This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

The Brisbane Design Duo With A Human-Centred Approach

Studio Visit

It’s surely every architect and designer’s dream to work from a thorough, clearly articulated design brief. But creating the ultimate brief is easier said than done.

Based in a newly renovated garden studio, Suzie Wiley and Laura Pascoe are Surroundings – a human-centred design consultancy in Brisbane, who offer a progressive ‘plug-in’ service to assist architects, clients and builders with the challenge of nailing the perfect brief.

12th March, 2019

Surroundings’ Brisbane HQ. Photo – Mindi Cooke for The Design Files.

The duo behind the trailblazing consultancy. Photo – Mindi Cooke for The Design Files.

Photo – Mindi Cooke for The Design Files.

Photo – Mindi Cooke for The Design Files.

Photo – Mindi Cooke for The Design Files.

Photo – Mindi Cooke for The Design Files.

Surroundings hosted Brisbane Open House in October 2018 to do their Surroundings Home Masterclass. Photo – Shantanu Starick.

Brisbane Open House undertake the Surroundings Home Masterclass. Photo – Shantanu Starick.

Workshop details. Photo – Jon Henzell.

A recent custom-designed ‘Design and creative thinking’ workshop for Aesop, which was part of one of their strategic retreats held in the gardens of the Heide Museum. Photo – Jon Henzell.

‘Design and creative thinking’ workshop for Aesop. Photo – Jon Henzell.

Adjoining Surroundings’ Studio space is the Edgecliff Treehouse, which is available to rent on Airbnb. Photo – Shantanu Starick.

Edgecliff Treehouse, which is available to rent on Airbnb. Photo – Shantanu Starick.

Edgecliff Treehouse. Photo – Shantanu Starick.

Edgecliff Treehouse. Photo – Shantanu Starick.

Edgecliff Treehouse. Photo – Shantanu Starick.

Jo Hoban
Tuesday 12th March 2019

‘These days, building, legislation, and humans are more complex.’ – Suzie Wiley.

Suzie Wiley and Laura Pascoe are the multi-faceted creatives behind Surroundings, a human-centred design consultancy based in Brisbane.  Both experienced architects, the pair facilitate workshops that bring together diverse people involved in residential and commercial renovation and build projects, to stimulate discussion and share ideas in a supportive environment. The goal is to define a ‘human brief’ that complements a functional architectural brief, and to enhance connections between everyone involved in a project, from its earliest stages.

As Suzie describes it: ‘these days, building, legislation, and humans are more complex. It’s often too much for an architect to delve into, especially with increased fee pressure. So we’ve chosen one bit and we’re doing it really well as a speciality – a separate consultancy that’s plugged in to offer support.’

Laura and Suzie customise their workshops to suit each project. Essentially, though, each session is filled with guided brainstorming exercises, doodling, and face-to-face discussion, to uncover the nitty gritty of how people experience different spaces in varied scenarios. They remind people that they are the experts on themselves and their preferences (trust yo’self!) and that a broad range of voices will produce a more inclusive design. Kids, family and close friends are even welcome at residential workshops.

The pair first decided to join forces back in 2011. Suzie had started Surroundings as a residential architecture practice a few years prior, and upon meeting Laura the chemistry was instant. The business has evolved organically, gathering particular momentum with their human-centred approach over the last couple of years.

Aligning with all of this, is the evolution of their unique new garden workspace – the renovated undercroft of Suzie’s Queenslander home in Highgate Hill! Both women were inspired by childhood time spent making things in workshops underneath houses with their parents. ‘This garden studio is my “take” on a creative space under a house,’ says Suzie.

Originally a couple of closed-in rooms amid the dirt, Suzie removed internal walls, as well as an entire room from the upper floor, to create an atrium that introduces abundant natural light. This, combined with extending the timber floor and selectively adding walls, enabled the creation of a delightful indoor/outdoor, open-plan studio. With a host of flourishing greenery, this airy and adaptable wonderland is the perfect space to help nurture their business into its next exciting phase of development.

For more about Surroundings and their workshops, visit their website and follow their Instagram @surroundingseesThey also now offer online Home Masterclasses and consults.

Keep an eye out for an extended version of this story on Space & Process and @spaceandprocess.

This Week

Studio Visit

Designer Jordan Fleming Makes Playful ‘Creatures’ That Double As Lamps

Her handcrafted pieces are like towering, functional sculptures as tall as people – that look like they could come alive at any moment!
Christina Karras

News

A Summery New Collection By Australia’s Oldest Textile Mill

Shop Waverly Mills’ beautiful new range of blankets, rugs, and throws, with all fabrics made at their century-old factory!
Christina Karras

Sustainable Homes

A 1980s Bushland Home Built Entirely From Recycled Materials

A mudbrick home in Healesville, Victoria handmade by the owners using salvaged materials.
Amelia Barnes
  17 hours ago

Architecture

An Architect + Interior Designer’s Coastal Home, Grounded In Nature

This Sydney family home is like a private treehouse by the beach, with views at every turn, and unexpected interiors.
Christina Karras

Architecture

A Renovated Fitzroy Home, Inspired By The Candied Colours Of Italian Dessert

This Edwardian brings a delectable taste of Italy to Melbourne with its stained-glass windows and peachy pink interiors!
Christina Karras

Homes

A Glamorous Update For An Exemplary Ernest Fooks Mid-Century Home

Modernist architect Ernest Fooks designed some of Melbourne’s outstanding mid-century properties, including the 1960s home of Ilana Moses

Design Eye

Balancing Form + Function In Garden Design, With Peachy Green’s Frances Hale

Landscape designer Frances Hale of Peachy Green shares how outdoor furniture can turn garden spaces into useable living areas, immersed in g...
Christina Karras

Interiors

The Central Coast Home Of The Block Alumni Kyal + Kara

The Australian coastal meets Mediterranean family home of former The Block stars Kyal and Kara Demmrich, on the NSW Central Coast.

Shopping

Bonnie & Neil's Sunny New Collection Is Inspired By Mediterranean Beach Clubs

Bonnie & Neil are bringing the colours of the Italian coast and Grecian-style prints to our home with their new summer collection!
Christina Karras

News

New Melbourne Brand Saule Have Created The Dreamiest Robes, Just In Time For Summer

Local creative Sally Tabart has designed the ultimate robe for the home, beach and beyond – and it’s all made here in Melbourne!
Christina Karras

Apartments

This Sunny, Yellow Building Is One Of Melbourne's Most Revolutionary Apartments

Tour the newly built ParkLife by Austin Maynard Architects - a super-sustainable complex by Nightingale Housing in Brunswick!
Christina Karras
  1 hour ago

Sustainable Homes

‘Future Ready’: Inside One Of Melbourne’s Newest Sustainable Developments

Mirvac are hoping to encourage sustainable living with their innovative 'future ready' display home in Melbourne's inner west.
Christina Karras

Creative People

Meet The Small Melbourne Brand Reinventing The Humble Gumboot

From a humble farm in South Gippsland, Merry People has grown from a grassroots start-up, to a successful brand sold across the globe!
Christina Karras

Interiors

A Coastal Oasis Designed + Built By The Owners

Lauren Patista-Trickey and Jonathon Patista admit being both client and builder/designer was 'a journey', but the result made it all worth i...

Interiors

A Clever Reworking Of A 70sqm Cottage In Hawthorn, Melbourne

Despite being limited to this home's tiny frame, interior designer Rosanna Ceravolo has impressively made the most of its diminutive size.

Similar Stories

Studio Visit

The Brisbane Design Duo With A Human-Centred Approach

Introducing Surroundings, Brisbane's specialist consultancy that's championing human-centred design and getting us all thinking!
Jo Hoban

Studio Visit

The Brisbane Design Duo With A Human-Centred Approach

Introducing Surroundings, Brisbane's specialist consultancy that's championing human-centred design and getting us all thinking!
Jo Hoban

Studio Visit

The Brisbane Design Duo With A Human-Centred Approach

Introducing Surroundings, Brisbane's specialist consultancy that's championing human-centred design and getting us all thinking!
Jo Hoban

This Week

Studio Visit

Designer Jordan Fleming Makes Playful ‘Creatures’ That Double As Lamps

Her handcrafted pieces are like towering, functional sculptures as tall as people – that look like they could come alive at any moment!
Christina Karras

Interiors

A Clever Reworking Of A 70sqm Cottage In Hawthorn, Melbourne

Despite being limited to this home's tiny frame, interior designer Rosanna Ceravolo has impressively made the most of its diminutive size.

Apartments

This Sunny, Yellow Building Is One Of Melbourne's Most Revolutionary Apartments

Tour the newly built ParkLife by Austin Maynard Architects - a super-sustainable complex by Nightingale Housing in Brunswick!
Christina Karras
  1 hour ago

Interiors

A Coastal Oasis Designed + Built By The Owners

Lauren Patista-Trickey and Jonathon Patista admit being both client and builder/designer was 'a journey', but the result made it all worth i...

Sustainable Homes

‘Future Ready’: Inside One Of Melbourne’s Newest Sustainable Developments

Mirvac are hoping to encourage sustainable living with their innovative 'future ready' display home in Melbourne's inner west.
Christina Karras

Interiors

The Central Coast Home Of The Block Alumni Kyal + Kara

The Australian coastal meets Mediterranean family home of former The Block stars Kyal and Kara Demmrich, on the NSW Central Coast.

News

New Melbourne Brand Saule Have Created The Dreamiest Robes, Just In Time For Summer

Local creative Sally Tabart has designed the ultimate robe for the home, beach and beyond – and it’s all made here in Melbourne!
Christina Karras

Sustainable Homes

A 1980s Bushland Home Built Entirely From Recycled Materials

A mudbrick home in Healesville, Victoria handmade by the owners using salvaged materials.
Amelia Barnes
  17 hours ago

Architecture

An Architect + Interior Designer’s Coastal Home, Grounded In Nature

This Sydney family home is like a private treehouse by the beach, with views at every turn, and unexpected interiors.
Christina Karras

Shopping

Bonnie & Neil's Sunny New Collection Is Inspired By Mediterranean Beach Clubs

Bonnie & Neil are bringing the colours of the Italian coast and Grecian-style prints to our home with their new summer collection!
Christina Karras

Homes

A Glamorous Update For An Exemplary Ernest Fooks Mid-Century Home

Modernist architect Ernest Fooks designed some of Melbourne’s outstanding mid-century properties, including the 1960s home of Ilana Moses

Creative People

Meet The Small Melbourne Brand Reinventing The Humble Gumboot

From a humble farm in South Gippsland, Merry People has grown from a grassroots start-up, to a successful brand sold across the globe!
Christina Karras

Architecture

A Renovated Fitzroy Home, Inspired By The Candied Colours Of Italian Dessert

This Edwardian brings a delectable taste of Italy to Melbourne with its stained-glass windows and peachy pink interiors!
Christina Karras

Design Eye

Balancing Form + Function In Garden Design, With Peachy Green’s Frances Hale

Landscape designer Frances Hale of Peachy Green shares how outdoor furniture can turn garden spaces into useable living areas, immersed in g...
Christina Karras

News

A Summery New Collection By Australia’s Oldest Textile Mill

Shop Waverly Mills’ beautiful new range of blankets, rugs, and throws, with all fabrics made at their century-old factory!
Christina Karras

Similar Stories

Studio Visit

The Brisbane Design Duo With A Human-Centred Approach

Introducing Surroundings, Brisbane's specialist consultancy championing human-centred design.
Jo Hoban

Studio Visit

The Brisbane Design Duo With A Human-Centred Approach

Introducing Surroundings, Brisbane's specialist consultancy championing human-centred design.
Jo Hoban

Studio Visit

The Brisbane Design Duo With A Human-Centred Approach

Introducing Surroundings, Brisbane's specialist consultancy that's championing human-centred design and getting us all thinking!
Jo Hoban

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net