• Rachael Coghlan


Enrico Taglietti, with CEO Craft ACT and Artistic Director Rachael Coghlan, at the Enrico Taglietti International Symposium, November 2018. Photo: Davey Barber


In 2018, Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre’s annual DESIGN Canberra festival celebrated the work, poetics, personal style, and contribution to the nation’s capital of architect Enrico Taglietti (1926–2019).

On a personal level, as a long-term admirer of Enrico’s work, it was a great honour to curate a program to celebrate his legacy. This included a symposium, poetry competition, tours, talks, and exhibitions.

Enrico’s contribution to architecture is significant: his thoughtful detailing, aesthetics, and sense of place have helped to shape Australia’s national capital, home to the most ambitious and most successful example of twentieth century urban planning in Australia. I was humbled, through the course of developing these programs and delivering the festival, to meet and spend time with Enrico — to better understand his vision, learn about his history, and to create a platform to pay tribute to him during his lifetime.

Some of the festival programs are featured in this edition of Axon. Dave Drayton’s poem, ‘beau present for Enrico Taglietti’, was the winner of the competition run in association with the event. Professor Philip Goad, an international authority on modern Australian architecture, explores four of Taglietti’s houses within the context of their landscapes. Italian design journalist and curator, Annalisa Rosso, presents a paper on the affordance of migration for cultural transference and creativity. Distinctive views of Taglietti’s iconic Canberra buildings are offered by architectural photographers Darren Bradley and Anthony Basheer. Canberra photographer Mark Mohell presents a series of intimate portraits of people with strong connections to Taglietti and his design work (presented in partnership with PhotoAccess), with an accompanying essay written by Sarah Engledow.

It is now 2019. Even though Enrico turned 93 in April this year, we were saddened and shocked to learn of his passing the following month. Needless to say, together with my team who worked on the festival, we experienced many emotions. We felt honoured to have received Enrico’s blessing to present these programs. We felt humbled to have had the opportunity to bring his work to the attention of a broader audience of designers, design enthusiasts and the wider community through the 2018 DESIGN Canberra festival. I happily remembered seeing the great man and his beloved family attend and participate in so many of the programs, and was delighted to reflect that they were able to hear, first-hand, about his valued contribution to our city, our sector and our lives. In spite of the multiple awards bestowed on Enrico throughout his career, I believe he also deeply appreciated the personal stories, reflections and reimaginings from poets, designers, friends and peers.

Now, with the support of Axon, this enduring resource will capture some of the reflections and insights about Enrico and his work for more people to share in our admiration, understanding and appreciation. I’d like to thank all the staff, curators, artists, designers, historians, volunteers, poets and design enthusiasts who helped to make the Taglietti programs in DESIGN Canberra such extraordinary experiences. I’d like to thank Axon for assembling this collection of works from the DESIGN Canberra festival program — which is another valuable opportunity to further assess the significance of Enrico’s work and better understand its value for the future. Most importantly, I’d like to thank the Taglietti family for generously making arrangements for Enrico to participate in the festival and its preparations, for sharing him with an appreciative community, and for their championing of his legacy for the future.