Fred Ward: A Life in Design

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When it comes to Australian post-war furniture design Fred Ward is perhaps one of the most iconic designers of the period. With a career spanning 60 years,
Ward was at the forefront of modernist design trends, designing furniture for the Myer Heritage range, Fler and countless large scale commissions for public institutions. 

Fred Ward: A Life in Design is considered to be the most comprehensive survey of Ward’s prolific design career and features a substantial collection of furniture designed by Ward, as well as original drawings and photographs.

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Ward’s designs are often simple, but it is this simplicity that makes his work stand out amongst so many other designers of the period. A highlight for me was a chance to see some of his rare and early designs from the 1930’s, such as a beautiful modernist chest of drawers and a  lounge chair (pictured) from the ‘unit range’ featuring the original fabric by textile designer Michael O’Connell.

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Many of the pieces on display were accompanied by Ward’s original design drawings which really helps the visitor to get a better understanding of the design process, but also the man behind the designs. I highly recommend checking out this important exhibition. This is serious eye candy for those who value craftsmanship and beautiful furniture.

Fred Ward: A Life in Design is a FREE exhibition showing at the Gallery of Australian Design in Canberra from 30 May, 2013 — 27 Jul, 2013. The exhibition coincides with the release of a new biography on Fred Ward, written by designer Derek Wrigley, who had collaborated with Ward in his later years in Canberra.

You can hear an interview with Derek Wrigley recorded in August 2013 for the ‘By Design’ program on ABC Radio National. For more information on Fred Ward check out the Fred Ward Archive Collection on the Powerhouse Museum website.

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