrate the best in architecture from the Canberra Region. Tours and talks have also captured audiences and media attention, but by far the most popular program of the festival is Living Rooms. An open home with a difference, Living Rooms is a once in a lifetime opportunity to explore some of Canberra’s finest houses, all while discovering works on sale by local artists, makers and craft practitioners. 

Canberra will once again demonstrate its impressive design credentials as DESIGN Canberra gets set to take over the nation’s capital for three weeks from 9 – 29 November 2020.  Architects are invited to propose recent projects for the 2020 Living Rooms program. For added inspiration, the theme of DESIGN Canberra 2020 is ‘Care’. 

"In 2020, the value of care is more important than ever: for our community, for our environment, for architecture and for our world. The festival will become a collaborative forum for contemporary, experimental and authentic design to celebrate and explore the ways that care and caring is valuable and vital."  -CEO of Craft ACT: Craft & Design, and Artistic Director of DESIGN Canberra, Rachael Coghlan

Architects are also invited to propose talks, tours or other projects for the festival via our general call-out here. A cherished example of this is the 2018 ‘Embassy of Kindness’ project. Driven by artist @legojacker, the Embassy was a mobile exhibition and conversation space reimagined and built by the Australian Institute of Architects ACT Emerging Architects and Graduates Network (EmAGN ACT). 

Program Overview

Living Rooms is DESIGN Canberra’s showcase of the best architect-designed houses in Canberra which offer an insight into different housing typologies, showing firsthand the impact of good design on day-to-day living.  

Each open home will have a specially curated pop-up exhibition of work by emerging designers and craft practitioners; typically in dining rooms or on kitchen benches, with work on display for sale to the public. These artists are Craft ACT members. 

Opening homes to the public on each Sunday of the festival, Living Rooms shines the light on the value of engaging an architect and celebrates architecture, design and craft in Canberra. We are calling out for architecturally designed or renovated homes to feature in the 2020 Living Rooms program. 

Selection Criteria

The House:

  • Is designed by an architect or features a renovation by an architect
  • Demonstrates design excellence which enhance people’s health and well-being and provides a sense of delight.
  • Ideally located in the inner North or South of Canberra.

The Owner / Architect is:

  • Willing and able to be open to the general public for between 1-2 hours on one Sunday during the festival – either 15, 22 or 29 November, 2020. Opening date and time will be confirmed closer to the festival.
  • Willing to open the main living areas of the home to the public.  Other areas, such as bedrooms and bathrooms, do not need to be open to the public.  A request for guests to remove their shoes can also be specified.
  • Willing and able to host a pop-up exhibition of a craft artist or designer within the home on the open day.  The exhibition will be curated to be in sympathy with the home and at a manageable scale. Sales and inquiries will be managed by Craft ACT staff and volunteers.
  • The owner and/or architect will identify and remove, or address, any hazards prior to opening.
  • Willing to promote their involvement in the Living Rooms program through their networks.

The Architect is:

  • Present during the opening of the home and willing to engage with the public about design.
  • Willing to complete a Project Description pro-forma and provide high quality images of the project for use in the Promotional Flyer.

DESIGN Canberra's Role

DESIGN Canberra will curate, manage and promote the Living Rooms program.

Specifically this includes the selection of houses and pop-up exhibitions for inclusion in the program, tailor the pop-up exhibition for each house, nominating the open house dates and times, liaising between all the participants and promoting the Living Rooms through the festival’s marketing campaign. 

DESIGN Canberra will provide:

  • Social media and marketing in the lead-up to the event
  • An “on-the-day checklist” for owners / architects
  • Curators who will ‘bump in and bump out’ the pop-up exhibitions, in consultation with the owner
  • Volunteers who will provide a moveable sign for placing on the verge, greet the public and hand out festival programs, survey and flyers
  • A Promotional Flyer for each house
  • A detailed risk management plan

Living Rooms is proudly supported by home. by holly (Holly Komorowski) and Rolfe Classic BMW. Holly will welcome visitors as they arrive, and BMW may display a car in the driveway which aligns with the architecture of the house.  


A Participation Fee of $500 (incl. GST), which contributes to the costs of managing, resourcing and promoting the Living Room program, is payable in full to Craft ACT within 21 days of acceptance of an offer to participate.  It is non-refundable.  Payment of fees confirms participation and promotion in DESIGN Canberra.

Selection Process & Program

DESIGN Canberra will call for Expressions of Interest from architects or owners.  Houses that best contribute to aims of the Living Rooms program will be invited to confirm their participation in the program, with payment of the Participation Fee due within 21 days of acceptance.

DESIGN Canberra will contact participants in early October to facilitate preparations for the open houses. 

DESIGN Canberra festival is from the 9 to 29 November 2020

About DESIGN Canberra

DESIGN Canberra is the major outreach activity for Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre — a not-for-profit membership based organisation which supports local artists, designers and makers at every stage of their careers. The festival is delivered in collaboration with industry, associations and educational institutions committed to the design arts and creative industries in Canberra.

DESIGN Canberra has resonated with ever-increasing audiences near and far because design is in our city’s DNA.  DESIGN Canberra is a powerful platform to promote design and the work of designers. Presented annually since 2014, DESIGN Canberra has grown to embrace a regional and global focus, becoming a critical and collaborative forum for contemporary, relevant, experimental and authentic design.

DESIGN Canberra is also the ACT’s fastest growing festival. 2019 was an amazing year of growth, inspiration, excellence and engagement – a result of creative collaborations and strategic partnerships with Canberra’s craft and design sector and the broader community. In 2019, over 114,000 people engaged with the festival’s curated program of exhibitions, talks, tours, collaborations, open homes and artist studios, activations and markets showcasing the best in design. 

For more information, contact Kate at designcanberra@craftact.org.au or 02 6262 9333


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