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Empowering people with PowerMe

The future of outdoor public spaces is PowerMeOctober 2017

We have been busy working with Street Furniture Australia to design and develop PowerMe, a new charging table for public spaces. PowerMe provides a place to charge your mobile devices when you are out and about helping to empower users to never be without battery again. For more information on PowerMe visit:

We are very excited that prototypes of PowerMe will be on display as part of Future Street, part of the Festival of Landscape Architecture on in Sydney from 12 – 14 October.

Future Street is being built by the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA), Internet of Things Alliance Australia (IOTAA) and Smart Cities Council Australia New Zealand (SCCANZ) at Circular Quay on Alfred Street, in front of Customs House. So if you are in the city, take a look at what the future streetscapes of our cities might look like.

Sydney Indesign 2017

Exploring Alexandria at SID17 – August 2017

Sydney Indesign (SID) was on again and Dorte headed over to Alexandria to experience the latest design trends. The area was bursting with activity from the hub that is the Grounds of Alexandria to the open studios and showrooms of SID17.

One of the overarching trends across the 30+ exhibitors was an emphasis on quality and simplicity paired with a focus on tactile natural materials and finishes such as timber, brass and leather. These were exemplified by products such as the Pieman Chair (Tom Fereday for Dessin), the Halm chair ( jehs+laub for Brunner) and Tala Voronoi pendant lights (Tala). There was also a continued trend towards modularity and customisation of corporate spaces through configurable furniture systems such as Schiavello’s new Toku collection designed by Gavin Harris.

There was also a great sense of fun with collaborative “projects” offering interactive, engaging and immersive experiences. Two of my favourite experiences were The Tunnel of Light and the Mafi Ski and Health Chalet. The Tunnel of Light, a collaboration between Acme&Co and LightCo, led people through a “tunnel” panelled with mirrored floors and ceiling and walls that pulsed with strips and patterns of moving, colour changing lights. The experience made it challenging to know which way was up or down while the moving choreography of lights were quite hypnotising. In contrast, Mafi + Kebonny by WOODOS in collaboration with Billy Blue Design School, converted a showroom into an Austrian ski chalet complete with massage therapists to relieve your aching muscles after a day’s skiing (or pavement pounding in my case), signature scented wood panelling and tasty Austrian fare. A feast for all the senses and great way to entice travellers to stop and stay awhile.

It was clearly evident that more than ever brands recognise that their products do not exist in isolation but form part of a larger ecosystem and that to be successful, they must contribute something unique and human to their environment.

Here are a few pictures from the day – enjoy!

Clockwise from top left: Tunnel of Light installation at LightCo, The Grounds of Alexandria, Tala Voronoi pendant lights, Pieman Chair by Tom Fereday.

Workshopped 2017

Workshopped Opening Night – August 2017

Left: AM24 chair by Robin Keussen; Right: Korus lamp by Liljana Ristovski, Rebel Futurism Pendent by Dean Toepfer Rebel.

Dorte recently attended the VIP Opening Night of Workshopped 17 at the Supa Centa Moore Park Sydney. Now in its 17th year, Workshopped provides local designers with a platform to present their designs to both local and international markets.

This year there were 55 designs including furniture, lighting and homeware designs. The theme for this year’s exhibition was "Does your design demand attention and is fit for purpose?" One entry that stood out was the AM24 chair designed by Robin Keussen. This dining style chair marries the warmth of felted textile upholstery with the strength of Tasmanian Oak legs. The joinery details are well considered and the brass spacers add a touch of elegance. A unique internal frame and webbing structure means that there is no upper backrest edge making the chair really comfortable to sit in. This is one chair that we hope makes it from prototype to production and into the market place!

The Workshopped exhibition is on until 27th August so be sure to check it out!

Where are the women?

Women in Design Event – May 2017

Speakers at this year’s Women in Design event from left to right: Cathy Lockhardt (UTS), Sabina Popin (Meld Studios), Tanya Rechberger (King Living), Jemima Woo (NSW State Library / Woo ceramics) and Sarah Gibson (DesignByThem)

Dorte attended this year’s Women in Design event presented by the University of Technology (UTS) in conjunction with the NSW Design Institute of Australia and hosted by DesignByThem in their Chippendale showroom. This annual event provides a relaxed opportunity for women with foundations in industrial design to celebrate and share their career journey, experiences and insights into the contemporary practice of industrial design.

This year’s speakers were Cathy Lockhardt (UTS), Sarah Gibson (DesignByThem), Sabina Popin (Meld Studios), Tanya Rechberger (King Living) and Jemima Woo (State Library of NSW / Woo Ceramics). The women shared a variety of perspectives and experiences spanning service design, furniture design, exhibition design and design education. While the sectors in which they practiced may have differed, the take home messages were all very similar. Here are a few of our favourites:

  • You often learn more from your failures than your successes and sometimes what feels like failure (missing out on a job or getting fired) opens the door to bigger and better things.
  • Embrace every opportunity, try new things and experiment with design until you find where your natural interests and skills find the best fit.
  • Make things! Designers are creative people and we need to stay true to ourselves and keep the passion alive. So do what inspires you – paint, sculpt, sew…
  • Persevere – realising creativity is mostly about perseverance!
  • To get the best design outcomes we need to connect with others (colleagues, users, dissenters), collaborate and share ideas and information.
  • And finally, remember to say thank-you to your supporters (financial, press, private) and manufacturing partners. A little recognition goes a long way!

The evening certainly reaffirmed what a diverse discipline industrial design is and what amazing projects we have the opportunity to be part of. We look forward to further connecting with, collaborating and sharing experiences with our design colleagues.

CSIRO – AIP Industry Day

csiro-aip-logoCSIRO –  AIP Industry DayDecember 2016

For many years now the CSIRO in association with the Australian Institute of Physics (AIP) hold an annual industry day mid-November. The day, which is run as a series of presentations by leading industry figures and includes short tours of the CSIRO, always presents something of interest. The theme of the day varies from year to year and in the past themes have included Advances in Aviation and Aerospace, Medical Device Development, Utilising Design and Development Processes, Advanced Materials and Additive Manufacturing Technologies to name just a few. Scintilla director, Ian Johnson, is a regular attendee at the industry day and believes that as designers involved in the creation of innovation it is important to have exposure to as many industry perspectives as possible. This allows broader and more considered thinking which is applied to our client’s endeavours.

The theme of the 2016 Industry day was Exploring the Lifecycle of Tech Startups. With over 250 attendees, the day, which was run by the ever capable Dr Scott Martin GAICD FAIP, explored a number of tech startups associated with the CSIRO’s collaboration hub, as well contributions from external companies, consultants and industry advisors.

We heard about the technical and commercial challenges from speakers who are developing new technology startups involved in the early stage concept to established companies who have already developed high tech products to entrepreneurs and technical and innovation consultants. The day provided a number of viewpoints and highlighted the challenges that new companies as well as established ones face.

A key part of the day are the tours of the CSIRO Lindfield site. Here, taken over the BBQ lunch break the tours include the innovation hub, laboratories and other scientific infrastructure.

Overall the day provides an opportunity to meet people who are at the cutting edge of technology, science and share a passion for developing innovation.

DMI Design Management Leadership Conference

Connecting with leading design management professionalsOctober 2016

DMI Design Management Leadership conference Boston 2016

DMI Design Management Leadership conference, Boston, September 25-27, 2016

We recently attended the 41st annual Design Management Leadership conference run by the Design Management Institute in Boston. Attended by over 150 leading practitioners in the field of strategic design and design management, the two and a half day conference covered topic areas such as overcoming cultural barriers to innovation, connecting global teams and organisational design to facilitate design-led thinking.

The conference included seminars as well as a number of interactive sessions where attendees shared experiences and insights from across industry sectors to resolve challenges posted by the interactive session facilitator.

The stand out keynote address was delivered by one of the world’s leading experts on strategy and innovation, Vijay Govindarajan, Coxe Distinguished Professor, Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business. Vijay presented key messages from his recent book “The Three Box Solution”. In his book, Vijay outlines methodologies which allow organisations to manage their energy, time and resources across “3 boxes” or time horizons which will lead to increased innovation and cultural gains across the organisation. The themes and practical examples discussed resonated with not only with ourselves but also with our fellow conference attendees and generated much active discussion. We will provide more information on this book soon, so please stay tuned!

Design as Strategy Forum 2016

Design as a catalyst for change – September 2016

Profession Ian Harper, Senior Advisor, Deloitte Access Economics, Ali Grehan, Dublin City Architect and Forum Chair, Maureen Thurston, Good Design Australia at the Design as Strategy Forum 2016

Profession Ian Harper, Senior Advisor, Deloitte Access Economics, Ali Grehan, Dublin City Architect and Forum Chair, Maureen Thurston, Good Design Australia at the Design as Strategy Forum 2016

Dorte attended the Design as Strategy Forum 2016 run by Good Design Australia. The event was held at the UTS Business School in the inspirational Frank Gehry designed Dr Chau Chak Wing Building. The Forum brought together representatives from a broad range of industry sectors including marketing, law, accounting, financial services, insurance, education, government, and design to explore the nexus between commerce, creativity and culture and how design is being used as a catalyst for change.

The Forum presented a diverse and inspiring array of speakers talking about how they are using design thinking to affect change within their organisations. While there were many fantastic talks, two stood out. Ali Grehan, Dublin City Architect, spoke about the power of design to unite people around a common theme of place through storytelling, creativity and optimism. Ali reminded us that “vision costs nothing” and that design must “dare to be different” to truly inspire people and ultimately to succeed.

Wing Commander Jerome Reid and Dr Sam Bucolo, Professor of Design Innovation at UTS, spoke about how the Royal Australian Air Force is using design thinking to re-design their procurement process to better respond to an increasingly unpredictable and complex environment. At the core of their process was involving all stakeholders in open conversations up front to share real insights from customers about challenges and issues with existing equipment. Using the core design principles of empathy and placing the user at the centre of the process, they have a developed a clear vision of what is required and where they are headed longer term. As a result, they have drastically reduced lead times, minimised the likelihood of early obsolescence and are in the process of understanding implications for their future workforce capability.

The forum clearly demonstrated that the principles of design thinking are being successfully applied across public and private sectors to drive change and improve business outcomes. When applied strategically, design can reap great rewards – it can co-create visions that inspire and unite people, it can help drive innovation and productivity, and it can deliver significant time and cost savings.

In search of new inspiration…

Exploring Sydney – August 2016

Exploring Sydney: The Goods Line and Frank Gehry designed building; inside the Opera House; Dorte and Ian on the Goods Line.

Clockwise from left: The Goods Line and Frank Gehry designed UTS Business School; inside the Opera House; Dorte and Ian on the Goods Line.

The Scintilla Team recently took a day out to explore our beautiful city, recharge our creative juices and find inspiration in uncommon places. As design professionals we draw inspiration from many different disciplines and create links between seemingly disparate ideas. We believe it is essential for designers to regularly change their perspectives and to have a little fun along the way!

Our explorations included a tour of the Sydney Opera House where we viewed this remarkable building from fresh perspectives and marveled at the attention to detail across every facet of its design. We were surprised to learn that the design we see today was not originally included in the short list of finalists. It took the vision and understanding of a designer, Aero Saarinen, a latecomer to the judging panel, to convince the panel of the value, beauty and grandeur of the design. Thank you Mr Saarinen for your vision, for who could imagine Sydney without the Opera House?

We wandered along the new Goods Line, an urban revitalisation and place making initiative linking Central Station to Darling Harbour. The route led us past the inspirational Frank Gehry designed Dr Chau Chak Wing Building of the UTS Business School. The Goods Line is an example of how user-centric design thinking has transformed a disused rail yard into a vibrant and dynamic public space.

Our day’s wanderings proved to be not only inspiring, but also a powerful reminder of the importance of having a vision and putting the user at the centre of design in order to deliver exceptional design outcomes.

Scintilla attends Milano Design Week

Scintilla attends Milano Design Week – April 2016

Dorte recently attended the Milano Design Week which included the Salone del Mobile (55th International Furniture Fair), 21st Triennale International Exhibition Milan as well as many satellite exhibitions throughout the city of Milan. While there was the usual array of new product launches, what was more interesting was the active marketing of design philosophies, ways of thinking and approaches to innovation by many major global brands including Toyota, Lexus and Citizen watches. Toyota presented a wooden concept car that asked the audience to consider the car not as a commodity, but as an heirloom piece that is handed down from one generation to the next, with each scratch a part of the car’s individual history. Citizen watches explored the relativity of time as experienced by people of different ages, on different planets within our solar system and so on, all bounded by a galaxy of watch mechanisms (and a display of their products through time).

Also of interest were the many satellite exhibitions hosted in various design districts across the city that presented the works of emerging designers as well as new innovations and applications of materials, finishes and manufacturing processes. The Italian furniture design house Kartell, focused on promoting their partnerships with leading design professionals and their continued innovation in plastics manufacturing technology in order to realise many of their designs. The recently launched Piuma chair designed by Piero Lissoni weighs only 2.2kg and is only 2mm thick. Kartell took 3 years to realise the design due to the application of carbon fiber plastics molding technology formerly only used in the automotive and aeronautical industries.

Attending international events such as Milano Design Week, enables Scintilla to keep abreast of global design trends and innovations in materials and manufacturing. We look forward to applying our learnings when next working with our clients to better realise their vision


Doing things differently

Doing things differentlyMarch 2016

Dorte was one of 19 female graduates interviewed by Cathy Lockhart, lecturer in Design at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), as part of her PhD thesis: Where are the women? Women industrial designers from university to workplace. Cathy was recently interviewed by the International Council of Societies in Industrial design (ICSID) about her PhD research findings. Cathy found that while women designers were not achieving the public recognition of their male counterparts through formal design award programs, they were still out there practicing design.

"Millennials are having to be more entrepreneurial, and the women are designing, but they're actually doing it for themselves. So they might work for someone else for a couple of years and then they're setting up their own businesses. They're doing things differently, and it's just not in that peer-reviewed environment. It doesn't get that public recognition in the same way, and doesn't necessarily have the backing of a design awards, and the media coverage that goes with it," Cathy explains.

As part of her research into women industrial designers, Cathy also curated an exhibition in 2014 entitled “Where are the Women?”. Dorte was invited to participate in the exhibition and a sample of Dorte’s work is included in the article. To read the full article, visit: