TDF Design Awards

These Emerging Creatives Are The Future Of Australian Design

There’s nothing The Design Files does better than find promising new up-and-comers in the world of design, if we do say ourselves! But the finalists in the Emerging Designer category of the TDF + Laminex Design Awards 2021 are a cut above the rest.

From furniture makers and fashion designers to blossoming architecture practices, these ten talented finalists represent the future of our national design industry. This category is presented by Phoenix Tapware.

Sasha Aarons

Wiesebrock Architecture consists of just Richard Wiesebrock who approaches his custom residential projects with a collaborative method. Photo – Ben Hosking. Styling – Wiesebrock Architecture

DREAMER is a small Melbourne-based practice that has pledged to never exceed 100 projects. Photos – Rory Gardiner. Styling – Dreamer Lab.

Wiesebrock Architecture

Helmed by architect Richard Wiesebrock, Wiesebrock Architecture is a one-man firm. His experience across residential, hospitality and commercial projects lends him a unique lens when working closely on custom houses for boutique clients. A love for all facets of design pervades his collaborative approach to architecture.


DREAMER is rooted in human-centred design and biophilic principles, paying careful attention to the environment, waste and longevity of each element. Having pledged to never exceed 100 projects, this small Melbourne-based architecture and interiors firm is dedicated to the advancement of ethical design practices.

Jessie French’s seaweed-based bioplastics, developed through her studio Other Matter. Left: Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Right: Photo – Pier Carthew. Art Director – Thalia Economo.

Dinzi Amobi’s fashion and homewares brand Ulo Australia utilises wax fabrics sourced from markets across Tanzania, Ghana and Nigeria. Photo – courtesy of Ulo Australia.

Other Matter

As part of her vision for a post-petrochemical future, artist Jessie French developed her own recipes for algae-based bioplastics. She moulds this new material into fully compostible, aesthetically refined tablewware.

She founded her experimental studio Other Matter to consult on collaborative design and art projects with other  creatives and businesses.

Ulo Australia

Dinzi Amobi left behind her successful career as a lawyer to pursue her creative dream: making homewares and fashion from vibrant wax fabrics sourced from markets in Tanzania, Nigeria and Ghana. From her studio store in Abbotsford Convent, she sells pieces handmade from these textiles under her label Ulo Australia.

Dinzi’s work celebrates the colour and culture of her heritage.

Curious Practice is an architecture firm based in Newcastle, NSW. Photo – Kat Lu.

Curious Practice

Architecture studio Curious Practice was established in 2017 with a desire to bring high quality design outcomes to the Newcastle region. Founders Warren Haasnoot and Greg Lee hire graduates from the Univeristy of Newcastle in order to ensure great connection to the community and culture of the local area.

A careful and conscious material expression typifies their environment-conscious projects.

Jack and Mark Fearon design and handweld their powder-coated aluminium furniture from their workshop in Burleigh Heads. Photo – Sarah Darling

Tsai Design aims to destigmatise residential architecture as a lofty, elitist and expensive service by designing small-scale and modest budget projects. Photo – Tess Kelly.

Brothers Fearon Fabrication

Brothers Jack and Mark Fearon drew on their plumbing and boilermaker training to found their steel fabrication company, Brothers Fearon Fabrication. They produce the ‘Bread with Butter’ collection – a series of powder-coated aluminium furniture handwelded by the pair in Burleigh Heads and retailed through Curated Spaces.

Despite perfectly contemporary curves and aesthetically appropriate colour combos, neither Jack nor Mark’s design background involves formal training; instead, a natural eye for art, colour and form supplements their extensive trade careers.

Tsai Design

Led by architect Jack Chen, Tsai Design creates small-scale residential or modest budget projects. The firm is guided by a philosophy to de-stigmatise architecture as an inaccessible, expensive and elitist service by designing practical, efficient spaces.

Lauren Lea Haynes is a three-in-one design practice from a one-woman show. Photo – Jess Brohier.

Lauren Lea Haynes

Furniture designer and sculptor Lauren Lea Haynes founded her multi-disciplinary practice during Melbourne’s 2020 lockdowns. Her many-pronged studio produces timber, powder-coated steel and upholstered furniture as well as curvaceous limestone sculptures.

Lauren is a slow furniture practitioner.

Charlie White is a multidisciplinary designer engaged in architecture and industrial design. Photo – Charlie White.

Nicole Lawrence is a furniture, metal fabrication and lighting studio. Photo – Nicholas Wilkins.

Charlie White

Charlie White is a multidisciplinary designer engaged in architecture practice and industrial design. Characterised by an aesthetic of sombre, gothic plasticity, his seductive and expressive works made from found materials freely traverse the boundary between art and functionality.

His project for Melbourne Design Week 2021 saw furniture pieces constructed from 13 discarded mattresses soaked in concrete.

Nicole Lawrence Studio

Working with a manufacturing-led design approach, Nicole Lawrence is a furniture, metal fabrication and lighting studio. She manufactures her own in-house collections of furniture and lighting, as well as providing design and production services for local brands and studios.

The Design Files + Laminex Design Awards 2021 Emerging Designer award is presented by Phoenix Tapware.

Inspired by innovation and passionate about design, Phoenix Tapware is a market leading pioneer in Australia and New Zealand’s bathroom and kitchen industry. With a range of internationally award-winning tapware, accessories and shower products, Phoenix proudly celebrates a ground-breaking reputation for design, quality and customer service.

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