New wave
Belle Magazine Australia|October 2021
Whether embarking on intrepid forays in nature or exalting designers with the daring to change our world, Ewan McEoin – the NGV’s senior curator of contemporary art, design and architecture – likes things “the wilder the better”.
Ewan McEoin

THE ARTIST WHO HAS BEEN AN ENDURING INFLUENCE?

Alvar Aalto [1+2]. As a young architecture journalist, I had the opportunity to travel to Finland on a tour of Aalto’s seminal projects, including his lakeside summer house and studio he shared with his wife and collaborator Aino Marsio-Aalto. Aalto’s unique interpretation of modernism, which was humanist while remaining in dialogue with nature, offered a set of values that made sense to me. I recall being fascinated by his capacity to shift in scale – from vase to chair, house to hospital. That trip began an ongoing conversation for me about design being rooted in place, respectful of the local, a balancing act between technology and craft.

CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS WHO YOU ADMIRE?

I believe situations with emotional intensity are what defines memory and shapes us as individuals. I admire artists, designers and architects who maintain an expanded view of the interconnections and entanglement of life. They can create opportunities for people to step outside themselves – to transcend the everyday and momentarily grasp something bigger than us all. I have admiration for those who orient their practice towards the audience, inviting people into a shared experience.

WHAT DREW YOU TO A CAREER IN DESIGN?

My parents are designers so I grew up in a place where design was valued. I studied environmental science and have always been fascinated by systems and ecologies. I also love writing. These led me to a job at an architecture magazine. Design and architecture appealed as a sector that is creative [and] capable of improving the world.

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