Aluminium is a single material exploration. Six artists, makers and designers respond to the allure, practicality, and ethics of aluminium and together showcase the versatile applications of this metal within contemporary material practice.

Aluminium is celebrated as a lightweight, malleable and abundant contemporary metal and is increasingly used as much for its aesthetics as for its properties. Thought of as affordable and easy to manipulate, we associate it with technological advances such as those in aviation, food packaging and machinery. However, it is a material of contradiction; obtaining virgin aluminium is resource-heavy, with significant tolls on the environment through bauxite extraction and processing. Conversely, when recycled, it is considered one of the most sustainable industrial materials with comparatively minimal carbon emissions.

Exhibitors have been invited to respond to the complexities of this material and have created work made exclusively from recycled aluminium. With a shared sense of resourcefulness and ingenuity, they have each gathered their material from local sources, whether post-industrial waste sites, seconds from hyperintelligent machine manufacturing or discarded soda cans and studio offcuts. Through this exhibition, waste aluminium is repositioned as a prized local material, reclaimed and mindfully used to produce sculptural and practical objects of design.

Aluminium joins the discussion on the complexities of working with raw materials in contemporary material practice. The exhibition brings particular attention to aluminium processing and encourages the broader design and creative industries to follow suit and be more mindful of material provenance.

The exhibition forms part of the launch of Conscious Craft – a Craft Victoria initiative showcasing innovative creations by makers and designers who are actively considering sustainability and ethics in their production methods and use of materials.

This exhibition is part of Melbourne Design Week 2024, an initiative of the Victorian Government through Creative Australia.

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Other Matter Decals™ by Jessie French

The exhibition wall text for Aluminium features Other Matter Decals™ by Jessie French – an exciting new alternative to conventional PVC decals. Other Matter Decals™ are made from an algae polymer that is both sustainable and renewable.