Megan Norgate has been named as the third judge for IDEA 2023, joining Elvin Tan and Jade Nottage.
Melbourne interior designer and BRAVE NEW ECO founder Megan Norgate is a longtime advocate and user of sustainable design and will be predominately overseeing this aspect in IDEA entries.
“With a plethora of awards programmes popping up internationally, the IDEA program has an exceptionally cohesive and rigorous extended judging process,” says Norgate on how award programs – like IDEA – contribute to Australian design.
“The recognition programs take a considered approach to understanding the issues and opportunities the local industry is facing, identifying our strengths and championing the Australian design industry. “
For Norgate’s own personal career highlights, she delves into the intangible with client relationships proving to be the most special.
“In the residential sector, the client-designer relationships are very intimate,” she explains.
“Having been let into people’s lives, you take away something special about each unique household you work with. We work with people who are committed to a less impactful way of life and who are not motivated by status or fashion.
“Each client’s commitment reinvigorates our own, and we are often humbled by their trust in us and courage in the process. Our greatest joy is when people say, ‘The outcome has changed the way we live for the better'”.
For 18 years, Norgate has committed herself to sustainable interior design, forming her Melbourne studio to marry her innate ability for spatial problem-solving with her concern for the environment.
Norgate has an extensive and colourful CV, with a Bachelor’s in Creative Arts (Sculpture and Filmmaking) from Melbourne University/ Victorian College of the Arts and an Associate Degree in Interior Design and Decorating from RMIT.
She also trained as a permaculture designer and teacher with Milkwood Permaculture, which has three guiding ethics: People Care, Fair Share and Earth Care.
With this expertise in mind, Norgate says she is passionate about broadening “public perception [of what] interior designers are capable of technically and creatively”.
“I see interior designers as particularly skilled in driving adaptive reuse and retrofit building projects, being highly proficient in resolving spatial challenges within existing forms and footprints,” says Norgate.
“By considering every intervention in the built environment, [there’s] an opportunity to improve the thermal efficiency and IEQ. By collaborating with energy and technology experts, the interior design industry can drive the movement to upgrade the comfort and long-term resilience of our existing buildings.”
Norgate also highlights rising material costs as placing “a lot of pressure” on the design industry to “achieve more with less”.
“It has never been more important to design harder-working solutions that maximise the outcome with the least amount of material inputs.
“Interior designers are challenged to influence client expectations and to accept smaller outcomes in favour of better quality, as the pressures of rising costs and material shortages mean we all have to do more with less.”
Orienting back to IDEA, Norgate will not dwell on design trends as a jury member, with the exception of “playful post-COVID exuberance with bold use of colour and form” plus the clever use of cost-effective materials to offset rising construction costs.
As our sustainability expert, Norgate will look for projects that go above and beyond the new “baseline of sustainability”.
“I will be seeking out projects that encourage a different way of using resources and interacting with others, whether in our homes, workplaces or communities.
“I will be looking for projects that display considered sourcing and application of materials.
“Finally, [I will be looking for] projects that I consider to be enduring, by way of exceptional quality, enduring aesthetic appeal, having cradle-to-grave considerations or having future adaptations built into the design.”
Lead image supplied by BRAVE NEW ECO.
IDEA 2023 will be judged by a panel of industry experts. We’ll be announcing more judges soon.
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