Architecture in the South Pacific book launch

Celebrate the launch of Architecture in the South Pacific: The Ocean of Islands, Saturday 27 September at GOMA. Written by Jennifer Taylor and James Conner, the book offers an enlightening picture of today’s Oceania to those who are new to the ‘Isles of Paradise’, and to those who wish to discover them afresh through the perspective of exceptional architecture. This volume traces the European architectural overlay onto this scattered group of islands as well as the transition of these same islands towards a regional identity that has been fashioned by the remoteness of each location, the incomparable setting, and the distinctive ethnic mix of its inhabitants. 

RSVP is essential by Wed 24 Sep to (07) 3842 9900 or


APDL’s 4th birthday giveaway

We’re pulling out the party hats and celebratory streamers for our fourth birthday coming up on 6 October, and we want to include you in the fun! Tag a photo of your favourite design book with the hashtag #apdlbday to win a host of design goodies.

If your favourite is a book we don’t have in the design lounge we may even track down a copy to add to our collection, and we’ll be sure to let everyone know that it was you who suggested it to us.

Check out our instagram account @slqAPDL for more details. Entries close 6 October.

Forecast Festival of Landscape Architecture

With a program of participatory experiences and conversations, Forecast is designed to inspire and engage by re-imagining the way we meet and celebrate the profession, share our stories and learn through discourse and debate. Over three days on the banks of the Brisbane River (16-18 Oct), the festival will prototype a new approach for Landscape Architecture, reflecting the way we work as designers – transparently, collaboratively and iteratively. This is a festival for designers, thinkers, collaborators and innovators to partake in conversations and events to help build a momentum that will underpin the future of the profession.

Landscape Architects continue to explore new ways of working across scales – increasingly global, yet also regional and local. We are collaborating and engaging more broadly, inventing and experimenting more rapidly and creating new approaches to the way we practice and shape environments.

Forecast will look to the edges of our profession to better understand where Landscape Architects have influence and how we operate. Featuring speakers who practice on and interact with the cusp of the profession, the conversations will reveal the terrain, explore opportunities and become a platform for forecasting a future direction.

Join guests from across Australia and the world as we explore, define and forecast Landscape Architecture from differing perspectives. Purposefully diverse, the program doesn’t seek to provide answers, but insights though a series of conversation sessions. These sessions will also become the departure point for a series of broadcasts continuing the forecasting beyond Brisbane and into the future.

Set over three days, Forecast’s speakers include:

Matt Baida

Julie Bargmann

Pamille Berg

Daniel Bennett

Cameron Bruhn

Amy Grey

Penny Hall

Stuart Harrison

James Hayter

Timothy Horton

Perry Lethlean

Matthew Mackay

Dr Jo Russell-Clarke

Andy Sharp

Rachel Smith

Malcolm Snow

Yen Trinh

Dr Anton James

Dr Naomi Stead

Matt Davis

Jerry de Gryse

Nathalie Ward

Barbara Schaffer

Much of the Festival will be taking place at the State Library of Queensland (SLQ) 16-18 October.

Program and ticking information can be accessed via

Please contact team at AILA with any enquiries:

T 02 6248 9970


Design and Empathy in a 21st Century Education

Toddlers at play have got it, design students are re-learning it and multinationals want workers who have it.  Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt Fellow Terry Deen discusses the skillset he is exploring at the Smithsonian Design Museum in New York…..

Working with the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s (CHSDM) education team has enabled me to research and engage with best practice design education.  I believe that design thinking has the potential to teach 21st century skills and that empathy is a catalyst for quality design education.  Recent professional reading has led me to the work of economist and cultural theorist Jeremy Rifkin.  In light of recent economic disasters, Rifkin’s Empathic Civilisation (2010) proclaimed that ‘we are homo-empathicus’.  Researchers from the fields of cognitive neuroscience, child development and behavioural psychology, have found that mirror-neurons in the brains of humans and our fellow mammals are driven by empathic inclinations for collaborative learning.  This inspiring scientific knowledge has reaffirmed my belief that empathy is integral to the design process.

On one hand it is understandable to feel a sense of envy when observing the educational opportunities on offer to today’s homo-empathic students.  The existence of online design education communities such as the Asia Pacific Design Library’s (APDL) DesignMinds and the CHSDM’s Education Resource Centre(ERC) evidence the benefits of education in the digital age.  On the other hand, current data heavy systems, mean that students are encountering standardised testing more frequently than when I went to school fourteen years ago.  Australian and American educators share the challenge of balancing innovation with standardisation.  In both countries, data-driven debate over ‘quality teachers’ has limited public awareness of the demand for 21st century skills, the shift from STEM to STEAM, and the multi-disciplinary scope of design education.

21st century skills of empathy, collaboration, leadership, communication, perseverance and creativity are the essential skills of toddlers at play, just as they are the sought after skillsets of multinationals seeking the competitive edge.  So called ‘soft’ skills, or worse yet, ‘non-cognitive’ skills are now viewed as vital for success in a 21st century economy.  The three cross-curricula priorities of the Australian National Curriculum (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives; Asia and our engagement with Asia; Sustainability, ACARA, 2013) exemplify the need for learning through perspective taking.  Design thinking offers teachers across all educational silos a means of engaging students with curriculum in a manner that recognises their need to develop 21st century skills and values their homo-empathic nature.

We are better at what we do, when we understand: our audience, our customers, our collaborators, our neighbours, our users.  Design places the user at the heart of the design process.  Design education teaches students to engage collaboratively to meet the needs of users.  In my experience, to design quality education, teachers must do the same.

As I near the half-way point in my Cooper Hewitt fellowship I am refining my own processes as an empathic thinker and as a design educator.  Whether I am reading about mirror-neurons, collaborating with colleagues, advocating for Queensland design or delivering professional development; my role as the Queensland Cooper Hewitt fellow has shifted my perspective and strengthened my drive to teach through design.  Design thinking is cross-disciplinary, complementary to existing pedagogical frameworks and pertinent to the delivery of the Australian National Curriculum.  Most importantly, design education increases and sustains student engagement in the 21st century classroom.  I look forward to collaborating with APDL’s DesignMinds and supporting the growth of design education throughout Queensland.

This article was first published on the Arts Queensland blog.


We are so pleased to be involved with this year’s Design Institute of Australia DIAlogues series. The overarching topic for the series is “Technology and Design – The perfect marriage?”, with each of the three events discussing a different question that sits within this realm.

The second event in the series will be held on Tuesday 16 September 2014, with panelists addressing the topic: ‘For as long as we both shall live – Or until the best best thing arrives anyway!’ In this event, the panelists will discuss lifecycle, economy and ethics and whether technology has replaced the idea of longevity and timelessness in our designs. They will interrogate whether in our quest to keep up with technology, have we forgotten about the principles of sustainable and ethical design.

In the lead up to the day, here is a quick introduction to the moderators and panelists that will be discussing these challenging issues:



Lecturer – QUT Faculty of Creative Industries – School of Design 
Design Director – Jamm Studio 
Senior Design Consultant – Destravis Group

Michael Molloy is an interior designer with professional and academic experience in North America, UK, South East Asia and Australia and has spread his ideas across many industry sectors. He is proficient in all aspects of projects, which makes him an excellent strategic player in project conceptualization, delivery and peer review. His academic and professional talent is highly regarded and makes him a frequent member of award panels.

He is a lecturer in Interior Design at Queensland University of Technology, a Senior Design Consultant with The Destravis Group and runs his own small design practice on the Sunshine Coast – Jamm Studio.


Becky Green

PhD Candidate & Sessional Academic – QUT Faculty of Creative Industries School of Design
Course Convenor – QCA (Chinese University of Hong Kong Campus)
Principal Designer – 57design + illustration

An experienced illustrator, designer and art director with 18 years experience including museum exhibition design and sustainable graphic design, Becky still operates the Brisbane-based sustainable design studio—57design + illustration. Her academic passions are sociology, sustainability ethics and practice, design process, aesthetic style and social justice, and her PhD research topic is “The role of aesthetic style in the visual communication of climate change”, due for completion mid-2015.

Chris Bosse

Director LAVA Asia Pacific
Adjunct Professor of Architecture, UTS

Chris Bosse founded LAVA [Laboratory for Visionary Architecture] with Tobias Wallisser and Alexander Rieck in 2007 as a network of creative minds with a research and design focus. LAVA now has offices in Sydney, Shanghai, Stuttgart and Berlin. Educated in Germany and Switzerland, Bosse bases his work on the computerised study of organic structures and resulting spatial conceptions. His award-winning design projects have won Bosse an international reputation as a new generation architect who pushes the boundaries of traditional structure and architecture by digital and experimental form -finding.

Bosse was a key designer of the Beijing Olympics Watercube, winner of the Atmosphere Award at the 9th Venice Architecture Biennale. The following year he received the Emerging Architect RIBA award and in 2012 Perspective’s 40 Under 40 for Asia’s rising design stars. LAVA has won many awards including the Premier’s Award at the NSW Architecture Awards, Sydney Design Award, Australian Interior Design Award, Australian Timber Design Award, UN partnered ZEROprize Re-Skinning Award, I. D. Annual Design Review, IDEA Award, AAFAB AA London, Cityscape Dubai Award Sustainability; commendations include Well Tech Award and Dedalo Minosse International Prize.


David Baggs

CEO and Technical Director of Global GreenTag Pty Ltd
Technical Director of Ecospecifier
Immediate Past President, Current Vice President of the Australian Life Cycle Assessment Society

Baggs is an award winning chartered architect, sustainability, energy-efficiency and eco-materials consultant with over 30 years experience in sustainable development design and consulting on some of Australia’s most iconic green projects. He is both a Green Star and LEED Accredited Professional. David is a regular keynote speaker and has been voted in 2009-10 as one of Australia’s top 50 and in 2011-2013, as one of the Top 100 most influential individuals in environmental issues in a 6 Continent poll run by ABC Carbon as well as one of the Top 50 Australian Sustainable Building Leaders 2012 by readers.

Jouni Järvelä

Co-founder, POPconcrete
Industrial Designer

Since its humble beginnings in late 2010, POP has established itself as an innovative leader in the design and manufacture of concrete based products. Alongside its own product designs, POPconcrete collaborates closely with architects, designers and specifiers to ensure the best outcome for their original design intent. As the spearhead of a small design department that works from within the manufacturing factory, Jouni is never far from the manufacturing process. This creates an intimate relationship between the design development process, the understanding of materials used and innovation in the manufacturing techniques employed. Adopting a dogmatic approach to innovation and an adherence to the design and manufacture of products with an evolving value, POPconcrete products buck the trend of a high volume, expendable consumer mind set.

Jennifer Loy

Program Leader of Industrial Design and 3D Design Digital Media, Griffith University. 

Jennifer has a PhD is in Industrial Design, with a research focus on sustainable design practice and experience as a Research Fellow at the Centre for Sustainable Architecture with Wood.  With an industry background in mass production, her research interests are the re-localisation of manufacturing, socio-cultural sustainability, learning through making (digital fabrication) and the impact of disruptive technologies, such as 3D printing, on patterns of design, production and consumption. 

Interested? Grab your ticket and get along:

5.30pm for 6.00pm start, event concludes 8.30pm – Tuesday 16 September 2014
The Edge – State Library of Qld, Stanley Street, South Brisbane
Linda Ruger
0422 945 479

Open Set 2014: The highlights

Over the past few weeks, I was given the exciting and enviable task of reporting back my experiences from the Open Set Summer School in Rotterdam. Open Set has been running since 2012, with each year tackling a concept relevant to contemporary design practice.

This years theme, Social Game, was really relevant to what we do at the APDL (and to me as a graphic designer as well). It aimed to explore the role of design in creating and engaging in social processes.

Before my Open Set experience began, my intention was to report on each workshop experience as it happened. However, once the program started, I realised that the reality was a little more complex. It was incredibly difficult to reflect on the projects while I was fully immersed in them. It was only after they were complete that I was able to recognise the impact they had on me and my design process.

Over the entire two weeks, I was involved in three three-day workshops and and three one-day workshops, each with their own means of engaging the theme and each with a specific outcome required.

Going into details about each specific workshop would take up too much time for just one blog post so I’ll be compiling some highlights to be posted on Design Online very soon. To give you a taste of the kinds of projects and ideas I’ve developed my personal favourite moments include:

  • Sneakily installing letterforms on a large scale public sculpture as a part of the Andy Altman workshop
  • Learning Processing language to code to create unique avatars that engage with each other in a virtual space in the Andreas Gysin



  • Engaging a “Chinese whispers” style of process to develop  ideas on design and the news during the Anelys de Vet workshop
  • Using communication design process to engage fringe communities at the Afrikaanderwijk Coop
  • Extracting data from my mobile phone and representing it visually thanks to Richard Vijgen class
  • Learning under the tutelage of design icon Jan Van Toorn about the dialogic image and how to utilise this to explore complex constructs of identity.


One of the unanticipated consequences of my visit was the incredible amount of learning that occurred outside of the classes. Visits to the Het Nieuw Instituut and the IABR were also eye opening and deserve their own posts as well.

I couldn’t finish this post without thanking the people who made this experience what it was. Firstly, a huge thank you goes to the team at Studio Squash (Irina and Vlad) for developing a design program that acknowledges and engages new understanding of design. A huge thank you is also due to the other Open Set participants, all of whom are incredibly talented  and bring their own perspectives to the design process. I’ve learned so much from working with you all too.

Overall, I am glad to have been able to be involved in this event. I have come home with a reinvigorated enthusiasm for design and can’t wait to start applying what I have learned at the APDL.

See you all soon!

Play + Make

Terry Deen, a local teacher at Kelvin Grove State College in Queensland, is the 2014 Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt Fellow. Thanks to the partnership between the Queensland Government and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York, Terry will be working at NYC’s iconic Museum Mile until early October. He is in New York experiencing and delivering quality design education via his tenure. Terry is sharing his experiences with us and has written his fourth piece on the APDL blog.  You can also follow Terry’s journey via Twitter or Instagram.

Design thinking is pointless without creative action.  Bruce Nussbaum, once a major advocate of design thinking, asserts that “From the beginning, the process of Design Thinking was a scaffolding for the real deliverable: creativity”.  He draws upon the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) to propose a parallel through which to re-imagine Creative Intelligence (CQ) as a measurable skill of value in navigating futures.

I teach art, multimedia, design and English at Kelvin Grove State College.  Creativity, along with numeracy, literacy and visual literacy are essential in my day to day.  I explicitly teach design thinking and I integrate my College’s chosen thinking skills framework into my teaching practice.  However, I agree with Nussbaum in that thinking is not the end point of creativity, but a catalyst for creative action.

The Power of Play

Quest to Learn Professional Development

Last week I visited three creative organisations, where grown men and women were actively engaging in the business of play.  At the Institute of Play, I analysed the six parts of a game, whilst playing games with a group of American teachers and four Barcelonian nuns.  I then dropped by the Makery‘s pop-up on Governer’s Island where Oya Kosebay toured me around a tech playground inside a historic military residence. Later in the week I visited MAD where I spoke with Christopher M. Lynch (aka. mister lynch) about playing with miniature figurines in imagined scenarios.  One week of field trips to three locations in New York City (a school prepping for a new year, a historic island fortress and a museum named MAD) had me thinking about the creative power of play and the meaning of making.

Governer's Island Makery

DIY Arcade Game at Governer's Island Makery

The agency at play in making is intertwined with creative problem solving.  Institute of Play staff and their participants create games to enhance the delivery of curriculum, the Makery crew bring DIY tech to the public consciousness, and “mister lynch” applies the techniques of commercial photography to create the miniature worlds for his New Founds.  All three visits revealed processes of thought and action with direct relevance to STEAM and design education, as well as numeracy, literacy and visual literacy.

Creative Intelligence is accessible through play and assessable through making.  Design thinking can unlock fresh ideas, however “the real deliverable: creativity” is most potent in design education when concepts are manifested through materials, technologies and processes.  Teaching creative thinking and creative making can be complex, but in much the same way as quality design, simplicity is best.  Its time to get serious about CQ and play maker:play designer.

Hi, nice to meet you!

Don Norman, cognitive scientist and design critic, in his 2003 TED talk, 3 ways good design makes you happy, said that if you’re more susceptible to interruption, you do more out-of-the-box thinking.  I join the Asia Pacific Design Library as Manager, mid PhD, after 7 years as a lecturer at QUT School of Design and an 18 year practice background in commercial interior design, with the hope that this interruption will pay dividends for my own personal learning and the ongoing development of an internationally significant initiative that I am passionate about. My design career to date, and the lifestyle that comes with that, has been full of exciting interruptions, which have allowed me to work on creative projects with amazing people with shared aspirations. Having been involved with the APDL since its inception in 2010, I am keen to continue working with its talented team, and its family of contributors, followers and supporters, to extend its reach and value for the greater Queensland and Asia Pacific community.

Graduating at the end of the 80s as an interior designer in Brisbane, I found roles in the design professions were scarce and misunderstood, leading me to pursue necessary overseas stints in Japan and the UK. Enduring the cyclic highs and lows of the construction industry and Brisbane’s transformations, my career has taken various turns, and in response to this, in the last ten years, as a DIA State Councillor, National Director, International representative and academic, my energy has been more focused on design advocacy and education – demonstrating the value of design and design thinking for our economy, culture and society in Australia.

In 2010, in conjunction with a touring design exhibition, I directed the goDesign Travelling Design Workshop Program for secondary students in 6 regional Queensland towns; the first multi-sectoral statewide travelling design education scheme in Australia. This program was life changing, and highlighted to me the transformation, empowerment, motivation and renewed understanding of self, people and place made possible through the collaborative and hands-on process of design thinking. It demonstrated to me the importance of providing these opportunities, in particular for our youth; introducing a different way of seeing and being in a rapidly changing, complex world. It demonstrated to me that design thinking IS a powerful tool for addressing ‘wicked problems’ and building community resilience, as well as enhancing life-long learning through inclusivity and participation.

My interests now lie in research and development of design education programs, which cultivate the generic skills, behaviours and mindsets necessary for our future sustainment in the 21st century knowledge economy. I have had the pleasure of being involved in the development of the Design Minds platform and its community, and look forward to being involved in its ongoing evolution and growing its ambassador network.

The APDL for me, as a prototype model for a 21st century library, encompassing both physical and digital platforms for knowledge generation, is the perfect sandpit for interruption, inducing inquiry, ideation and implementation focused on public places, communication, better living, design thinking and fashion. Come in and visit us in the Design Lounge or at one of our events, for a nourishing and happiness-inducing interruption to your day, and pen your thoughts on Design Online to inspire others.  While I am here I hope to meet you – whether you are local or international, from industry, academia or the community  – in the sandpit, and hear about your ideas for generating new knowledge around design in the Asia Pacific.

I’d love to hear from you anytime. You can email me at or follow me on Twitter @Brisbane_Design or hear all the latest via our APDL Twitter @slqAPDL.


Digesting the Language

Terry Deen, a local teacher at Kelvin Grove State College in Queensland, is the 2014 Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt Fellow. Thanks to the partnership between the Queensland Government and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York, Terry will be working at NYC’s iconic Museum Mile until early October. He is in New York experiencing and delivering quality design education via his tenure. Terry is sharing his experiences with us and has written his third piece on the APDL blog.  You can also follow Terry’s journey via Twitter or Instagram.

Spot the Australian

Staff and Participants at SDI NOLA

I am the 2014 Queensland Cooper Hewitt Fellow, currently working at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum (CHSDM) on the Museum Mile in New York City.  Last week, the fellowship saw me travel with the CHSDM’s education team to New Orleans, Louisiana (NOLA) for the 2014 Smithsonian Design Institute (SDI).  I was honored to present at SDI, and thrilled with the enthusiastic responses which highlighted the internationally innovative standard of Queensland design education.

Louisiana from Above

Lake Pontchartrain Causeway

Flying above the plantations of Louisiana, now on my return to NYC seems like an ideal context to share and reflect.  After a week in the deep South, I heard groups addressed as ‘y’all’ and ladies refer to each other affectionately as ‘Sister Friend’,  but one off-hand phrase from the SDI experience has lingered with me.  The turn of phrase came about when Michelle Cheng (Professional Development Manager, CHSDM) transitioned through the first day of SDI, using an analogy to preface her instructions, ‘Now that you have digested the language…’

If you’ve been to New Orleans, you’d know that it is a food town, with its own food language.  The influences of Creole, Cajun, Spain are palatable, combined with the influences of Native America, VooDoo, Soul, Blues, Mardi Gras, Confederacy, Slavery and Civil War creates a truly unique blend.  The week involved an exploration of food and language that went beyond standard approaches to professional development and mirrored the complexities of NOLA.

The combination of design thinking, STEAM education, common core, 21st century education and the many challenges that have surfaced post-Katrina, meant that the language was not only dense, but required delicacy in conversation.

click on image to learn more about Float House

Thom Mayne's National Design Award winning Float House

The Cooper Hewitt education team often chooses NOLA for SDI or the former City of Neighborhoods, because they are invested in positive change for communities and students who are under-served.  Similarly, participants from outside of NOLA (Minneapolis, Cleveland, NYC, San Antonio) work within communities that are both proud and problematic.

The design process I witnessed last week offered educators the time and space to ‘digest the language’.  SDI evoked problems and translated these into opportunities for positive change. Collaborative action that is sustained across civic systems, organisations, partnerships and environments is needed.  My experience in New Orleans has reaffirmed my belief that Queensland needs to digest the language of sustainability, closing the gap, STEAM and 21st Century Education.  The problems we face offer tremendous opportunities.

“If you put the right amount of thought into a design, you can solve any issue.” (Cesar Rodriguez, Make It Right Foundation)

Groups workshop ideas through questioning panellists

Panel Interview Sessions

APDL is going on Tour in Europe!

If you’ve seen our twitter feed in the last couple of months or so you may have seen a post about a Design Summer School in Rotterdam called Open Set. I’ve been lucky enough to nab a spot in the program and I’ll be jetting off on Friday to report on this amazing event over the next two weeks!

Open Set is a Dutch Graphic Design Summer School runs from the 28th of July to the 9th of August in 2014 and comprises two weeks of workshops, lectures and design activities. The school is structured within a studio environment and I will be experimenting with different design approaches and sharing ideas with designers from 16 countries around the world. With the aim of promoting and enhancing the social value of design, Open Set creates a platform for debate, knowledge exchange, and experience building — something that we at the APDL are very interested in too!

Each year the event is themed, and this year’s event centres around the idea of “Social Game” and the role of the designer in processes of public engagement with cultural production and distribution. Open Set examines this theme by focusing on existing reactions from the creative industry to new social requirements — a focus informed by designers who create participatory and interactive experiences, act as journalists building visual stories, and initiate social processes and digital platforms.

I am looking forward to participating in workshops and lectures hosted by some incredible and innovative designers including: Max BruinsmaAndy AltmannJeanne van HeeswijkAnnelys de VetAndreas GysinRichard Vijgen and Felix Janssens.

While I’m in town I’ll be looking to get involved in as many design happenings as I can so if you have any tips of things must see Dutch design—get in touch! The International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam will also be in town when I am there so look out for a post about that.

If you’d like to here about all of the happenings while I’m in the Netherlands check back on the blog for regular updates or follow the adventure on Twitter and Instagram where I’ll be keeping everyone up to speed using the hashtag #APDLontour

Can’t wait!