Supporting great art, design and architecture was Australian philanthropist Naomi Milgrom’s aim in starting a foundation in 2014.

The Naomi Milgrom Foundation aims to enrich Australian cultural life and engage new audiences, backing projects with strong public, industry and educational components and economic and social benefits. It has become a model for public-private collaboration.

One of the Foundation’s first and biggest projects was the commissioning of MPavilion, four temporary architect-designed pavilions for Melbourne with a related free public events program each summer. The first MPavilion in 2014, designed by Sean Godsell Architects, was followed by MPavilion 2015 by British architect Amanda Levete, of AL_A. The 2016 pavilion will be the work of Bijoy Jain, of Studio Mumbai, India. Each temporary pavilion is gifted to the City of Melbourne at its close and is relocated to a permanent home in the city.

Naomi Milgrom AO
Naomi Milgrom AO

Australian entrepreneur Naomi Milgrom AO has been a collector of art and a supporter of the arts, science and education for more than three decades.

In 2014, looking for a way to share a passion for the arts, she set up the Naomi Milgrom Foundation. “I wanted to jump-start projects that simply wouldn’t happen otherwise,” she says.
Naomi draws on her business skills to inspire creativity, working with universities, business and government. Art and design that challenges the way we see the world has been the focus of her cultural philanthropy.

As well as chairing the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) for six years, Naomi is Australia’s Commissioner for the 2017 Venice Biennale, which will feature the work of Tracey Moffatt.

Naomi, who was awarded an AO for business and community leadership and philanthropy, has served on the boards of business, arts and science organisations. She is executive chair of 500-store fashion retailer Sportsgirl/Sussan Group.

The Naomi Milgrom Foundation has packed a lot into its short existence. Since its beginning in 2014 it has backed a variety of art, design and architecture initiatives in Australia from exhibitions and education programs at the Australian Centre for Moving Image (ACMI) to the new Australian Pavilion in Venice designed by Denton Corker Marshall.

Commissioning and funding the MPavilion, in Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Gardens, has perhaps been the foundation’s biggest project. Four temporary pavilions - one a year - are designed by renowned architects. Over four summers the pavilions host a variety of free cultural events such as design workshops, dance performances, music, artist talks and storytelling sessions, yoga and architectural bike tours.

The foundation initiates bold public projects with an emphasis on education, to increase public engagement with the arts. It tries to be flexible, collaborative, accessible and to take risks in its approach to culture.

MPavilion 2015

Designed by Amanda Levete, of AL_A. Photo by John Golling

MPavilion 2015

Designed by Amanda Levete, of AL_A. Photo by John Golling

Founded in 2014, MPavilion is a unique architecture commission and design event for Melbourne, initiated by the Naomi Milgrom Foundation with support from City of Melbourne and the Victorian State Government.

Every year for four years, an outstanding architect will be commissioned to design a temporary pavilion for the Queen Victoria Gardens, in the centre of Melbourne’s Southbank Arts Precinct.

An event hub, a meeting place and an invitation to experiment, each MPavilion brings creative collaborators together to present a free, four-month program of talks, workshops and performances from October to February.

The 2015 MPavilion has been designed by AL_A, the studio of Stirling Prize–winning architect Amanda Levete. The 2014 MPavilion was designed by Australian firm Sean Godsell Architects, and now has a new, permanent home at Melbourne’s Hellenic Museum.

MPavilion’s 2015/16 program has been put together by Creative Director and CEO Robert Buckingham in collaboration with Associate Producer Jessie French, Creative Associate Natalie King, and Dan Honey and Emma Telfer of Office for Good Design.

MPavilion is an event hub, a meeting place, a temporary landmark, a spontaneous detour, a starting point. Exploring the role of design in the city, we’re collaborating with thinkers, doers and makers to bring you a free fourmonth program of talks, workshops, performances and installations from October 2015 to February 2016. Browse our events below, and we’ll see you in the gardens.

MRelay 2015. Mary Portas and the City of Melbourne’s
director of city design, Rob Adams.

Miracle Swamp: The place of Queen Victoria Gardens in the urban, horticultural and creative life of Melbourne. Gina Levenspiel’s 80-page illustrated history of MPavilion’s garden home is full of hand-drawn maps and weird and wonderful stories about Melbourne’s past.

Walter Van Beirendonck: Dream The World Awake (RMIT Design Hub)

Photo by Peter Bennetts

Walter Van Beirendonck: Dream The World Awake (RMIT Design Hub)

Photo by Peter Bennetts

Australia Pavilion, Venice

Designed by Denton Corker Marshall. Photo by John Gollings

Australia Pavilion, Venice

Designed by Denton Corker Marshall. Photo by John Gollings

David Bowie Is… (ACMI, 2015)

Photo by Mark Gambino

David Bowie Is… (ACMI, 2015)

Photo by Mark Gambino

WIlliam Kentridge: Five Themes (ACMI, 2012)

Photo by Mark Gambino

WIlliam Kentridge: Five Themes (ACMI, 2012)

Photo by Mark Gambino

ACCA

Photo by John Gollings

ACCA

Photo by John Gollings

Julian Rosefeldt: Manifesto

Commissioned by ACMI and the Art Gallery of New South Wales

Julian Rosefeldt: Manifesto

Commissioned by ACMI and the Art Gallery of New South Wales

Manifesto draws on the writings of Futurists, Dadaists, Fluxus artists, Suprematists, Situtationists, Dogma 95 and other artist groups, and the musings of individual artists, architects, dancers and filmmakers. Passing the philosophies of Claes Oldenburg, Yvonne Rainer, Kazimir Malevich, André Breton, Elaine Sturtevant, Sol LeWitt, Jim Jarmusch, and other influencers through his lens, Rosefeldt has edited and reassembled a collage of artists’ manifestos, ultimately questioning the role of the artist in society today.

Performing these ‘new manifestos’ while inhabiting thirteen different personas – among them a school teacher, a puppeteer, a newsreader, a factory worker and a homeless man – Blanchett imbues new dramatic life into these famous words in unexpected contexts. Rosefeldt’s work questions whether these passionate statements, composed by artists with utter conviction, have withstood the passage of time. Can they be applied universally? How have the dynamics between politics, art and life shifted? And what is the artist’s role in society today?