Business of design: Queensland

Apr 7, 2009
  • Article by Online Editor

Chetana Andary CEO of Artisan and Alice Blackwood, Writer

A host of design ‘debutantes’ with cutting edge wares and thousands of design hungry devotees were present at Brisbane Indesign, held in May this year.
Coinciding with this event was the Queensland New Design exhibition (QND), an initiative showcasing Queensland’s most recent works. Open exclusively to designers currently living or born in Queensland, QND tapped into the hottest local design talent, showcasing new and innovative concepts and products.
Cultivating this new talent, QND offered all designers who entered the 2007 program the opportunity to participate in a mentoring program. Hosted by artisan – idea:skill:product, Queensland’s peak organisation for crafted design, the Commercial Development Series consisted of two events including a design seminar and an industry networking evening.

Artisan’s chief executive officer, Chetana Andary, says the program brought designers into direct contact with industry professionals, providing opportunities for new collaborations and heightening market potential for their designs.
Also launched was Design 5, pioneered by the Department of State Development and Arts Queensland to promote furniture designers to a national market. Through the initiative, a panel selected five designers with products ready for manufacture. A structured marketing campaign will bring the work of these designers to the national built environment sector.
Andary describes 2007 as being a big year for Queensland design, which has long been eclipsed by the metro-cosmopolitan states of New South Wales and Victoria.

Demonstrating its commitment to a new design era for Queensland, the state government’s Minister for the Arts, Rod Welford, announced $1 million for the planning of a Brisbane-based International Centre for Sustainable Design.
Focusing on contemporary, innovative and ecologically-sustainable design, the centre will promote education, research and development, exhibition and display, and public interaction. Paying particular attention to Queensland’s subtropical climate, it will cast the international spotlight on the Smart State’s ingenuity and best practice in design.
The tertiary sector is keeping pace with the design energy and this year saw the inaugural ‘Live in Queensland, Design in the World’ seminar presented by Queensland University of Technology’s Creative Industry and Artisan. This one-day seminar explored the global issues affecting Queensland’s design industry.

Headlining with nine international and national speakers, it investigated the new design consumers and what they wanted; where the next designers would be graduating from; and the threats and opportunities China brought to the industry.
“Design is the new Zen,” says Ross Honeywill, co-author of the best selling book NEO Power: How the new economic order is changing the way we live, work and play. “NEOs (the new economic order) are motivated and attracted by things that are beautiful, by design and by desire,” says Honeywill.

Judith Thompson, director of New Zealand’s Better by Design, presented the export strategy that is launching New Zealand into the design world and Object Gallery curator Brian Parkes gave a stunning snapshot of the state of design in Australia.
While the design sector may inhabit a specific area of the art industry, its intrepid, innovative nature makes it far-reaching.

Brisbane’s landmark Gallery of Modern Art hosted the Design Institute of Australia exhibition, which showcased the best of Queensland design in recent years.
Honoured for her outstanding interior design work at Hassell Architects, Kirsti Simpson was declared the winner of the Arts Queensland Smart State Designer of the Year. According to Andary, this is the second year the government has awarded Queensland design achievers, which “bodes well” for the future of design in Queensland.

Celebrating an array of inaugural events, Brisbane also hosted its first Pecha Kucha at the Brisbane Powerhouse in September. The fast-paced presentation included a diverse selection of architects, graphic designers and artists speaking about their work. Speakers were restricted to 20 slides with 20 seconds per slide, transforming the event into a varied, high-energy presentation.
With 2007 slowly winding to a close, Queensland is enthusiastically gearing up for a brand new year of explorative initiatives, fresh design and plenty of repeat performances.

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