If you're somehow lucky enough to view Civic from the sky this month, you'll see a series of huge graphic prints dominating the pavement between the buildings of a tiny metropolis.
Because when it comes to the DESIGN Canberra festival, even cement isn't safe.
The six-week festival, officially launched on Monday, encompasses hundreds of homegrown creatives, a series of small and large-scale events, and the kind of guerilla public art installations that make Civic shoppers stop dead in their tracks.
The godfather of Canberran mid-century design - Enrico Taglietti - is the headliner, and a bus is warming up to take Canberrans (and interstate visitors) on a tour of some of our most stunning residential architecture. If you spot a monstrous sea cucumber made by Japanese artist Kengo Kuma on Aspen Island, you know why.
DESIGN Canberra runs for the whole of November and into December, and started life as a "big idea from a little organisation". That organisation was Craft ACT, and according to its CEO and the festival's artistic director, Rachael Coghlan, DESIGN Canberra gathers more momentum every year because "design is in Canberra's DNA".
Now, more than ever, design is inherent in what we do, she says - from people designing their own lives to cultural institutions designing experiences and governments designing service delivery.
"We're a design city," Coghlan says.
"We're one of the few designed national capitals in the world, and our city is so beautiful - it really is a spectacularly beautiful city - and on top of that we've got this really close-knit community of designers and artists and makers.
"Many of those people - like Enrico [Taglietti] - could live anywhere in the world and they choose to live, work and make here in Canberra. I don't think even Canberrans know that."
The DESIGN Canberra program is 12 months in the making and aims to "throw the spotlight on some of the people who are right here in our backyard doing amazing things".
"It makes you feel even more love for this beautiful city when you see this dimension that is really creative and inspiring, and just so different to the cliches of politicians and roundabouts we always hear."
Canberra print and installation artist Marilou Chagnaud loves that the festival allows people to interact so publicly with her work.
Chagnaud, 35, is literally immersed daily in Canberra's best creative offerings; she's a technician at the ANU School of Art and Design gallery and works part-time at collaborative fashion boutique Assemblage Project.
She's responsible for three projects within the DESIGN Canberra festival, including the giant monotone Play in a loop graphic on Civic Square, and an exhibition at Canberra Museum and Gallery entitled The wave machine.
"DESIGN Canberra is fantastic, just a great place for artists and designers to explore new ideas and get involved in the city," Chagnaud says.
"As an artist, I love nothing more than watching a broad audience interact with my art."
DESIGN Canberra festival, November/December 2018, various venues across the ACT. Further information and tickets at designcanberrafestival.com.au
For artistic director Rachael Coghlan's top five picks of the festival, head to today's Arts section.
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