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IDEA 2020 judges looking forward to “projects that keep them pondering” as deadline approaches

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IDEA 2020 judges looking forward to “projects that keep them pondering” as deadline approaches


IDEA 2020 judges Brendan Wong and Simone Haag have described what they’re hoping to see from entrants ahead of the 5 June entry deadline.

“Projects that keep me pondering and wanting to ask questions are usually those that excite me most!” says Wong.

“This is my first time judging – but in a word – soul,” adds Haag.

The Melbourne designer was shortlisted in last year’s Events category for her NGV Art of Dining installation, a spectacular display of more than forty tables decorated by some of Australia’s leading designers, architects, florists and couturiers celebrating the art of dining.

“We wanted our table to act as a showcase for all of the things we love and in turn, love to select on behalf of our clients,” says Haag about the entry.

The Events category prize ended up being shared between another NGV exhibition, Escher x nendo: Between Two Worlds, and Dust in collaboration with Dancenorth, but the designer still relishes being shortlisted.

Based in Sydney, Wong was shortlisted in IDEA 2017 for the Residential Decoration. The project, Killara House, championed a bold and dynamic interior, which resonated with the client’s interest in design across many periods including art deco, 1960s, 1970s glam and mid-century American.

While both are design award veterans, they’re new to the role of judges.

“IDEA is a celebration of not just design but friendships. It is a grounding experience – more often than not, showing you beautiful spaces you then aspire to create,” says Haag.

“Personally speaking, residential projects excite me, in a home that is already in existence. I hate working off floor plans, favouring being in the space to spend time considering how best to furnish it. A healthy dose of trust and a cracking budget are good too.”

“When an interior makes the occupant curious I think it’s a great use of design to change the way people perceive space,” adds Wong. 

“If I run my eyes over a room in reality or in photos and continue to absorb finer details over time, that curiosity excites me.”

Wong and Haag will be joined on the IDEA 2020 jury by SJB design director Andrew Parr, Brisbane interior designer Anna Spiro, The Stella Collective’s Hana Hakim, Luchetti Krelle director Rachel Luchetti and Alexander & CO. director Jeremy Bull.

“They say a picture tell a thousand words, but in this case, your words also allow the jury to immerse themselves into your clients brief and your design response,” advises Wong.

“Take the time to carefully match your written submission to those images you are presenting so relevant connections can be made.”

Wong also emphasises the importance of sustainability, something Bull and Luchetti say they will also be looking for.

“Interiors usually have an expiration date eventually, whether residential or commercial, so I think we should find opportunities to minimise the impact that interior has during it’s expected lifetime where possible,” says Wong.

ADR chatted to Wong and Haag following lockdown measures put in place in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

On working from home, Haag says she hasn’t mastered it yet.

“My challenge is that I have three kids under five also at home with me and that can create havoc  – like when a child photo bombs a zoom call,” she says.

“I liked working at home when I also had the option to leave home and head to a café, the studio or a site meeting, so I’m not going to lie, there is some cabin fever. Lucky I like my cabin.”

Wong says he has found the conceptual process to be more focused without the distractions that can often occur in the studio environment. 

“It’s also been a good opportunity to test my study space, which I haven’t really used for years, and a reminder that when working from home full time, a good desk chair is essential.”

In terms of creativity, both designers are doing a lot more drawing.

“I’m using pen and paper much more than usual, which is immensely satisfying.  Also, each Friday, our team picks a dress code, sometimes it’s a theme, other times, a texture or colour,” says Wong. 

“It’s certainly making me think differently about being creative outside of interior design and pushing me outside of my usual restrained black wardrobe!”

“Lucky for me wild horses couldn’t keep my imagination and creative expression away!” adds Haag.

“I am enjoying referring to my lovely books and magazines, and have had more than a handful of virtual showroom visits. At the end of the day, my commitment to my clients and their homes evokes passion and creativity – nothing can keep that at bay.” 

Enter IDEA 2020

You can enter IDEA 2020 until Friday 5 June, so you still have plenty of time to complete your entry!

If you run into issues or have questions, drop us a line at idea@niche.com.au or visit our how to enter page for more information.


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