Design:Made:Trade was a 4 day exhibition (2 day trade, 2 day public) set up in the beautiful heritage listed Royal Exhibition Buildings and a keystone event of State of Design 2010, Victoria’s annual design festival.

The grand vaulted space was segmented with 3×3 metre VISY cardboard booths, each containing fabulous furniture, fashion and industrial design brands. It was inspiring to see how the designers transformed the same space to reflect their brand, for example by using felt circles, drawing silhouettes of gabled windows or turning it into a 50s lounge room.

A ‘no photographs’ sign was prominently displayed at the entrance so I felt a bit shy about asking permission from individual stallholders for photos unless I’d bought something from them. So unfortunately I can’t show you some of the absolutely drool-worthy lighting and furniture I spotted for my dream designer home or some of the more inventive stall decorative ideas.

Here is what ended up in my shopping bag:

Buro North Christmas tree. I’ve been eyeing the sustainable plywood Christmas tree from multidisciplinary design studio Buro North ever since I read about it in The Design Files and saw them on sale at the Melbourne Design Market. It’ll make a great hanging space for my Christmas ornament collection and for the rest of year, a nice place to hang my keys and other sundries!

Cycle Signs. Being an owner of a cycling accessories business, I’m always on the lookout for innovative bike products. Thanks to a tip from Miss Kish, I went hunting out Sydney industrial designer Trent Jansen‘s stall where he was selling Cycle Signs, reflective discs attached to spokes or the front shaft for extra visibility. He uses a water jet cutting method to fashion circles from old reflective road signs salvaged from scrap metal yards – a truly upcycled product.

Letterpress cards from Vince. Graphic design Meaghan Barbuto was part of the Craft Victoria stall. Her background is in graphic design and she’d always dabbled in letterpress as a hobby, but she’s now focusing full-time on her letterpress business Vince. Given the number of babies being born in my circle of friends, I bought a be-ribboned box of gorgeous creamy stock printed with a motif of three yellow ducks.

On the weekend public days the Australian Graphic Design Association also held the ‘Design Fete’, a contemporary take on the traditional fete by leading and emerging Melbourne designers. Here’s Stuart from design studio Chase & Galley, very convincing as the role of the Mad Scientist as he made crystals and slime, and the Psycho Tatt Parlour (something about reacting psychically to certain signs and having them inked on you – bizarre).