Australian Design Centre plays a critical role in celebrating the work of Australian artists who embrace the highest degree of skill and who continually explore material, process and ideas to advance contemporary craft and design practice.

Object Space is a window gallery located in the window of the Australian Design Centre HQ on William Street in Darlinghurst. The exhibition space has direct street frontage, is accessible to view 24 hours a day and is lit for viewing at night.

31 March – 25 May 2022

The Miner’s Wife is inspired by a Coober Pedy tradition - the miner’s wife gets first pick from the quarried opals. This work illuminates the seductive beauty of the black opal. Appliqued in Asian silk and satin shapes layered over matt black vintage linen, the piece is drenched in celestial hand sewn glass beads, mimicking the fiery colours of opals.

Opals are prized the world over and legends speak of their origins and supernatural powers. In Arabic folklore, the Bedouins of the Sahara liken opals to flashes of lightning. Believing they fell from heaven during storms with lighting trapped inside them, they became known as ‘thunderstones’. Opals in the Spanish court of King Alfonso XII appeared cursed after a spate of fatalities gave them the reputation of bad luck, and closer to home, opals appear in Aboriginal Dreamtime stories.

The Miner’s Wife, 2022
Vintage linen, Asian silks, Peranakan glass beads
980 x 700 x 8mm

The Miner’s Wife: A fictional tale of the black opal by Soraya Abidin.

Shahnaz was a sweet-scented woman with striking blue-black hair set in thick buoyant curls. She wore a pale pastel dress with a shiny white belt cinched at the waist and peep-toe heels that elevated her slender body to a goddess’s height. Her flushed rosy face was sprinkled with freckles, eyes dark as night, perfectly contoured with kohl and shadowed in Arabian blue. Her attention to detail may have gone unnoticed by those around her, but to Shahnaz the rituals of glamour were always to be performed.

Mirrored metal rim sunglasses framed Malik’s sun kissed face and full head of glistening chestnut hair. His coarsely woven linen shirt had safari style pockets and short sleeves that fitted tightly over his toned arms. He was a decorated soldier, who carried deep scars of combat.

Seeking remedy, he and his wife travelled to Australia to live in the far north-west. Malik worked the mines tirelessly in pursuit of the black opal. Retreating to the depth of the mine pit was an escape from the haunting memories of war.

The plight of those who seek the stones were the subject of many hours of gossip within the tiny township. The arrival of this foreign couple did not go without mention.

In the blackness of the mines, Malik was guided by the voice of his ancestors: ‘The small fruit is abundant, but the black opal has the power you seek, possession of this divine gemstone will bear the fruitfulness you and your wife yearn for. Search Mother Earth day and night in preparation for your family.’

It was rumoured that a momentous lighting strike in a volcanic storm will unearth this wondrous creation. The unusual darkness of this gemstone bestowing the power of foresight and prophecy captured in its rainbow of colour.

Willing the gemstone to appear, Malik stared at the sky day and night. He knew it was best to seek this stone after such a storm, when the earth is deeply weathered and divinity is released into the groundwater, when it is quieter and the voice of Mother Earth could be heard:

‘With the thickness of five million years my precious layers commence to form.

I will play with you in the fields of coloured diffraction through the cracks of visible light.

Contained in my voids is the porosity of my past, I must carefully provide for you and fill your fissures.

Follow my seams through the myriad of colourlessness to the matrix of opalised confession.

I am your rainbow talisman and bearer of fruitfulness. The god of love.

I gift you the sun of October.

Gift my opal to the Miner’s Wife’.

Malik watched and waited for the colossal storm to come. One starless night the songbirds were silent, the ants moved quickly as the western winds began to whine and a darkness swallowed the sky.

A moist acidic taste filled the air as Malik made his descent into the darkness. Led by a glittering stream of new groundwater lighting the path, he ran his hands along the soft layers of fresh earth and followed the travelling echoes of thunder. The volcanic storm built to its crescendo. Its final thunderous strike filled the mine’s chamber with a pure light, illuminating rock walls laden with vines of small fruits that climbed and cradled the blackest of black opal, blinding with colour.

Anxious for his return, Shahnaz waited for Malik to ascend. He arose and opened his hand revealing the brilliant gemstone. The shape of an almond and still carrying the warmth of creation, Shahnaz looked at her husband and opened her mouth. He placed it on her tongue and she closed her eyes and swallowed deeply as the smooth stone slid down her throat.

Her eyes now open, they mirrored an iridescent rainbow of colour and that night their fruit began to grow.

About Soraya Abidin
Soraya Abidin is a contemporary textile artist from Sydney. Soraya’s practice explores the notion of inter-culturalism through commonalities of beading, embroidery and quilting practiced by her Malay and Australian ancestors. Recent work criss-crosses her heritage as she switches between cultural frames, techniques, and materials.

Soraya’s textile practice continues to explore the significance of ‘light’ in cultural lore, often considered a metaphoric source of enlightenment and universal guidance connected to the creation of the sun, moon, stars and galaxies.

Soraya’s work has been exhibited and published nationally and internationally. Most recently she exhibited in the Australian Muslim Awards 2021 at the Islamic Museum Australia and currently has work on tour in Tension(s) 2020, for the Tamworth Textile Triennial.

A photo of the artist, Soraya Abidin, working on her textile piece, The Miner's Wife, in her studio

Soraya with The Miner's Wife, Work in Progress, 2022 Photo: Courtesy of the artist

The Miner's Wife

31 March – 25 May 2022

A textile work is inspired by the Coober Pedy tradition of the miner’s wife having first pick of the quarried opals.


4 March – 28 March 2022

Otto Paton raises questions about the hidden forces that shape our future while investigating the impact of development on the urban landscape.

High (safe)-Tea

10 February – 3 March 2022

High (Safe)-Tea presents a traditional tea party playfully reimagined with an emphasis on hygiene and safety in a COVID-19 safe manner.

Apothecary Now!

18 November 2021 - 02 February 2022

Inspired by Renaissance apothecary jars (or albarellos), Sassy Park’s pots use techniques and motifs that link the current Covid-19 pandemic to history

Windowsmiths: Murmuration

20 May - 7 July, 2021

Murmuration - A Pliable Formation is a contemporary installation by the Windowsmiths.

Gingham All You’ve Got

25 March - 13 May
Eloise Rapp uses regular cotton business shirts as the base material for her work commenting on the urgent need to repair, reuse and revalue used textiles as robust materials.

Fashion Futures

4 February - 20 March 2021

In partnership with UTS Fashion & Textiles, we present a selection of work by the 2020 graduates. Three designers will be featured in our William Street window gallery for two weeks each. The designers are: Joshua Saacks, Kerry Brack and Sally Jackson.

Patterns In-between

26 November, 2020 - 27 January, 2021

Patterns In-between is Bic’s self-examination of living between two cultures and acknowledgement of the reality that exists ‘in-between’. 

Connecting Cultures

9 October – 24 November, 2020 

Connecting Cultures showcases wearable collections from Indigenous Australian brand, Gillawarra Arts and Colombian brand, Mami Watta Collections.

WORKSHOPPED20: Object Space

9 August - 30 September 2020 

On display, work by Alex Gilmour, WORKSHOPPED20 superstar.

The New Neighbours: Meredith Woolnough

09 June - 29 July 2020

On display in Object Space is the work The New Neighbours by Meredith Woolnough as a part of the exhibition Open House: 3rd Tamworth Textile Triennial.

In the Fire Zone: How to Cook a Knife

26 March - 27 May 2020

Designer-maker, contemporary jeweller and winner of the Australian Design Centre Award for Profile 19, Dianne Beevers investigates what might happen if people learn how to make their own domestic tools. This exhibition reveals her first accomplishments in knifemaking showing two Damascus kitchen knives.

Sweet Spot: Julie Paterson

31 January - 18 March 2020

Sweet Spot is a collection of stencil symbols and the marks that they make. In this work Julie Paterson cross pollinates her multidimensional practice as a designer, painter and printmaker. The collection of symbols, originally part of landscape paintings, create a library of shapes that leap from the canvas.

Bright Start

21 November 2019 - 22 January 2020

Bright Start features the work of first year students of the Bachelor of Design Degree and is part of the Designing Bright Futures exhibition program produced by Australian Design Centre in partnership with UNSW Art & Design. 

Intergradation: Taerim Claire Jeon

3 October - 13 November 2019

Intergradation is an exhibition of the Jogakbo (Traditional Korean patchwork) work of a Sydney based artist Taerim Claire Jeon. This exhibition is presented in partnership with the Korean Cultural Centre, Australia. 

Gadigal Mural Exhibition

2 July - 13 August 2019

Gadigal Mural is an Object Space exhibition, celebrating NAIDOC 2019 and the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Language. 

Jane Theau

1 August – 25 September 2019

Just shopping, always shopping is one of a series of large-scale lace drawings depicting people in unexceptional, everyday moments

Stephen Goddard

28 May - 26 June 2019

Welcome. by Stephen Goddard explores typographical design, punctation and meaning in street signage.

How do you read the sign? If you trespass will you be prosecuted, or that no trespassing violators will be prosecuted and should be allowed to stay?  

Suzanne McRae

11 April - 26 May 2019

Suzanne McRae's work is immersed in sentimentality and the haunting nature of memory. These once cherished creatures, inhabitants of the past, live on today. 

Gunybi Ganambarr

1 February - 3 April 2019

On display in Object Space is the work of acclaimed Yolngu artist Gunybi Ganambarr as part of the exhibition STEEL: art design architecture. 

Dennis Golding

22 November 2018 - 23 January 2019

Kamilaroi/Gamilaraay artist Dennis Golding exhibits one of his newest superhero capes titled My Cape, which empowers human and posthuman experiences of being on country. 

Dorothy Filshie

5 October - 14 November 2018

Fish Out of Water is an exhibition of the textile object work of NSW artist Dorothy Filshie.

Esme Timbery: Shellwork

2 August - 3 October 2018

The iconic artworks, Untitled 'Sydney Opera House' and Untitled 'Harbour Bridge' by Bidjigal artist and elder Esme Timbery celebrate the important shellwork tradition of the La Perouse community and Timbery's contemporary practice. 

Euphemia Bostock

21 June - 29 July 2018

Fashion Collection 1987 by artist Euphemia Bostock is a collection of handprinted garments featuring original designs created for the 1987 Au Printemps Department Store exhibition ‘Australis down under’ in Paris.

Vita Cochran

5 April - 22 May 2018

Textile artist Vita Cochran embraces bold colour and geometric designs through her hand-embroidered handbags and applique hangings. 

Play Up

8 February - 24 March 2018

This project involved the making of objects to support humour therapy in dementia care and was a collaboration between Tasman Munro, a social designer interested in creating objects that bring life to communities and Jean-Paul Bell, a humourmanitarian with a long history in the arts and health industry. 

Gunjan Aylawadi

6 October – 15 October 2017

Sydney-based paper artist Gunjan Aylawadi presents HAKK, a large-scale, intricate paper installation.

Adam Cornish

23 November 2017 - 31 January 2018

Adam Cornish's Trinity Collection is based on the nautilus shell and was the first project he designed for Alessi.