'Tis the season to be Modern

This July, Sydney Living Museums launches Modernism Season. As a proud supporting partner, we share highlights from the season.

Mansfield house, designed by Dr Henry Epstein. Max Dupain, 1959. Max Dupain and Associates Archive: 3422, State Library of NSW. Courtesy Epstein family to Sydney Living Museums.

The Moderns: European Designers in Sydney


Date: Saturday 22nd July – Sunday 26th November 2017
Location: Museum of Sydney


We are all familiar with the story of Austrian-born immigrant Harry Seidler AC OBE, sculptor of the Sydney city skyline and now one of Australia’s most renowned modernist architects. But what about the other architects, furniture makers and interior designers who also emigrated to Australia during the 1930s to the 1960s who had an undeniable influence on our burgeoning metropolis?

This exhibition features a series of objects that share the stories of Sydney’s forgotten émigrés. Explore pieces from furniture makers George Korody and Steven Kalmar and stories from architects such as Henry Epstein and Hugh Buhrich.


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Mad About Modernism


Date: Sunday 27th August 2017
Time: 10am – 4.30pm
Location: Rose Seidler House, 71 Clissold Road, Wahroonga


Modernist obsessives alert: in August, you can experience a full day dedicated to talks, tours and soaking up the beautiful surrounds of Rose Seidler House.

Catch Tim Ross and Tone Wheeler talk about Why People Hate Modernism, or hear Brian Seidler and Ian Innes discuss Brian’s personal journey in restoring and renovating two exceptional modernist homes, the Donna and Brian Seidler House (formally the Marcus Seidler house) and the Julian Rose House. There will also be an opportunity to tour these homes, as well as some other inspiring modernist homes in the area. Or, stay on site and watch renowned illustrator James Gulliver Hancock sketch modernist objects.

Those attending the Mad About Modernism day will receive a beautiful sketch of Rose Seidler House by James Gulliver Hancock, courtesy of Modern House (while stocks last).


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Rose Seidler House Photograph © Phyllis Wong, Sydney Living Museums
‘A room for Mary Quant’, designed by Marion Best Pty Ltd, 1967.  Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection, Sydney Living Museums. Photo © Mary White.

Marion Hall Best – Interiors Exhibition


Date: Saturday 4th August to Sunday 12th November 2017
Location: Museum of Sydney


No modernist season would be complete without a celebration of Marion Hall Best’s interiors. Her bold colours and patterns have become a signature for Australian modernist design. This exhibition, drawn from Sydney Living Museum’s extensive archive as well as other contributions, presents Best’s work over four decades from the mid-1930s. Attend the exhibition talk on Monday 7th August to hear some of the stories behind the original furniture, fabrics and furnishings on display.

Dr Caroline Butler-Bowdon, Director, Strategy & Engagement, Sydney Living Museums, is passionate about encouraging an appreciation of Modernist design in Australia. Says Dr Butler-Bowdon: “We hope that by bringing to life these stories, and the designers’ and architects’ accomplishments and connections, we can grow the depth of public knowledge and appreciation of the period.”

She continues: “This engagement is a virtuous circle: given opportunities to understand and enjoy heritage, visitors will value it, which means that they will want to support and care for it so that future generations will have the chance to understand and enjoy heritage, and so on.” With the preservation of Modernist architecture at the very heart of what we do, we fervently hope that the Modernist season brings enjoyment – and appreciation – to modernist and non-modernist enthusiasts alike. Now, wouldn’t that be jolly?


View the schedule of events and book tickets here: https://sydneylivingmuseums.com.au/events-exhibitions