Ever since I moved into my new place, I’ve been obsessed with design blogs. I spend so much time trawling Google Reader for inspiring and ingenious art, design and craft that it might as well be my full time job. Hence I haven’t had time until now to see some real-life design at NGV Australia.

The Cicely and Colin Rigg Contemporary Design Award is one of the most prestigious design awards in Australia and NGV Australia is displaying some of the seat furniture designs from this year’s entrants until 30 August. It’s not just pretty chairs, but an exploration of how furniture can shape the way people interact with each other and the spaces around them.

The dozen or so chairs were kept in glass cabinets to give a perception of ‘preciousness’ and to emphasise design as art. Strangely, the winning chair from Simone LeAmon was the design that I liked least in the exhibition. For me the standouts were:

The Cicely and Colin Rigg Contemporary Design Award Oliver Field Flex Hammock

Adam Cornish ‘Flex Hammock’ – a structure simultaneously solid and flexible, like the organic shapes of an African woven basket or water scoop carved out of tree bark.

The Cicely and Colin Rigg Contemporary Design Award Helen Kontouris 101 chair

Helen Kontouris ‘101 Chair’ – a chic and poised Audrey Hepburn of a chair, twisted from like a mobilis strip. It reminded me of the elegant stance of a terracotta warrior statue I saw at the British Museum.

The Cicely and Colin Rigg Contemporary Design Award Y Knot Jacqueline Yin Jun Ling

Jacqueline Yin Jun Ling ‘Y knot’ – a flourescent plastic and knotted chair, the tension of the frame and the ropes reminiscent of Le Corbusier’s Basculant Sling chair.

The Cicely and Colin Rigg Contemporary Design Award Lambie Chan Ribbon Bench

Lambie Chan ‘Ribbon’ – another example of a structure at once fluid and solid.

The Cicely and Colin Rigg Contemporary Design Award Polytopia

Lucas Chirnside ‘Polytopia’ – a variable seating arrangement like an unravelled Rubik’s cube or maybe Death Star?

The Cicely and Coling Rigg Contemporary Design Awards Hedge Oliver Field

Oliver Field ‘Hedge’ – a bench consisting of the contrast between hot pink rugae-like sponginess and a sharp moveable steel table.