2013 Interior Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) winners revealed

November 15, 2013

The winners of IDEA Awards 2013 were announced this evening, Friday 15 November, at Melbourne’s NGV. Out of 450 entries McBride Charles Ryan emerged the Overall Winner for its whimsical addition to Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School – the Infinity Centre.

(Image: Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School, Infinity Centre by McBride Charles Ryan – the Overall Winner of the 2013 IDEA Awards.

Inside magazine has announced the winners of its 2013 Interior Design Excellence Awards (IDEA).

The winners and nominees of the 11th annual awards have been celebrated in fine style at the IDEA Gala Party. Held in the Great Hall of Melbourne’s NGV on Friday 15 November it was a night to remember. In fact, many are still partying! 

The night’s highly anticipated Overall Winner prize was awarded to McBride Charles Ryan for its Infinity Centre project, a whimsical addition to Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School in the outer Melbourne suburb of Keilor East. Comprising a perpetual loop with the library at its heart, the Infinity Centre is a gloriously seamless amalgamation of indoor-outdoor space. While the gloss-black and silver-banded brickwork of the building’s exterior creates a decided sense of arrival, the interior addresses the practical and social needs of students. For its adept spatial organisation, the project was also recognised as the winner in IDEA’s Public Space category.

Jeff Copolov

IDEA Gold Medal winner: Jeff Copolov


Jeff Copolov, one of the country’s most highly regarded design figures, took home this year’s most prestigious award, the IDEA Gold Medal, presented to practitioners who have made an enduring contribution to Australian design over the course of their career.

An engaging and thoughtful designer with over 30 years of industry experience, Copolov has made an indelible mark on the Australian design landscape and is a deserving recipient of this award. Working as Interior Design director for Bates Smart, Copolov has been responsible for many of Australia’s most iconic interiors. Among the dozens of outstanding projects steered by Copolov’s design are Crown Metropol Hotel, Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital, Media House Melbourne, Clayton Utz Sydney, Freshwater Place and the Australian Embassy in Berlin.

Tribe Studio's Apartment Gregory

Apartment Gregory from Designer of the Year Tribe Studio


Tribe Studio’s bespoke design solutions gained it the honour of this year’s Designer of the Year title. The work of Tribe Studio balances utilitarian design with playful detail and an ever-apparent sensitivity to the brief. Producing residential projects that are gracefully understated, and which encapsulate both the personality of each client and the specifics of site, Tribe Studio was also later acknowledged as the winner of the Single Residential category for its residential project, House Maher. In one of this year’s largest and most strongly contested categories, House Maher triumphed for meticulously addressing the practical needs of its wheelchair-bound client, while committing to a universally beautiful interpretation of domesticity.

Woods Bagot was the winner of this year’s Multi-Residential category, for its Sunday Apartments. The project, located in Melbourne’s Southbank, encompasses 237 small one- and two-bedroom dwellings. It’s a well-resolved solution to the increasing demand for compact, affordable housing close to the Melbourne CBD.

Winner of the Sustainability Award: Environa Studio's

Winner of the Sustainability award: Environa Studio’s The Wayside Chapel


Environa Studio received IDEA’s Sustainability award for its redesign of The Wayside Chapel, a functional and low-impact Sydney social services institution that will serve the needs of its users well into the future. Specifically, the design, while excelling in sustainable solutions in every practical aspect of the build, has also considered social sustainability in providing a means to grow, cook and serve food, and the attendant learnings this involves.

The Residential Decoration category was won by Molecule for its interior decoration project housed within Grong Grong, a majestic residence in the Melbourne suburb of Toorak. A grand combination of traditional luxury and contemporary classic, the interior of Grong Grong cleverly incorporates finishes and furniture that together craft an inviting residential space.

Decided by public vote, the IDEA People’s Choice Award was given to a collaborative project from Sydney studios Sumu Design and Caon Studio, and Singapore-based PDM International, for their combined crowd-pleasing work on the Qantas Lounge at Singapore International Airport. Balancing the requirements of a global airline brand with sensitivity for local design cues, the project exceeded the public’s expectations of the typical airport lounge.

Breathe Architecture’s reinvention of one of Melbourne’s Heritage listed hotels earned the firm the highest accolade in the night’s Hospitality section. The project, Captain Melville in Melbourne’s inner city, has been transformed into a highly appealing restaurant and bar, which follows a raw, urban aesthetic throughout.


Koskela’s Hoodie – winner of the Object – Furniture and Lighting award

In the Object – Furniture and Lighting category, Koskela received the top prize for its Hoodie. Identifying a problem that is becoming increasingly relevant in the contemporary workplace – that of the discrete workspace – the solution has been stylishly and thoughtfully designed to allow users to create a temporary privacy bubble.

Winners of the workplace categories included Assemble, which received the Workplace Under 1000sqm award for its own workplace, based in Melbourne’s inner city suburb of Northcote. Assemble, a young architectural studio, constructed an intelligently designed, small and flexible workspace built from a limited palette of modest materials.

Within the Workplace Over 1000sqm category, Group GSA was named the winner for its fitout of A Working Community. Over 30,000 square metres, Group GSA created a flexible, highly functional workspace and a refined interior environment for the staff of A Working Community.

In the Event category, The Living Room Theatre’s production of I Love Todd Sampson was unmatched in its creative and resourceful achievements. Nine teams of small practices collaborated to transform Pier 2/3 in Sydney’s Walsh Bay into an elaborate set for The Living Room Theatre’s production.

The Optique optometrist in Sydney by Smart Design Studio was named winner of the Retail category for successfully encapsulating a brand through the execution of an aesthetically crisp and simple design concept.


BURNS’ Australia House in Japan – winner of the International category

The understated beauty of BURNS’ Australia House in rural Japan was ultimately the standout in the International category. A small-scale artist studio and gallery, BURNS’ minimalist design draws inspiration from both the Australian Georgian farmhouse and the Japanese Minka.

The highly regarded Emerging Designer award was this year handed to Foolscap Studio, which was singled out ahead of the pack for its collective work in collaboration with The Richmond Weekender – a project facilitated by Right Angle Studio and produced for Lend Lease.

Now in their 11th year, Inside magazine’s annual Interior Design Excellence Awards are nationally recognised as the country’s premier independent design awards program. Over 450 entries were received this year and, after much consideration, a shortlist of 161 projects across 14 different categories was named. The eventual winners of these categories represent this year’s most exceptional interior and product design talent.

The 2013 instalment of the Interior Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) was judged by: Ross Didier, principal of Australian design company Didier; Clare Cousins, practising architect and recipient of the AIA 2013 National Emerging Architect Award; Bill Dowzer, BVN Donovan Hill’s NSW studio director; Paulo Chung, an associate director at DesignInc in Sydney; Dan Cox, director of commercial interiors at Carr Design in Melbourne; and Angela Layton, leader of the interior design team at Arkhefield.

Go to to see the full list of winners and their work.

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