Melbourne Fringe Festival is on now until 9 October 2011 and one of the regular parts of the eclectic program is the free Fringe Furniture exhibition.

The theme for this year’s exhibition is ‘Dancing in the Dark: Small Solutions to Big Problems’. Basically, this translates to design that’s smart, green, sustainable and beautiful by designers, architects, planners and artists from all around Australia.

Here are some of my favourite pieces from this year’s Fringe Furniture. The list of this year’s award winners is here.

Winner of the Emerging Designer Award – RMIT furniture design student Elizabeth Bowtell for Tri. How nifty is this bench! It can be configured to whatever seating arrangements you need, from a long bench to a few small stools, or can be completely closed up when not in use. It’s made from sustainable bamboo board and stainless steel.

Convergence by another RMIT furniture design student Thom Lentini. I like how this outdoor bench combines straight lines with organic objects. This was highly recommended by in the Award for Sustainable and Waste-Wise Design.

Metropolis: Jardinière made of found wood by Nico Evans at Lab De Stu (Laboratory Design Studio). I liked how the plant seemed to be devouring and overtaking its urban surroundings like a giant green Godzilla.

The Tern Table (Barry Horsfall) and Atlantis sofa (Greg Lawson) made entirely from sustainable materials. They wouldn’t look out of place on the set of Mad Men.

By David Potts, chandeliers made from discarded bike parts – rims, hubs, spokes, cables and reflectors. Who knew these glittery little pieces of coloured plastic would make such a pretty piece of decorative design?

Bike wardrobe by Liam Prescott. A whimsical combination of the natural and the man-made serving a decorative and functional purpose.

Fringe Furniture, Melbourne Fringe Festival, Abbotsford Convent, 1 St Heliers St, Abbotsford

Wednesday to Sunday 11:00am – 5:00pm until 9 October