Kitsch, Please: How our industry can disrupt and experiment without getting naff

Today, our workplaces are diverse hubs of design politics. Everything from agility to ABW to cubicles and change management carries enormous political clout. There is, however, a growing trend in this space to investigate the truly unique working models and design solutions which govern extreme workplaces. Whether in outer space, the deep sea, on the road or in the sky, how has design-thinking and engineering innovations in the commercial sector embraced its inner-weird?

Moderator and Speakers

Sophia Watson - Moderator

Co-Editor of Indesign

James Calder from Calder Consultants

Born in Adelaide in 1964, James first studied civil engineering before switching to a Bachelor of Architecture degree at the University of Adelaide then, during an Honours year studying urban history, he was struck by how important commerce was in driving urban change. From 1989 to 1991, James worked in the Adelaide and Melbourne offices of Woods Bagot, becoming familiar with an evidence-based approach to workplace design focused on understanding company culture and business needs. From then on, James’ experience has taken him to London, New York, Canada and back to Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney, consulting for the major firms such as Lend Lease, Brookfield, Deloitte and Macquarie. In 2012, James then established his own consultancy firm, Calder Consultants .

Monika Branagan & Ali McShane from The Bold Collective

Monika is a multidisciplinary designer with strong 
skills in both graphic and interior design. She has extensive experience designing commercial and retail projects alike. She has designed for brands and corporations such as Air bnb, Lonely Planet, Bankwest, Versace, Camilla, Dick Smith and Aesop. Her business partner and co-director, Ali is an experienced and highly regarded design professional with over 15 years of design practice. With her expertise in large corporate interior design consultancies; Ali has undertaken large-scale projects, refurbishment work, strategic consultancy, or relocation projects during her career. Together with their unique sense of identity for boldness and colour, they established The Bold Collective, an undeniable force of design and creativity.

Tim Giles from Geyer

Tim Giles is Geyer’s Creative Design Leader and one of Australia’s leading interior designers, with experience on a diverse range of widely-recognized and awarded projects over the past 18 years across the UK, USA, Asia, and Australia. His leadership within a creative studio environment is based on collaboration and blurring of sectors with a passion to challenge and disrupt design thinking. His approach is underpinned by an unswerving commitment to design excellence to ensure a dynamic design outcome aligned to client’s strategy and the end user. Tim’s design talent has been recognized in a number of awards regionally and globally, having collaborated with some of the world’s leading brands, in the creation of immersive and distinctive environments.

Sean Dix

Sean Dix’s was born in Kansas City, Mo (USA), that purgatory from which some of the greatest creators have escaped – Charles Eames, Charlie Parker, and William ‘Count’ Basie. As a young boy, he travelled extensively throughout the South Pacific and Southeast. After returning to the United States he studied fine woodworking in San Diego before moving to Chicago to study interior architecture and sculpture. Sean then moved to Europe to study traditional furniture making in Dorset, apprentice to Tom Dixon, study industrial design in the Netherlands, and then earn his masters in design in Milan, where he remained to work with the renowned designers James Irvine and, later, Ettore Sottsass. In 2000 Sean opened his own office in Milan and quickly developed a reputation for his innovative and impactful projects for fashion companies, luxury brands and restaurants. Today he has offices in Hong Kong and Milan and has an extensive international client base including Yardbird Restaurants, Black Sheep Restaurants, Zenith, Moschino, Bluebell, Harrods, Byblos, La Scala, and IFC Shopping Mall, to name a few.