Page 1

A u s t r a l i a $ 9. 0 0 N e w Z e a l a n d $ 9. 0 0

Design Quarterly explores how the business of design has constructed power. HUMANSCALE: Mastering the economics of ergonomics for a comfortable place to work. Vince Frost Elenberg Fraser Luxxbox FEBRIK Top Ten Forces+Faces 2015.

Issue 57 Autumn 2015 The Power Issue.



n physics, “power” is the rate of doing work. In social science and politics, power is the ability to influence or control the behaviour of people. In business, power is the authority to make and execute critical decisions. And in design?... well, that’s another story entirely. As you may have guessed, this issue of DQ is focused on the idea of power; how we define it, how we manage it, how it permeates throughout our industry and most importantly, how we can use it to master business. Unlike politics, science or even the general business world, power in the design industry is markedly different from the traditional “rule with an iron fist” style of power; less about dominance and authority, more about ability, intelligence and influence. Ours is a softer form of power – why? Because the market demands it. The rise of technology for example, has massively democratised the design industry, where the means of production are more fluid and communication channels are more accessible. Socially and culturally, the obsession with “big brands” is fading away in place of smaller, more bespoke and local brand experiences and instead of working against each other, collaboration and partnerships are a growing tactic to gain and maintain market presence. In this issue of NEWSFLASH for instance, we get a behind the scenes look at how suppliers and designers are working together to produce new product, breaking down their approach to catering for the specific needs of the Australian market, pg 16-17. By the same token, design competitions are increasingly becoming a source of power for the emerging designer; offering the opportunity to access start-up money, mentoring and international experience. Programs such as the Electrolux Design Lab, pg. 32, and the Reece BIA, pg. 36, demonstrate the design industry’s emphasis on collaboration, support and experience as significant wells of power. Speaking of emerging design, it’s that time of year again where we catalogue the Top Ten Forces + Faces of 2015! Experience was a defining factor in selecting our best and brightest this year, where those pushing the boundaries are having a remarkable impact on human behaviour, creating lasting and meaningful experiences for the world around them in every sector, pg. 91. This issue, for me, has been incredibly eye-opening; revealing sides of the design industry I didn’t know existed and adding yet another layer of depth and reason as to why design is currently one of Australia’s fastest growing industries. The traditional idea of power has been entirely redefined here, delivering both positive and negative results. I hope you find DQ #57 reflective and enlightening, it certainly inspired a few of my own “a-ha!” moments when putting the pieces together. Enjoy the issue! +

inside word

WOrDs by sOPhIA WAtsOn

DQ Editor Sophia Watson,

Melbourne Editor Alice Blackwood,

CEO / Publisher Raj Nandan,

Designer James McLaughlin,

Online Editor Tess Ritchie,

PA to Publisher/subscriptions Elizabeth Davy-Hou,

Designer Sophie Taylor,

Contributing Writers Alice Blackwood, Annie Reid, Ben Morgan, Byron George, Leanne Amodeo, Lorenzo Logi, Marg Hearn, Nicky Lobo, Tess Ritchie

Financial Director Kavita Lala,

Ad traffic Tina Fluerty, Consulting Creative Director Christopher Holt, HOLT Design Production Manager Sophie Mead,

Accounts Gabrielle Regan, Vivia Felice,

Design Intern Gemma Stoner

Events and Marketing Tegan Schwarz, Angie Boustred, Online Radu Enache, Ryan Sumners, Advertising Enquiries Marigold Banta // Dana Ciaccia (61 2) 9368 0150 //


AD On the cover



In issue #56, pg. 49, the AK47 phone number was cited incorrectly. Please note that the correct phone number is 0416 929 156.


‘MaKE a MOVE’ Recreation of the cover diagram from the 1969 book series “Measure of a Man: Humanscale Vol. 1/2/3/ – 4/5/6/ – 7/8/9: A Portfolio of Information, the definitive guide to the human body” by Henry Dreyfuss Associates, Niels Diffirent, Alvin T. Tilley and Joan Bardagy. cREatiVE cONcEPt Christopher Holt, HOLT Design REcREatED iLLUStRatiON James McLaughlin

Design Quarterly (DQ) is a wholly owned Australian publication, which is designed and published quarterly in Australia. DQ is available through subscription, at major newsagencies and bookshops nationally. Subscriptions – never miss an issue by subscribing online at, faxing us at (61 2) 9368 0289, or emailing Design Quarterly is a quarterly publication fed by who is doing what in the design industry, championing the personality behind design. It aims to promote and create the next generation of design as well as supporting those designers who are more established. The editor accepts submissions from writers/photographers/illustrators for editorial consideration. We encourage those working in the design industry to submit news and announcements, so we can keep readers abreast of your new developments. Editorial submissions should be made out to the editor Any digital images should be supplied by email, downloadable link, or on CD at 300dpi, minimum 20cm wide. Please also supply full contact details and captions with images. Contributions are submitted at the sender’s risk, and DQ cannot accept any loss or damage. Please retain duplicates of text and images. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any other means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise. The publishers assume no responsibility for errors or omissions or any consequences of reliance on this publication. The opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent the views of the editor, the publisher or the publication. Magazine Stock Our printer is Environmental Management System ISO14001:2004 accredited. Printing inks are vegetable based. Paper is environmentally friendly ECF (elemental chlorine free) and recyclable. Printed in Singapore. Published under licence by Indesign Publishing Pty Ltd ABN 96 101 789 262 HEaD OfficE, SYDNEY Level 1, 50 Marshall Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010 | (61 2) 9368 0150, (61 2) 9368 0289 (fax) | | MELBOURNE Suite 11, Level 1, 95 Victoria Street, Fitzroy VIC 3065 SiNGaPORE 4 Leng Kee Road, #06-08 SIS Building, SINgAPORE 159088 | (+65) 6475 5228, (+65) 6475 5238 (fax) HONG KONG Unit 12, 21st Floor, Wayson Commercial Building, 28 Connaught Road West, Sheung Wan, HONg KONg |


NieLs DiffrieNt

Opposite / (Red) Diagram 1a “Humanscale Body Measurements” tool, and (Green) Humanscale 4/5/6 diagram featured in the 1969 book “Measure of a Man: Humanscale Vol. 1/2/3/ – 4/5/6/ – 7/8/9: A Portfolio of Information, the definitive guide to the human body” by Henry Dreyfuss Associates, Niels Diffirent, Alvin T. Tilley and Joan Bardagy This page / Humanscale Founder and CEO, Robert King and famed Industrial Designer, Niels Diffrient

“The best way to know what people want and need is not by asking them, but by understanding them.” Niels Diffrient, 1928 - 2013


ith a career spanning more than 50 years, industrial designer Niels Diffrient revolutionised the world of design by focusing on the human experience, or more specifically – improving it. Diffrient was known for creating products which clearly embodied his beliefs of solving functional problems as simply and elegantly as possible, resulting in honest, timeless forms. His designs were grounded in the philosophy that form follows function, and spaning many generations, consistently looked past trends to reinvent the tools we use for daily living. With an academic foundation in design and architecture and a degree from Cranbrook Academy, Diffrient channeled his knowledge of engineering, architecture, and human factors into the creation of highly functional and aesthetically classic designs. From his early work with the studios of Eero Saarinen, Marco Zanuso and Henry Dreyfuss to his work with commercial furniture designers Humanscale, Diffrient’s visionary talent has been widely recognised. Included among his many honors are the 2002 National Design Award from the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, and the 1999 Chrysler Design Award. In his later years, Diffrient focused his energies on designs for the office environment, particularly seating – a category in which he has pioneered numerous breakthroughs, from pneumatic cylinders for seat height adjustment to weight-activated automatic recline – notable in products such as his ninth symphony (so to speak), the Humanscale Diffient World Task Chair. + 9













You’ve got it made How are local designers working to develop new product for the specific needs of the Australian market? Tait + Stellar “Stellar’s remarkable origami-like aesthetic is true to Christina Waterson’s distinctive design approach,” says Tait director, Gordon Tait. “The first meetings were spent discussing how we could make a marketable product from this design method that Christina had been developing over a number of years. We could all see the possibilities for a screening system, however it was also much more than that.” Inspired by the night sky and re-imagined to create a new set of constellations based on the patterns and lines of Australian flora and fauna, Waterson’s Stellar was initially crafted with Christina’s cardboard maquettes to understand the different ways the shapes’ surfaces could be connected (the final product however was finished in metal). Christina then sent her precious maquettes and initial metal components to Tait, and a few Skype meetings later they were able to go to drawings followed by prototypes. “This product seemed deceptively simple in theory yet proved complicated once we went to prototypes,” says Tait. “Many prototypes later we could finally sign off and begin production.” The project however, wasn’t without its challenges, as Tait explains: “Narrowing it down to three designs and packaging for consumers proved very challenging. We wanted to create a system suitable for a retail consumer without limiting the possibilities for the A+D market.” In the end, Stellar offers people a sculptural screening system; its flexibility being key in successfully crossing between the diverse requirements of the retail and A+D markets. // (61 3) 9419 7484

CULT + Nathan Goldsworthy The creative collaboration between Goldsworthy and Backhouse/Designworks for Kiwibank brings the Ballet & Ballerina collection to CULT. “I was determined to create a range that was inviting and youthful,” says designer Nathan Goldsworthy. “The design of the pedestal came first, and was a very immediate response to the brief that seemed to work instantly. The chairs then took their cues from that, and I tried to maintain the feminine qualities of the pedestal throughout.” The development process was a solid 18 months and followed a fairly typical process; sketching, scale modelling, full-scale cardboard and wood modelling, computer modelling and production prototyping – all the while constantly moving between each technology and media. Goldsworthy recalls: “Once the basic designs were resolved, the tooling was manufactured and test production proceeded. At that stage the design was refined and any re-tooling was done.” The final and extremely important stage was designing the process of manufacture itself. This largely determines the quality, cost, strength, and level of finish that was ultimately achieved. The pieces in the Ballet collection capture a moment in the fluid movement of a dancer, and such a brief required a multi-skilled hand to go through the process of various technologies to achieve the concept. // 1300 768 626


Something Beginning With + ARI Sofa

Schiavello + Otm table In 2010, Schiavello had observed that work styles were changing. Based on this observation, a brief was generated to develop the opportunities for individuals and groups of people to work within alternative spaces of the workplace. In response to this brief, designers Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien (Doshi Levien) undertook an in-depth research program to inform their design process, which applied to making educated and intelligent design for the workplace/commercial furniture environment. “Our discussions with Doshi Levien centred around developing a collection of products that would enhance working away from the traditional desk space,” says Michelle Hyams, design manager of Schiavello International. The idea of the OTM Table was to “Create an object with all the performance without looking like a piece of equipment, but instead like a beautiful

side table,” explains the products’ designers Doshi and Levien. The development process was a collaborative effort during the initial creative stages. Doshi Levien proposed various concepts based on Schiavello’s brief of their customers. Ongoing communications during the engineering stages ensured Doshi Levien maintained the design intent while meeting the rigorous Australian market requirements. “Communication was achieved through a variety of mediums – visits to Australia, video conferencing, emails and sketching ideas. Sketching was a powerful way to exchange ideas between two different time zones and geographical locations. Ultimately, our goal was realised. Befitting to transitional spaces, OTM is an ideal addition or solution for break-out areas, community/ collaboration and retreat spaces.” notes Hyams. // (61 3) 9330 8888

“A sofa was always on the cards, we’ve always wanted to design one,” says Something Beginning With co-founders, Laelie Brezon and Lisa Vincitorio, “but it was going to be one that made a statement – not a stock standard sofa designed to serve a purpose and blend into the background, and one that also didn’t bow to current trends.” ARI went through a stringent process from concept to production to ensure that it was not only tailored to the local Australian market, but to an efficient and cost-effective manufacturing technique. This process comes from Brezon and Vincitorio’s experience within both sales and production. “The process starts initially by having a discussion based on direction; what type of product we currently lack in our collection, and what we feel our market needs,” explains Brezon and Vincitorio. “The main challenge we encountered when developing this product was establishing proportions that were ergonomically sound, without compromising on the design’s overall presence.” The outcome here is an absolute charmer, where the result of SBW’s intensive and meticulous R+D process led them to achieve a space-efficient sofa option that delivers style and comfort without spatially dominating a room. // (61 3) 9939 0845

Fanuli + Sharky In the last few years, designers worldwide have begun to break free from their geographic design language to fuse the form of one culture with the making techniques and philosophies of another. Case-in-point, the Sharky Chair – designed by creative duo Neuland Design – combines Nordic aesthetic sensibility with the famous “Made in Italy” manufacturing ethos and approach. The polyurethane structure of the chair gives it a light, dynamic line common to the Scandinavian

form, and its matte-lacquered aluminium legs with visible welding highlight its material quality and sturdiness; design features that are typical of “Made in Italy” workmanship. This eclectic brand of product development successfully breaks down national barriers, opening up what were once closely guarded design secrets to create a more cohesive, holistic and rewarding design process and outcome. // (61 2) 9908 2660




Cleansing features for the ultimate bathroom experience



04 05


06 01 DROP SERIES Design / Benedini Associati Brand / Agape Supplier / Artedomus (61 2) 9557 5060 02 KIRI TIMBER BATH SPOUT Design, Brand + Supplier / Wood Melbourne 03 CALCUTTA NUOVA STONE Design, Brand + Supplier / Caesarstone 1300 119 119 04 KAWA BASIN MIXER Design, Brand + Supplier / Phoenix Tapware (61 3) 9780 4200 05 RAIN SHOWER HEAD


Design + Brand / Grohe Supplier / Cass Brothers (61 2) 9569 5555

Design, Brand + Supplier / Kohler 1800 564 537

06 MOZZANO COLLECTION Design, Brand + Supplier / Victoria + Albert 1300 737 779

08 TILE SASHI Design / Ryosuke Fukusada & Rui Pereira Brand + Supplier / Cotto (Thailand)






ollaboration is fast becoming a trademark of the Australian design industry, and those who are stepping up to the challenge are accomplishing remarkable feats in design. Case-in-point, textile house At Work* with Camira recently teamed up with Koskela and Artillery Interior Architecture on a project for QIC Melbourne at 80 Collins Street, a large development with multiple tenants. The fitout was designed to work as a pilot floor to showcase what could be done with the building for prospective tenants. The aim was to attract innovative, creative industry clients who may be interested in a more flexible, collaborative workspace. Koskela’s Lodges (both 1600 Highback + Roof and 1400 Highback) were perfect for breaking up the space into fluid work zones and injecting some functional fun into the space. Hoodie Workpods were also used to provide people with work areas that were suitable for non-collaborative tasks that required concentration. Blazer, At Work* with Camira’s key wool felt, made from 100 per cent pure new wool was an obvious textile choice for this project. With the vast and on trend colour palette together with high durability and excellent price point, the resulting project produced a successful design solution between Artillery Interior Architects, Koskela and At Work* with Camira. The very nature of Blazer, together with other At Work* with other Camira fabric options, make them ideal fabric choices for collaborative seating projects. “With a focus on quality and sustainability, Blazer is a lovely product to work with,” says Sasha Titchkosky, director of Koskela. Blazer’s complete supply chain accountability – from farm to fabric – originates out in the natural beauty of Banks Peninsula, resulting in a beautifully soft woven upholstery fabric with a milled compacted felted finish. A further stamp of environmental approval is the fabric’s accreditation to the EU flower Eco label. So, it should come as no surprise then, that the collaborative and successful results of Melbourne’s QIC project were only possible through the magic combination of Artillery Interior Architects concept vision, Koskela’s furniture and the final customised touch of At Work* with Camira. +


Dean Kuch, Managing Director of ThinkingWorks™, de-mystifies some of the design industry’s biggest design and supply myths and misconceptions.

Australian specifiers often criticise European brands for their long lead times. How and why does an international brand like ThinkingWorks™ (TW) operate around this problem in the local Australian market? The obvious answer is to commit to holding a lot of stock, which ThinkingWorks™ does. But, to be smart about offering reduced leadtimes in manufacturing, the process starts with the design of the product. The product must be clever in the use of components so we can minimise the total number of components, but not restrict the range of the product or the purpose or design intent of the original concept. If the design of the product is intelligent, we will be able to build many product variations from our standard set of components and minimise inventory. This means it will be much more manageable to carry adequate stock so we can manufacture with short lead times.


This DQ Patron editorial is sponsored by At Work* with Camira. // 1800 173 209

TW products are designed and developed in both Sydney and London. What are the main benefits of this global system for the brand’s Australian leg? ThinkingWorks™ has always had a very strong R+D / design department in our Sydney head office. We employ six designers who design new products and support our clients with custom options. We also


outsource design work to an industrial design firm in London, Jones + Partners. This came about in our London showroom, which sells throughout the UK as well as Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Germany and the Middle East. The benefit for ThinkingWorks™ is that we are firstly able to make sure the products we manufacture for the UK and Europe are worldclass and valid for that marketplace, and of course we are able to offer these same products to the Australian market where we will maintain our position of providing world-leading products. We use our Sydney team’s experience to bring the new products into production and to the market as seamlessly as possible. there is a belief that long international lead times mean there is little opportunity for customisation. Is this a misconception, and what would thinking Ergonomics tell specifiers in regard to this theory? This is an area of expertise ThinkingWorks excels at. We are focused on designing products that can be customised to suit a massive range of applications. Part of our Sydney design team is called “ThinkingSolutions”, which is staffed by two designers who provide customisation solutions to our dealers and the A+D firms who

want to use our products. We offer this solution in all of the countries we sell our products to, and it’s interesting to see different trends and requirements around the world. One of the more recent ThinkingSolutions projects was for Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation in Singapore, where the design firm’s chosen table system failed due to the tables 500kg+ weight of the marble worktop. They approached ThinkingWorks through Stylecraft Singapore and we designed a custom table from an existing product that suited Gulfstream perfectly. In essence, we take the headache away from the A+D firm so they can spend their time on other ‘big picture’ aspects of the project. Typically A+D ask for customisations because standard products don’t offer what the market is moving toward with new user requirements. The spin-off for the ThinkingSolutions design department is that our designers learn intimately what the trends are for furniture requirements, meaning when we develop our next product we have a substantial bank of information to draw from, ensuring our products are always at the forefront of product design. + IntervIew by SophIa watSon // (61 2) 9002 0250


this page / ThinkingWorksTM Australian inventory warehouse Opposite / QIC Melbourne, designed by Artillery Interior Architecture, featuring Koskela product and At Work* with Camira custom textile

NORTHERN EXPOSURE As with the recent fit-out of her newest Melbourne retail space, owner and designer of Swedish label funkis, Carina Enstrom, explores the benefit of having limits and the value of a solid project brief.


very designer has, at one time or another, had the “no limits” project fantasy. Endless budget, blank canvas brief – the job is literally yours to shape as you will. But is this necessarily a good thing? How could restrictions possibly be beneficial? Carina Enstrom, owner, founder and designer of funkis, offers a different spin on limits, suggesting that they can be (and in her case are) more conducive to sourcing creative solutions: “Restrictions are when I work my best. I find that I think more creatively, and more often than not come up with what end up being better solutions, than if I had no restrictions.” As both the owner and designer of the space, Enstrom imposed some specific limitations on herself by crafting a highly niche brief for the retail concept. As a Swedish lifestyle brand, funkis reflects on Enstrom’s Swedish and Gotland (an island in Sweden with very specific design ethics) heritage and Scandinavian design language. Beyond her personal tie to the great north however, the Scandinavian aesthetic was chosen as a design principle as it best captures the message of the funkis brand. Enstrom explains: “Swedish and Scandinavian design stems from the influence of industrialisation and functionalism and the idea of creating design and architecture ‘for the people’. We try to make beautiful, functional design available to everyone, and this is reflected in both our products and the design of our stores.” Further to this point, lighting was a critical component of the project, where the lighting of the space served not only to display the product in a favourable tone, but because it was a significant cultural aspect of the brand’s heritage. “The eight months of darkness in the Nordic country has made lighting a very important part of the design,” says Enstrom. “Not unlike Scandinavian winters, there is no daylight in The Strand Arcade [in Melbourne’s CBD] so lighting has been used to create a homely and cosy feel in the store, akin to any Swedish or Nordic home.” Aside from the limits she had created for herself, Enstrom and team faced


a number of external challenges that ultimately led them down the path of some interesting, left-field design solutions and results they hadn’t prepared for. “We were on very tight time restrictions due to our urgency to open before Christmas,” Enstrom explains. “For example, the steel doors and the atrium section were an issue. We have used these before, but due to the current popularity of steel doors there was not time to get something tough in such short time that had a proper widow/door profile. This meant the frame had to be created by a welder, which meant the frame became wider than we wanted it to be. In the end however, this added to the overall desired industrial feel and became an added bonus rather than a negative. To me, it is very important to be in the space during the process, this way I can fine tune things at the last minute.” Ultimately, Enstrom attributes the success and necessary flexibility to cultivating the right team when “working with the restrictions of a major shopping centre, with strict protocol that has to be followed to the letter for both design and construction. On top of this you have restricted accessibility and very tight time frames; it puts pressure on everyone, especially the builder.” “I was fortunate to work with Simon Barnard from SL Constructions on this project who was truly amazing,” says Enstrom. “After delays in the design stage, they managed to do the entire build in 10 days! – with very few problems along the way.” When all is said and done, Enstrom’s most important task was to “make sure the restrictions would have no effect on the design and to not compromise the creative and unconventional approach we normally have.” And it is here that Enstrom and the funkis team were not only able to complete the project from concept to fit-out in an astonishing three months, but that they were able to strike the perfect balance in creative freedom and capturing the un-wavering identity of the funkis brand through the language of its new retail space. +

This page + opposite / New Funkis retail space in The Strand, Melbourne, designed by owner and designer Carina Enstrom

Words by sophia Watson // (61 2) 9358 3093



Why is “authentic marketing� so important, and how can you find the balance between creativity and business?



here many design houses are beginning to let their marketing concepts inform their latest design endeavors, Netherlands-based FEBRIK (formerly Innofa) are very much about allowing their design to dictate their marketing. The recent SPRINKLES range, crafted by FEBRIK’s Bertjan Pot, is a strong representation of this attitude, where there was no upfront plan or marketing strategy in place when greenlighting the collection. The marketing campaign that emerged around SPRINKLES pairs each textile option with an exotic bird; think Rosella, Warbler, Cockatoo, Parakeet and so on. The marketing here is creative, attention grabbing and cleverly packaged in a way that will attract the attention of the young designer/ specifier market. This approach is less about a deliberate marketing strategy, and far more about emphasising strong company culture – who they are, what they are about; which ultimately (and very organically) informs the marketing effort. While certainly a genius concept, the likeness of the products to exotic birds was entirely un-planned. Designer Bertjan Pot elaborates: “Because the actual textiles have so much contrast between colours, we just couldn’t get away with ‘strawberry’ or ‘mustard’ because it wouldn’t properly express the personality of the colour. Birds often have more than one shade and they simply turned out to be very useful as creative reference. So, to be clear we really didn't start with birds and then choose colours to fit them – we had the colours set and designed, then we spent quite some time finding their matching bird species.” The tangible and personable naming policy is something that adds to the authentic culture of FEBRIK’s identity. Creative director Renee Merckx explains: “All of our textiles and colours have names – not a number, which isn’t common in our industry. The name should resemble the colour and bring emotion to a textile – numbers just don’t do that. Textile is a touchable, feminine, tactile kind of material that is expressed best by a name. That’s why we did it – it represents an attitude that is much closer to who we are as designers.” Though seemingly cavalier, not having an upfront marketing strategy has actually been a very strategic and deliberate move on FEBRIK’s part. “In one way we just do what we like, work with the people we like and present ourselves and our textiles the way we think others will like it,” says Merckx. “But, we are also very aware that this is a business, and the way you present yourself is very important. In our experience, people want to see something new; a new brand, new textiles, new people in a way that they get inspired. Clients are looking for ways to show their creativity, and we try to create and foster this creativity through the philosophy of our brand and by extension, the philosophy of our products.” + Words by sophia Watson // 0413 656 035 (Australian Agent:

Opposite / ‘Caffinch Sprinkles’ textile campaign image, designed by Bertjan Pot for FEBRIK This page top / ‘King Fisher Sprinkles’ textile campaign image, designed by Bertjan Pot for FEBRIK This page above / ‘Starling’, ‘King Fisher’ and ‘Parakeet’ Sprinkles samples, designed by Bertjan Pot for FEBRIK This page left / FEBRIK Creative Director Renee Merckx and Owner/Founder Jos Pelders 55


BEYOND BEIGE Japanese design house Nendo recently teamedup with international fashion label BEIGE to create something much more than your average retail space.


This page / BEIGE concept store in the Tamagawa Takashimaya shopping district Tokyo, Japan, designed by Oki Sato for Nendo, Photo: Takumi Ota

story; something abstract and intangible beyond the product that they can connect with. The reason for this shift has largely been driven by clever retailers and executed by designers post-GFC, who came to the realisation that product alone was not enough to secure repeat, loyal customers. To curb this trend, many brands have been quick to establish “the brand experience” to compliment the product they supply. In the case of BEIGE for instance, complementing the fashion experience with engaging activities that pair well with the overall identity of the brand itself – such as the library and gallery space – encourages the targeted consumer to make a lasting connection with the brand beyond its merchandise.

concept store for international fashion house BEIGE – newly opened in the Tamagawa Takashimaya shopping district in suburban Tokyo – has been crafted by minimalist heroes, Nendo, as a multi-functional space that would accommodate multiple uses; a shop for selling interior goods, a library space for book-lending and a gallery area for regular events and art exhibitions, all in addition to the main clothing retail space. You would have undoubtably noticed that consumer behaviour over the past year in particular has adopted a strong movement toward highly interactive and experiential brand environments. Users and consumers are demanding much more than mere product – they are demanding experience, a 63

Nendo of course, created some stunning design solutions to realise these goals. “We considered a zoning approach with specific areas for the shop’s different elements,” explains Oki Sato, creative director of Nendo, “then decided that subdividing the already small space any further would simply clutter it. To avoid this, we chose to stratify the space vertically instead.” BEIGE by Nendo should serve as a strong reference point for suppliers trying to recapture and strengthen their relationship with their market, and for designers creating solutions for their clients outside of just specifying product. + Words by sophia Watson // // (81) 052 566 8647


“The power of imagination makes us infinite.” John muir


‌ AND THE GEEKS SHALL INHERIT THE EARTH Has technology democratised the design industry, and how has it redistributed our power to communicate?



hifts in technology often bring down great powers. In fact, there is nothing more disruptive to fossilised industry players than advances in technology. Today, information itself – and the capability to process it – has become a new source of power. Information is the absence of ambiguity, and has therefore always had an important strategic significance for designers and their business to clarify who they are, what they do and why. In the past, the phrase “information is power” was used as a metaphor meaning that intelligence could create leverage. Today however, it has taken on more literal meaning, where information in vast quantities can be a weapon or a shield. Another consequence of modern technology is that the planet has become far more connected. We are able to communicate across the world effortlessly – and at nearly zero cost. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, blogs; these mediums have levelled the playing field for the design industry to control their brand conversation – and its reach – more than previously possible. To this end, technology has elevated the importance of “soft power” in design, where power is no longer garnered through force or coercion, but through positive influence, popularity and reputation. Sydney locals Michael Grassi, Henry Gresson and Tomek Archer, co-founders and directors of NOMI, are not only focused on a new way to do furniture, but a new way to talk about it. “The NOMI blog is called ‘The Studio’,” says NOMI co-director Henry Gresson. “When we decided to create a branded blog, we were looking for a name that represented our day to day work. As we spend a lot of time in our studio designing products, planning launches and rolling out events, we felt the name ‘The Studio’ would allow readers to feel they were connected to NOMI.” The site features six themes, which are explored in each issue; The Traveller, The Insider, The Kitchen, The Interview, The Space and The Look. Each issue is made up of six articles, one under each category, and published to their database of over 20,000 subscribers. As an online brand and business, NOMI were looking for a way to reclaim their power to communicate and regularly connect with their audience beyond the necessary external print and digital mediums, reaffirming who NOMI are. Gresson explains: “We looked at our audience and how we could begin a conversation with them. We didn’t want to talk “at” them, we wanted to chat “with” them – like we would over a beer or a wine at the end of the week. There are two main NOMI consumers: interior designers and architects who are specifying for their projects, and the residential consumer who is typically a 25 to 45 year old homeproud client. Once we’d identified our audience, we needed to understand their passions. That’s how we settled on the six themes. We felt these were interesting topics that they would enjoy reading about, and we’d enjoy writing about. When you build a relationship in real life it’s usually around 73

what you love. NOMI loves travel, food, design, innovation and interesting people, so we created a blog that represented these interests. We want to be defined by what we love, and The Studio represents our passions.” Clearly, there are several benefits to this strategy; direct conversation with your market through integrated chat and social features, increased website traffic and ultimately increased sales. But beyond the obvious profit-building value, perhaps the most appealing part of having your own branded communication tool is your power to control the conversation. This system however, though obviously a solid strategy, isn’t without its challenges. Blogs and the like are certainly “time consuming and expensive to create”, and by nature are hungry beasts requiring a great deal of time and financial investment on “working hard to build an audience so that each issue gets the reach required to have an impact”. While Gresson is quick to point out that “we still need consistent external media to present a neutral position and to access a wider audience beyond our own database”, he notes that once that first pillar is locked in, a blog is the important next step; where you are no longer “relying exclusively on external coverage. We can go direct to our audience and control the overall message. It’s a tool that enables us to talk directly to our audience without having to go through a third party.” Media however, isn’t the only communication tool that technology has balanced. Apps, website and other interactive digital platforms are streamlining the industry’s power to connect and work with their clients. National distributors for Carpets Inter and Tai Ping Carpets, Above Left, recently developed the Carpets Inter 3D Virtual Simulator app, designed to increase the efficiency of the client/designer relationship during the specification process. “We recognised a need in the marketplace for customers to be able to visualise designs in realistic room scenes that would then enable quick decisions,” says Kim McMurray, global marketing director for Tai Ping Carpets. “This tool has allowed our agents to work independently to present our collections to their clients. There is no need to carry catalogues or samples, and it reduces the sales process by a significant amount of time. We have had clients purchase immediately from seeing the designs in the app.” The success of strategies such as NOMI and Above Left, point to one conclusion: ownership of resources is not as important as access to them, and we as an industry have to come to terms with the fact that the power to communicate no longer implies climbing to the top of the heap, but edging towards the center of the circle. And while technology has made power in this industry far softer and more egalitarian, it is certainly no less desirable. + Words by sophia Watson // (61 2) 9091 8010 // (61 2) 9211 8566


DQ TOP TEN FORCES +FACES 2015 This page / Kester Black Cosmetics campaign image


ho is shaping the Australian design industry in 2015? Each year, we consider this question and nominate the most cutting-edge emerging creatives across Australia for the year ahead. It should come as no surprise to any of you that the meaning of “design” itself is changing. No longer a strict term with neat little categories, the boundaries of what design can and should be has shifted greatly with waves and changes in what the market wants. ‘Experience’ for example, was a defining factor in selecting our best and brightest this year, where those pushing the boundaries are having a remarkable impact on human behavior, creating lasting and meaningful experiences for the world around them in every sector. I am truly excited about this year’s list. Each and every top tenner featured here represents where the future of design should be looking to, and I cannot wait to see where they are taking the industry next. Enjoy the following pages of inspiration! + Words by sophia Watson





living On THE EdgE Launch of Living Edge’s new Flasgship Showroom at The Woolstores Alexandria, Sydney On the 10 th February, Living Edge celebrated the long journey to their new showroom at The Woolstores Alexandria. The event was an absolute stellar occasion, playing host to several international guests from Living Edge brands including: Herman Miller, Walter Knoll, Established&Sons, LaChance and E15, not to mention the 400+ odd designers, architects and key industry figures. Bespoke Wine bar, Champagne, Oyster Bar, and even a string quartet was featured in the space, but the real coup of the evening was the vast impressiveness of the showroom itself; certainly a new jewel in the design industry’s crown and undoubtedly one of the best events of the year!






09 01 The Bold Collective 02




Aidan Mawhinney, Brian Walker 03 Katy Svalbe, Felicity Ng, Yasmine Ghoniem 04 Georgia Dawson, Millie Dawson 05 Todd Hammond, Natasha Hammond 06 Guest, Frank Di Georgio, Aidan Mawhinney, Brian Walker, Guest, Andrew Lock 07 Skye Healy-Ward, Kate Lochrin 08 Domenic Alvaro, Sue Alvaro 09 Alana Fitzpatrick, Raj Nandan 10 Sam Garland, Markus Benz, Guest 11 Guests

DQ Magazine #57  
DQ Magazine #57