Design Excellence

Improving outcomes and nurturing design culture in the Adelaide Studio

The Adelaide Design Excellence working group are sitting around a work table with yellow trace sheets pinned up behind working together on a project review. The project is on a screen above on the wall and team members are joining the meeting via a zoom call.
The Design Excellence Working Group

In early 2021, we identified opportunities to develop our project planning and design processes in the Adelaide studio. As a result, our Design Excellence Working Group was established to support design thinking in every aspect of what we do as architects and interior designers.

Our goal is to nurture a collaborative approach that enhances quality and consistency in our design methodology. We foster a design language that generates discussion about the wider context of the site, location, and the people that occupy the spaces we design. The Design Excellence Working Group reviews and champions our studio design objectives, including our design identity and the core principles of design in the Adelaide-based practice. Understanding the principles of how and why we design enables our teams to identify project opportunities, develop a strong narrative, and create clear touch points for project review in the early design stages through Project Design Workshops.

Sonya Montgomerie, DesignInc Adelaide's Associate Director, is working on a plan with the Design Excellence Working Group.
Sonya Montgomerie, Associate Director, DesignInc Adelaide

The benefits of our Design Excellence Working Group are two-fold; improving design outcomes through project workshops and nurturing our design culture through a shared language and vision within the studio. This process brings everyone together, deepens our relationships with each other and enhances our collaborative culture.

Sonya Montgomerie
Associate Director, DesignInc Adelaide

The Design Excellence Working Group manages several studio initiatives: 

  • Project Design Workshops invite subject matter experts to review and provide their expertise to our project teams as they progress through the early design phases of projects;
  • Friday Design Conversation Starter introduces a design theme and a presentation of exemplary design responses to rotate on a screen during our weekly social Friday night drinks to stimulate informal design discussion; 
  • A monthly ‘What’s On’ email provides our team with a summary of art, design and cultural events happening in Adelaide during that month for inspiration; 
  • Iconography is a library of visual assets that help teams communicate the design principles with clients and maintain the integrity of those throughout the design journey from concept to completion;
  • Sharing the design process of current projects in smaller group huddles through the use of animations and fly-throughs; 
  • Explore and develop our Practice Principles which include overarching design objectives that form the basis of our designs and our design identity as a practice.

On the second anniversary of the formation of the group, we can see the benefits in higher quality design outcomes, a shared language, and increased communication and collaboration within the studio and project teams. 

Natalie DiSisto, DesignInc Adelaide Architect points to a layout plan of a building on the screen.
Natalie Di Sisto, Architect, DesignInc Adelaide

In the Design Excellence Working Group we’re fostering good design in all of our projects, big and small. It’s working really well to establish a good design foundation that meets the client’s needs, the project‘s needs and meets the needs of the users to create beautifully designed and functional spaces.’

Natalie Di Sisto
Architect, DesignInc Adelaide