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And Winners Of The TDF Design Awards Are...

TDF Design Awards

Our inaugural TDF Design Awards came to a final hurrah last night – and between champagne and cheese – we celebrated all of the finalists, and awarded the winners with their incredible glass trophies create by Amanda Dziedzic (read more about them here!).

Before you read on to discover the winners, we would like to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who entered, our 31 brilliant judges, and our sponsors Miele, Mercedes me, Cult, Eco Outdoor,  Jansz Tasmania, Brickworks, Phoenix, Nau, and Interflora. Phew… and without further ado, the winners are….


20th September, 2019


Vokes & Peters, Subiaco House. Photo – Christopher Frederick Jones

Lucy Feagins
Friday 20th September 2019

‘Fastidious detailing that celebrates the architect, while connecting and engaging with the streetscape’ – Albert Mo, Judge.

Winner: Residential Architecture
Vokes & Peters, Subiaco House

Located in a leafy Perth suburb, Vokes and Peters’ winning project is a home that blends indoor and outdoor, offering both privacy for the residents, and connection to the community.

A series of discrete, interconnected rooms are arranged around a central courtyard, elegantly balancing private outdoor space with a connection to the street.

Local planning controls (and neighbourhood conventions) preferenced a single storey design, which presented a challenge to the architects, as the concept was to prioritise private open space at ground level. Through inventive design measures, the architects used terracotta roof tiles to shroud the upper storey of the building, resulting in an appearance that was consistent with the neighbours.

The architects explain that while the appearance of the home is relatively understated, ‘the site planning is a radical departure from the established norms of the area’. This subtly rebellious design provides a secret garden for the residents, as well as an unexpected layout, where the kitchen is placed on the edge of the public footpath. The interplay between private and public provides unconventional moments of connection and engagement with the neighbourhood.


Matt Woods Design, Perfect Storm. Photo – Kat Lu. Styling – Madeline Mcfarlane.


‘A perfect inner-city escape’ – David Flack, Judge.

Winner: Interior Design
Matt Woods, Perfect Storm

Known as ‘the concrete bunker’ for its use of rendered finishes and rejection of ornamentation this sleek Camperdown apartment is both luxe and surprisingly utilitarian.

Matt Woods redesigned the inner-city warehouse for a couple seeking a minimalist lifestyle, with an interior to match. Distancing itself from the classic ‘Sydney’ converted warehouse aesthetic, Perfect Storm is a unique design concept that strips the space back to its bare essentials.

The space comprises a custom kitchen and a mezzanine bedroom, overlooking the living room space and a small terrace. Taking inspiration from Brutalist architecture, the backbone of this concept was to create a space that was completely free of clutter and unnecessary decoration.

The streamlined space also celebrates the neighbourhood’s industrial heritage in its pared back, geometric interior.  The mood is intentionally dark and brooding, balanced by ample natural light.


Clapham Landscape Architecture, The Enchanted Garden. Photo – Alex Reinders.

‘A sophisticated and elegant response to site and client’ – Georgina Reid, Judge.

Winner: Landscape Architecture
Clapham Landscape Architecture, The Enchanted Garden 

The brief for this project by Clapham Landscape Architecture was to provide an entry garden to gently invite visitors into the new display building for the Yarra Bend development in Alphington.

The concept was to create a vibrant, welcoming and sustainable precinct that communicates the layered heritage of the site, and fosters an exciting space for diverse communities to live and visit.

The design of the garden is informed by the surrounding bushland corridor, the flowing Yarra River, and local engagement with the walking and bicycle paths that weave through the landscape. The running water course in the garden echoes the Yarra, while the vertical elements are clad in reflective polished aluminum.

While the garden takes many cues from the surrounding natural landscape, the designers have also introduced many contemporary elements to highlight the modern intents of the Yarra Bend development. The trees are all planted in a grid pattern, amidst a material palette of polished aluminium, concrete and rough cut porphyry stone.

The landscape designers have also introduced a soundscape, that plays the sounds of local fauna activities recorded along the local river banks. This layering of frogs, insects and birds have welcomed local birdlife to the garden.


Zachary Hanna, Trapeze. Photo –  Sarah Spilsbury.

‘A great honouring of classic lighting designs from the 20th century, reimagined with a smart use of technology and a high regard of sensibility of the user experience’ – Christopher Boots, Judge.

Winner: Lighting Design
Zachary Hanna, Trapeze Lamp 

Trapeze by Zacahry Hanna is a multifunctional, suspended lighting piece able to function as both a sconce or a pendant. The creation of Trapeze was driven by experiments into mechanics and physics.

The piece consists of two mounting plates, between which two wires are slung and stretched apart to mount the central lighting tube. It is primarily designed to be secured between two perpendicular surfaces in a corner between walls and ceilings or floors, although Trapeze can also be stretched between two parallel surfaces such as a hallway, or suspended from the ceiling as a pendant.

The central light in Trapeze is designed to be manually rotated to change intensity and direction as desired. It can be pointed into a room to provide direct illumination, or towards another surface to create a softer ambience. The minimal, utilitarian form is deliberate as to showcase the surrounding environment rather than drawing attention to itself.

Our judges were impressed with the simple elements utilised by Zachary Hanna to create a clever, timeless and original piece honouring classic 20th-century designs.


Koskela, LEARN. Photo – Courtesy of Koskela.

‘The design is well thought through and the commitment to engaging children’s needs in schools is clearly evident’ – Grazia Materia, Judge.

Winner: Furniture Design
Koskela, Learn

LEARN by Koskela is a new concept in primary classroom furniture that helps to create an interactive environment for learning for both students and educators.

Over 12 months, the team at Koskela developed a range of easily adaptable, multi-use furniture for primary education classrooms, with high environmental and ergonomic performance. This collection is designed for both newly designed classrooms, and for established school environments that are unable to be upgraded.

The range is comprised of three key components – desk, screens, ottomans – that can be configured in multiple ways to create spaces for collaboration, presentations, student break out and reflection. Each piece is lightweight and well-proportioned, making them easy to shift in a flexible teaching environment.

One per cent of all sales of the Koskela LEARN range will go towards developing social enterprise products with Australian Indigenous communities.


Georgina Whigham, Woven Bag Series. Photo – Victoria Zschommler. Styling – Nat Turnbull. 

‘Stunning colour palette and it’s so wonderful to see something completely handmade using traditional techniques’ – Bonnie Ashley, Judge.

Winner: Textile Design 
Georgina Whigham, Woven Bag Series

These handwoven linen and cotton bags counteract the mass-produced, monotonous and disposable nature of traditional shopping bags.

Each bag is crafted in Canberra on a four-shaft floor loom with yarn sourced from a family-run Canadian mill. In order to produce as little waste as possible, the textile dimension is first meticulously calculated, right down to the width of the thread count and length required. The bags are then woven in one continuous piece before being folded like origami into their final form. This entire production process takes around eight hours.

These bags are produced under the label name George, the brainchild of Georgina Whigham, an exhibition designer at the National Gallery of Australia. After studying a Bachelor of Industrial Design, Georgina was accepted into Kawashima Textiles School in Kyoto for a three-month intensive course. It was here she learned traditional and ancient Japanese dyeing techniques as well as how to weave on a six-shaft floor loom.

By applying the ancient craft of handweaving, Georgina aims to restore people’s appreciation and perception of this everyday product. Each bag is created with longeivity in mind, utilising craftmanship quality that encourages being valued and cherished.


Melanie Stapleton & Katie Marks, Flowering Now. Photo – Cassandra Tzortzoglou.

‘Bringing together the floral community’  – Cherrie Miriklis-Pavlou, Judge.

Winner: Floral Design 
Melanie Stapleton + Katie Marx, Flowering Now

Flowering Now was an ephemeral exhibition of innovative and abundant floral installations from 13 Melbourne florists. A personal project initiated by Melanie Stapleton of Cecilia Fox and Katie Marx, the collective show explored the interplay of transience and longevity – radiant blooms were celebrated alongside the process of gentle decay.

This collaborative project brought together Melbourne’s flower community to come together to explore their practice, sharing a love of nature in ways that defy traditional understandings of floristry, and create a space for local florists to experiment with original ideas free from commercial demands.

Each florist created a self-funded work of scale in their own style, creating a symphony of colours, textures and design in the shared space. Many of the florists chose to work primarily with local product, and to exclude floral foam and any other plastics in their work.

The first event of its kind in Melbourne, the immersive exhibition took place over a weekend in April of 2018 at the Collingwood Arts Precinct and was open for members of the public to enjoy.


Tyrone ‘Rone’ Wright & Carly Spooner, RONE Empire. Photo – Tyrone Wright. Styling – Carly Spooner.

‘Atmospheric styling at its best’ – Megan Morton, Judge.

Winner: Styling & Art Direction 
Tyrone Wright & Carly Spooner, RONE Empire

Empire is a self-funded project initiated by Tyrone Wright, where the Melbourne artist’s engrossing murals combine with awe-inspiring sets, sculptures, cinematic lighting, scent design, augmented reality, and a thrilling soundtrack at one of Melbourne’s most iconic Art Deco mansions. 

The installation transports audiences back to the glamorous heyday of the 1930s property. The whole experience combines beauty with decay, and plays with the juxtaposition of collapsed empire and a romantic past. 

 The Burnham Beeches property takes on a film-set like quality, as interior stylist Carly Spooner furnished and styled fourteen of the estate’s empty spaces to create a distinct series of moods as visits travelled from room to room.

Over a seven-week period, over 26,000 people visited this mind-blowing and immersive spectacle. 


Nicolette Johnson, Dark Tower. Photo – Nicolette Johnson.

‘A wonderful sense of ancient antiquity, yet futuristic and dreamy’ – Louise Olsen, Judge.

Winner: Handcrafted
Nicolette Johnson, Dark Tower

Dark Tower by ceramic artist Nicolette Johnson was designed to feel commanding and sculptural, while continuing to perform its essential functional purpose as a vessel.

The preliminary sketches were designed to possess the classic characteristics of a vase – an open form, enveloping an empty void inside. They also capture a simultaneous sense of past and present, where antiquity and modernity mingle to create an object at once ancient, mythic, surreal and futuristic.

The coiled stoneware vessel is made of two separate parts: an hourglass and an ovoid shape, joined together to create a single totem-like form. The intricate piece is finished with a metallic black oxide glaze. 

The arresting form of the work is created by Nicolette Johnson’s application of over 1000 spherical protrusions, all sculpted by hand and applied to the surface of the pot one-by-one. A modern realisation of the tradition of decorative pottery practice.

Nicolette Johnson is represented by Sophie Gannon Gallery.


Seljak Brand, Closed Loop Merino Blanket. Photo – Jorge Serra

‘Incredible level of commitment to the production of a sustainable product’ – Jeremy McLeod, Judge.

Winner: Sustainable Design
Seljak Brand, Closed Loop Merino Wool Blanket

Seljak Brand’s closed loop, merino wool blankets are recyclable and made from off-cut materials otherwise bound for landfill.

The blankets are created with the intent of using waste as a resource, thereby eliminating landfill and the extraction of new resources to reduce carbon emissions two-fold.

Each blanket is crafted using a centuries-old process at Tasmania’s Waverley Mills, Australia’s oldest and last fully-integrated wool mill. The production process utilises offcuts from the factory floor, which are shredded, spun into new yarn, then woven into beautiful finished products.

Every blanket is made from 70 per cent recycled merino wool and 30 per cent recycled mohair, cashmere, cotton and polyester blend for strength. For every 10 blankets sold, one is donated to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.

Seljak Brand was founded by sisters Karina and Sam Seljak in 2016. By pioneering a closed loop production cycle, the label highlights waste as a design flaw that can be overcome.


Edition Office, LEFT: Hawthorn House. Photo – Ben Hosking. RIGHT & BANNER: For Our Country’ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander War Memorial. Photo – Erin Vink.

‘A distinct approach and flawless execution’ – Lucy Feagins, Judge.

Winner: Emerging Designer
Edition Office, Architecture 

Founded in 2016 by architects Aaron Roberts and Kim Brigland, Edition Office has quickly cemented itself as one of Australia’s most dynamic new design studios.

Approaching their work from a holistic perspective, Aaron and Kim have a keen interest in both the cultural narratives of architecture alongside its experiential qualities.

In their short time the firm has worked across an impressive breadth of projects, including single residential houses in both urban and remote locations, medium density housing projects, design studios, offices, art galleries, artist studios and archives including seminal institutions Station Gallery, Gertrude Contemporary and ArtBank, and recently the ‘For Our Country’ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island war memorial in collaboration with artist Daniel Boyd.

Their award-winning residential project ‘Hawthorn House’ completed in 2018 has received widespread critical acclaim, with accolades from some of the most prestigious awards programs across the country.


Tyrone ‘Rone’ Wright & Carly Spooner, RONE Empire. Photo – Tyrone Wright. Styling – Carly Spooner.

‘A truly once in a generation experience’ – Jeremy Wortsman, Judge.

Winner: Collaboration
Tyrone Wright and Carly Spooner, RONE Empire. 

Initiated by artist Tyrone Wright, Empire is a temporary, self-funded project bringing together multiple creative collaborators, to realise one impossibly ambitious immersive installation.

In a careful balance of beauty and decay, the iconic Burnham Beeches property was reimagined as a grand, crumbling relic of an abandoned empire.

The heritage 193s mansion was brought to life with Tyrone’s distinctive handpainted murals, alongside furnishings and decorative details sourced by stylist Carly Spooner, installations by Loose Leaf, bespoke scent by Kat Snowden, multi-channel sound design by Nick Batterham, and art by Callum Preston. A remarkable and visionary collaboration of epic proportions.

A huge thankyou to everyone who has supported the inaugural TDF Design Awards. For the full list of all winners and commendations, visit the TDF Awards website!

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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