From the window of her light-filled studio, jeweller Phoebe Porter has a view out across the courtyard of Gorman House. On the skyline giant cranes stand tall, as property developments almost engulf the heritage-listed building in Braddon.
Porter has referenced these cranes for a new work, Elements of Balance, commissioned for the DESIGN Canberra festival in her role of designer-in-residence.
The work has been created in response to the 2019 festival theme of Utopia and the festival's celebration of the Bauhaus 100th anniversary.
"I was thinking about the theme of Utopia and it's a pretty broad theme and an idea that has contradictions inherit within it," Porter says.
"What constitutes utopia for one person wouldn't necessarily be right for another person, especially when thinking about it from the perspective of city planning.
"It's all about trying to find that balance, finding something that works for everybody and really it's unattainable."
Despite its industrial inspiration, Elements of Balance, is a delicate piece.
Two contrasting elements of equal weight balance each other perfectly atop a black cone. Five grams of gold, a highly valued traditional material, hangs on a chain, balanced against a red circle of five grams of aluminium, an industrial material, representing progress and contemporary mass-produced objects of desire.
Now in its sixth year, the 2019 DESIGN Canberra festival will be held from November 4-24, hosting more than 200 events, exhibitions, talks, tours, activations, markets, collaborations, artist studios and open homes.
The festival aims to celebrate the ongoing growth and recognition of Canberra as a global city of design by supporting the burgeoning design community in Canberra, and innovative design communities from all over the world.
"Canberra is a special place to have a design festival being a designed city," Porter says.
"Internationally it's quite unique in the way it came about, maybe as Australians we haven't valued it as much as we should.
"But I think that's changing, with mid-century modern becoming so celebrated people are starting to recognise Canberra has some of the best examples in the world."