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The lowdown on Australian Design Review’s 30UNDER30 Creative Retreat at Bali’s Potato Head

The lowdown on Australian Design Review’s 30UNDER30 Creative Retreat at Bali’s Potato Head


Australian Design Review’s 30UNDER30 cohort has just returned from the inaugural Creative Retreat hosted at Bali’s Potato Head. During this retreat, the cohort was joined by the mentors and sponsors to connect with one another and forge career-long relationships, as well as gain an even deeper understanding and knowledge of their industry.

At the creativity retreat, the selected 30-strong cohort experienced the opportunity to be mentored by industry stalwarts and take part in workshops with multidisciplinary professionals in the fields of architecture, design, and media. Sessions included: “How To Build Your Own Brand,” led by Marketing Mag managing editor Liv Croagh, “High Performance Success Without Stress,” and “How To Increase Workplace Performance, Happiness, and Energy,” led by Griffith Consulting Group’s Tegan Wallace.

The 30UNDER30 mentorship spans for the 12-month long initiative, setting the 30UNDER30 cohort up with opportunities to continue to learn from some of Australia’s most revered interior and product designers.

Niche Media’s Elizabeth Distefano, head of commercial partnerships and sales, said of the event:

“Wow, still running on adrenaline from our incredible inaugural Australian Design Review’s 30UNDER30 creativity event at the sustainable and picturesque Potato Head in Bali.

A huge thank you to our 30UNDER30 cohort, mentors, and sponsors for making this program so inspiring and fulfilling. The enthusiasm, energy, and insight each individual brought to this weekend and shared amongst all of us have left a lasting impression. From exploring topics on design, sustainability, energy efficiency, business, and workplace well-being, it is a testament to you all on the bright future you are creating for generations to come.

As individuals, you have all played an integral part within this program and have also inspired us. ADR and our fellow mentors and sponsors are committed and thrilled to follow your journey as the next generation of leading designers. We cannot wait to see the incredible work that is yet to come!”

Australian Design Review’s 30UNDER30. The cohort, mentors, and sponsors returned to Australia brimming with ideas and enthusiasm. Here’s a snapshot of some of their reflections and takeaways from the 30UNDER30 creative retreat.

Tegan Donaldson – Major Partner – Neolith

Thanks, everyone, for such a wonderful weekend! It’s been amazing getting to know each and every one of you! I look forward to seeing you all achieve great things – the future of design is looking very bright! Thanks to the mentors for providing inspiration and encouragement. To our fellow sponsors, thank you for supporting this incredible event. A huge thanks to the entire Niche team for the enormous effort to ensure this weekend was as perfect as it was – thank you and see you soon!

Emily Carter – 30UNDER30 finalist

Thank you all for an incredibly inspiring and fun weekend! I’m grateful to have been involved and thankful for such authentic and open conversations about design, work, and life.

Niche team – Thank you for creating this program and platform for us to connect with each other and with incredible mentors, and for organizing such a fabulous weekend in Bali.

To our mentors – thank you for being open and honest, and taking the time to provide valuable wisdom and advice. To the sponsors and suppliers, I look forward to working with you further over the years!

Tom Anderson – Sponsor – Tongue and Groove

This program has been a career highlight for me to spend time with all of you, learning and hearing your incredible stories. It is my hope to stay in touch with all of you as much as possible so please reach out whenever for any reason and I hope you don’t mind if I connect from time to time. I’m glad I got to meet all the other suppliers as well. I look forward to collaborating with you guys in the future. Travel safe.

Dana Pizzolato – 30UNDER30 finalist

A big thank you to Niche and the sponsors. It was an incredible weekend, and I feel so grateful to have met you all. Looking forward to building on the connections made with peers and judges. Kindest

Jakob Reh – Sponsor – Ownworld

Hi all, I also wanted to say thank you to everyone who participated this weekend.

Speaking for myself and Matteo, we both felt extremely grateful to have this opportunity to connect with everyone away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Also, a massive shout-out to the team at Niche for organizing such a fabulous event; I can only imagine the amount of hours it took to plan.

I am very much looking forward to continuing the friendships made and most importantly…

Getting back out onto that dance floor!

Kirsten Stanisich – Richards Stanisich – Mentor

I wanted to thank Niche. Pulling this off as well as you did was a mammoth effort, and I thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to connect in with the incredible next-gen of designers.

Also, to the sponsors. Great to spend time with guys outside of the craziness of the studio.

To my fellow mentors. Loved meeting you and hanging out together. You are beautiful people.

Finally, to the famous 30. You are such an inspiring bunch. Really looking forward to following all of your upcoming successes…. And most of all, enjoy your careers. We are part of one of the most exciting professions.

Steph Clarke – Participant

I wanted to say a massive thank you to everyone for the most incredible weekend. Our conversations, your warmth, and authenticity – I feel extremely grateful, inspired, and connected in this sometimes isolating world.

To the Niche team and sponsors, for not only making it happen and creating these opportunities for which I so appreciate, but also for being so welcoming and encouraging.

To the mentors, for your openness and honesty – your insights have already helped me feel more focused and prepared to navigate the upcoming months.

I’m so excited to see all the wonderful things that are happening and what comes next for you all, in both work and life. Looking forward to keeping these connections we’ve made.

Fraser Greenfield – 30UNDER30 finalist

Thank you all for a great weekend. Was a really enlightening experience.

Big shout out to the sponsors and the very talented team at Niche! Thanks for having us.

Stay in touch and see you all soon.

Ara Salomone – State of Kin – Mentor

Thank you for the most amazing few days. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I feel so privileged to have been a part of it.

The retreat was incredibly well-organized, and the opportunity to connect with such talented and inspiring individuals was truly remarkable. I’m so grateful for all the new friendships made, the knowledge gained, and for the lasting memories that were created.

Thank you again for this amazing opportunity; it’s an experience that will stay with me forever. I look forward to staying connected and seeing all the incredible things that everyone will accomplish.

Melanie Ting – 30UNDER30 finalist

Thank you all for such an amazing weekend. It’s been an incredible experience meeting and sharing with each and every one of you. I’ve learned so much in the past four days and feel inspired to get back into it.

Thank you to all the sponsors and niche; you guys are incredible! And all the mentors, thank you for being so open and sharing your experiences.

Looking forward to staying connected.

Sandra Githinji – 30UNDER30 finalist

I cannot thank the Niche team and sponsors enough for dreaming up such a wonderful opportunity and following through to bring it to fruition. Deeply grateful to the mentors as well for your generosity. This is only the beginning of meaningful and enriching connections and friendships; it was an honor to be surrounded by such incredible talent, you are all phenomenal and keep shining!

Milli McEwan – 30UNDER30 finalist

Massive thank you to all of Niche, the sponsors, mentors, and everyone else involved in organizing the trip; it’s been such an amazing experience.

Gregoire Dorel- Sponsor – Miele

Thanks to Liz, Liv, Alvin, and Paul for the flawless organization. We have built lifetime connections with very special people. Looking forward to the next one.

Have a good week

Con Papadakis – Major Partner – Neolith

Back in Sydney. Thank you and congratulations to the Niche team for an amazing inaugural event.

I am sure we will all agree we are building an inspirational community for the future of design in Australia. Definitely built a lifetime connection and amazing memories with all of you and the inspirational 30.

Looking forward to the next catch up.

Check out the incredible video from the retreat from the 30UNDER30 Instagram stories.

This year’s judging panel included Adam Goodrum, Kirsten Stanisich, Ara Salomone, Andrew Parr, Carolyn Solley, Sophia Leopardi, Peta Heffernan and Dr Jess Murphy. Narrowing down the competition was a challenge for the esteemed judges, as the quality of work from the under-30 cohort was of a remarkable standard, as well as the young designers showcasing an unbridled passion and enthusiasm for their industry.

The final 30 were announced on Friday 10 February 2023. Representing some of the top firms around Australia, together with entrepreneurs who have started their own businesses, the final 30 cover all reaches of Australia. 

Want to know who made our final 30? Take a look at the 30UNDER30 website. 

This is the first iteration of Australian Design Review’s 30UNDER30. The architecture stream will launch later this year in August – stay tuned! 


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