7 Kinds of Happiness

April 13, 2012

Taking place in Sydney this May, this series of seven conversations with leading local and international design thinkers explores the relationship between emotion and design practice.

A speaker series presented as part of designEX’s relaunched program uses happiness as a frame through which to view design practice, exploring the influence happiness has on designers – and the extent to which design can create happiness.

Curated by the Office for Good Design and including conversations with leading figures in the design industry including Alice Rawsthorn, Ilse Crawford and Stefan Sagmeister, 7 Kinds of Happiness: Conversations on Design and Emotion is a three-day program of live and digital discussions that examines how happiness impacts design practice.

The seminars consider the effect of happiness on design practice: is personal happiness a design problem? Will aiming for happiness as a design objective better create a sense of community and civic well being? What kinds of objects and places make us happy?

Leading international design critic and journalist Alice Rawsthorn will launch the series on 14 May, with other Skype sessions featuring architecture collective Rotor from Brussels, US-based architects and urban planners WORKac, UK designer Ilse Crawford and US-based graphic designer, Stefan Sagmeister.

The program also includes free panel discussions with the Creative Directors of the Australian Pavilion at the 2012 Architecture Biennale, and the team behind Broached Commissions.

The exploration into the relationship between happiness and design extends into the theatre that has been designed and built for the event. Called The Happy Place, the space has been constructed entirely of doonas by Melbourne studio, DesignOffice.

7 Kinds of Happiness will be held at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre from 14 – 16 May. On the program:

Monday 14 May, 12:30pm
Alice Rawsthorn, in conversation with Sam Spurr and David Burns of N
Live keynote lecture
Alice Rawsthorn is an acclaimed design critic for the International Herald Tribune, the global edition of the New York Times. This session will explore how objects affect our physical and emotional well being, and questions whether happiness can help us achieve more sustainable design.
Read our interview with Rawsthorn here.

Alice Rawsthorn


Monday 14 May, 5pm
Ilse Crawford, in conversation with Sam Spurr and David Burns of N. Hosted by Leanne Amodeo of (Inside) Magazine
Skype interview
Ilse Crawford is the founder of UK-based firm Studioilse and Head of Department at the celebrated Design Academy Eindhoven. Her work focuses on the experiential and emotional possibilities of design.

Ilse Crawford. Photo by Stef Bakker


Tuesday 15 May, 10am
Stefan Sagmeister, in conversation with Sam Spurr and David Burns of N. Hosted by Brendan McKnight of Desktop Magazine
Skype interview
Stefan Sagmeister, a multi-award winning New York-based designer whose clients have included the Rolling Stones, HBO and the Guggenheim Museum. Sagmeister’s recent documentary, The Happy Film, explores different techniques of improving personal happiness.

Stefan Sagmeister. Photo by Andreas Lazlo Conrad


Tuesday 15 May, 5pm
Rotor, in conversation with Sam Spurr and David Burns of N. Hosted by Simon Sellars of Architectural Review Asia Pacific
Skype interview
Rotor is a design collective based in Brussels that manages the conception and realisation of design and architectural projects. This session will investigate Rotor’s recent project: an exhibition on the work of Rem Koolhaas’ firm, OMA, held at The Barbican.

Rotor. Photo by Benjamin Brolet


Tuesday 15 May, 12:30pm
Broached Commissions. Lou Weis, Trent Jansen and Adam Goodrum
Free panel discussion
Broached Commissions Creative Director Lou Weis and designers Trent Jansen and Adam Goodrum discuss this new project, which produces limited edition design collections inspired by stories and eras from Australian history.

Trent Jansen and Adam Goodrum


Wednesday 16 May, 10am
WORKac, in conversation with Sam Spurr and David Burns of N. Hosted by Simon Sellars of Architectural Review Asia Pacific
Skype interview
WORKac is a New York-based firm with a focus on architectural and urban planning projects. This conversation will focus on the Brooklyn Case Study, a proposal for an alternative food network in two of Brooklyn’s neighbourhoods with communities that suffer from health problems resulting from poor diet.

WORKac. Photo by Andy French


Wednesday 16 May, 12:30pm
Australian Creative Directors of the Venice Architecture Biennale, Anthony Burke and Gerard Reinmuth, with TOKO
Free panel discussion
Anthony Burke, Gerard Reinmuth and TOKO – the Creative Directors of the Australian pavilion at the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale – discuss the role of the Biennale as a platform for disseminating new practices in architecture.

Gerard Reinmuth and Anthony Burke


To book tickets, visit

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