Cataloguing Forgotten Beauty

More than 50 years ago, the art of design was created by hand, individually drawn on layers of film positive to build up to the final creative piece. 

The technical experience of the artist to visualise the end design and separate it in their mind into layers that all matched perfectly when it came together, as well as each side matching up to produce a perfect reproduction.

It was a skill that seemed would all but be lost, if not for the desire to save and protect Australian Design History from the mid 1800’s to the 1980’s. 

The Australian Museum of Design is the custodian of more than 7,500 original hand drawn designs by Australian artists, and our inspiration is to share them with new generations of designers, artists and art lovers across the world.

David Lennie, owner of Signature Prints Pty Ltd, understood the value of the design library and carefully protected it for more than 30 years. From time to time, he would release a selection of the designs for use as wallpaper and fabrics. David released the Florence Broadhurst designs circa 2000 to worldwide acclaim.

Today, Sydney business woman and friend of David Lennie, Margaux Everett has developed a way to not only preserve the historic designs forever but has designed a pathway to release them to the world through commercial licensing access.

The fragile designs will be meticulously scanned to preserved to preserve the beautiful flaws only achieved through hand drawing. The process of digitising the original hand drawn designs and ultimately making them available in 3D form will take more than 12 months. The designs are so intricate, many have up to 7 different layers that each need to be scanned separately to preserve the entire design. Once digitised we hope the works will be housed via an architecturally designed virtual reality museum where visitors can touch a design and see it come to life. Fashion houses, textile companies, designers, stylists, Governments and the general public will eventually be able to access each of the 7,500 designs for commercial use.  

Our library includes the collections of Australian artists such as Florence Broadhurst, Noel Lyons, David Miles, Carla Zampatti and Bruce Clarke, all of whom took inspiration from the surrounding Australian nature.

Margaux Everett explained “The designs can be used to create retro or contemporary interpretations across diverse mediums such as fabrics, hand bags, stationery, clothing, curtains, and jewellery. The potential applications are endless. Designers will think of new applications that have never existed before. Imagine seeing the designs on a massive scale as a façade on a building or on hoardings at a construction site.”

Co-Founder and Director David Lennie stated. “Design History is considered very important in most developed countries throughout the world. Australia has a growing appreciation of the importance of design. That is why Australian Museum of Design needed to be created.

“This is the first time ever someone has attempted to document, and record safely, the movement and changes of design. The Australian Museum of Design is a safe place for artists to house their designs, and if desired, license them in our marketplace.”

Enquire here for more information

Australian Museum of Design Back wall with open film in studio
Australian Museum of Design David Miles

The Vision

The Past Reimagined in a Virtual-Reality Landscape

Virtual-reality technology makes bringing the largest body of hand-drawn Australian designs to the public possible. The designs in our collection were created originally by the artists in multiple layers of film positives to form the final art piece. This time-intensive process has since been replaced by modern design software, losing the desired imperfections achieved through hand-drawn art.

Through the curation and cataloguing of designs, you can experience the complete 3D impression of the construction of each design in a way that has never been done before.

Digitising original hand-drawn designs and making them available in 3D form is a 12-month + long process. Each design is intricate, some with up to seven layers. Every layer must be scanned separately to maintain the integrity of each artwork. We have a team of professional curators assisting in the meticulous preservation process. 

Through virtual-reality technology, we can proudly showcase over 7,500 designs in a fully immersive way. Our goal is for you to experience the collection as if in an actual museum, where there is space, openness, and tactile embracing of each design. You will be able to ‘touch’ the works and appreciate their layered and intricate construction.

Largest body of Australian designs

Unseen by the public for more than 50 years