NIDA acknowledges the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the lands on which we learn and tell stories, the Bidjigal, Gadigal, Dharawal and Dharug peoples, and we pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past and present.


NIDA Alumni Designers create 1001 Remarkable Objects for the Powerhouse Museum

NIDA Design alumni Julie Lynch APDG (Design 1984), Pip Runciman APDG (Design 2002) and Ross Wallace APDG (Design 1985) along with Lighting Designer Damien Cooper (Technical Production 1996) are presenting the incredible 1001 Remarkable Objects collection across the applied arts and sciences including decorative arts, jewellery, costume, textiles, furniture, clocks, musical instruments, industrial design and social history.

‘We rejected the nomenclature of “treasures” or “masterpieces” and instead determined all choices must be in some way “remarkable” – whether by virtue of rarity, visual appeal, social history or an ability to invoke wonder.’ Leo Schofield AM Powerhouse Trustee and Curator.

Pip Leo and Roos

From left to right: Pip Runciman APDG (Design 2002),Leo Schofield AM Powerhouse Trustee and Curator, and Ross Wallace APDG (Design 1985).

The three exhibition designers were invited to respond to underlying themes of nature, power, movement and joy. They have created an exhibition that features more than 25 rooms, presenting an unexpected juxtaposition of objects and leading visitors on a journey across time and memory.

Designer Julie Lynch Said: ‘The exhibition design for 1001 Remarkable Objects was a yearlong process of painstaking design development and realisation. I have known Pip and Ross for many decades; in fact, Ross and I were at NIDA together and I taught Pip at NIDA in the noughties. So even though I had not worked with the team before, I knew I was working with a very dedicated and clever creative team. The three of us brought over 100 years of theatrical experience to the table and Leo Schofield is as ‘remarkable’ as the objects themselves.

We were joined by Lighting Designer Damien Cooper, another NIDA graduate and a designer, whom I have worked with many times – making up the perfect NIDA grad design team! While we graduated in different decades (80s, 90s + 00s), we all share a rich capacity for creative invention and back this with a work ethic that NIDA grads are renowned for. The scale, depth and ambition of 1001 provided a design brief of a lifetime and the Museum worked tirelessly to realise our vision. We have created a maze of wonder; my favourite room is the Peacock Room and I am so proud of our collective achievements. Go see it!!!’

Pip and Julie

Pip Runciman APDG (Design 2002) and Julie Lynch APDG (Design 1984)

Designer Ross Wallace Said: ‘It was a great honour to work on 1001 Remarkable objects with Leo and Pip and Julie. We three designers all worked well with each other, and I think it was the discipline of our NIDA training which gave us a professional and supportive attitude. We all had a great appreciation for the heritage and the aesthetic value of each of the objects and because of our “theatrical” backgrounds, the story telling and the creation of settings for the narratives to unfold were classic NIDA dramaturgy 101.’

Designer Pip Runciman said: ‘Collaborating with Leo, the curatorium, and our fellow NIDA graduates – Julie, Ross and Damian, along with other NIDA design graduates at Powerhouse, was a wonderful experience. Our shared NIDA backgrounds combined with our history together meant we had a unified approach and methodology to the design process. Our background in theatrical design and NIDA training meant we shared the same work ethic and expectations, and it also made us look at things a little differently, which hopefully adds an extra dimension to the exhibition. Along the way, we had the opportunity to discover some of the fascinating stories and histories behind the objects, thanks to Leo and the curators. We hope that everyone who visits the exhibition can delight in the rare, the remarkable, the whimsical and discover some of the stories behind the objects for themselves!’

1001 Remarkable Objects presents an unexpected juxtaposition of objects that lead us on a journey across time and memory. The selection includes objects that have never been exhibited until now alongside much-loved Powerhouse Collection icons. A special highlight includes the Stiletto shoe bikes from the Priscilla Float from the Icon Parade of the 2000 Olympic closing ceremony which were designed by Ross Wallace. ‘Being included in the exhibition as an object designer as well as exhibition designer was an honour for me.’, said Ross.

Pink Diamond dress and Fruity Mambo costume

Other alumni highlights include The ‘Pink Diamonds’ dress worn by Nicole Kidman in Baz Luhrmann’s (Acting 1985) film, Moulin Rouge and the ‘Fruity Mambo’ costumes designed by Catherine Martin (Design 1988) for Strictly Ballroom the Musical.

Powerhouse Museum – 1001 Remarkable Objects on now until 23 December 2023.