Judging the KBDi Designer Awards is no mean feat; the process begins with an intensive critique of every individual entry, where each entrant’s work is assessed against a comprehensive judging criteria. Based on this assessment, entries are allocated a final number of points, and it’s this ‘score’ that deems the entrants to be finalists or otherwise.
Following this, all three judges are locked away for two days of face-to-face reviews, where each entry is revisited, analysed, admired and discussed. Sometimes the winning entry stands out by a mile, but often there is much deliberation between several contenders.
To get through the above, judges need a genuine passion for the industry, an eye for detail and flair and a great deal of experience in design. This year’s panel certainly ticked all of these boxes, and we introduce them here:
Michelle Burton CKD Au
Michelle has been on a self-described ‘design journey’ from a very young age. She began her interior design education at UCLA, and after moving to Australia, went on to complete her studies in Sydney. In her early professional career she worked with firms specialising in kitchen design, and was inspired to attain accreditation as a Certified Kitchen Designer. In 1998, Michelle established SMB Interior Design, and following a move to Port Macquarie, now enjoys working in a boutique design collective, ‘Designing Divas’.
Michelle has a number of accolades under her belt, including the Australasian Interior DesignEx Student of the Year and, more recently, the title of Australian Bathroom Designer of the Year. With this particular win, she was rewarded with a fabulous trip to Milan, and the great satisfaction knowing that her hard work had paid off!
We asked Michelle why she thinks design awards are important for designers and the industry as a whole, and she shared the following:
I have been a judge on awards, as well as being an entrant, finalist and winner. The amount of effort you put into the awards really does pay off. It makes you try harder as a designer – knowing a project you are proud of will be critiqued by your peers. Clients are as proud of you for being an entrant (that you thought their bathroom or kitchen was worthy of an award). Then if you are a finalist it’s further confirmation that you, as a designer, and your client were on the right path. Awards always bring enquiries. Usually from clients with a willingness to put design as the forefront of their mind. Designers who say they are “too busy” to enter awards may not be that busy in the future.
Royston has been in the industry for almost three decades, moving through various areas of design and construction and building a broad bank of knowledge.
As the first Australian to take home an International Design Award, Royston’s long been an advocate for quality award programs. When we asked Royston why he thinks awards are important, this is what he had to say:
When you are recognised by your peers, it is at a different level to those recognised by the public. The awards act as a motivation for improving your work and rising to the challenge.
Gavin Hepper CKD Au
Gavin has enjoyed over 25 years in the industry, with a rare combination of experience spanning both design and industry trade. As Creative Director at Concepts by Gavin Hepper, Gavin has been proud to be nominated as finalists in both the HIA and KBDI awards, and has gathered an impressive collection of accolades in both kitchen and bathrooms since 2009. His 2015 win in the KBDi & KBQ Peoples Choice Award was another great accomplishment, with well-deserved recognition from Australian consumers.
In his recent appointment as Chapter Chair of the KBDi NSW Chapter Committee, Gavin has demonstrated his commitment not just to design, but the industry as a whole. He is eager to encourage and support the k & b industry in this role, and relished the opportunity to judge this year’s Awards program.
Here is Gavin’s perspective about the value of industry awards:
Being a finalist or indeed winning an industry award, is a genuine acknowledgement and symbol of our skills, industry knowledge, professionalism , consumer trust, client confidence and overall honour excellent business results. This acknowledgement has a positive impact on the industry a source of encouragement for young designers and a continuous reflection of the hard work of established designers. It also provides peer recognition and can be the basis of many mentor relationships.
Keen to see this year’s finalists? You’ll find them here.
The KBDi Design Symposium is the perfect place to be inspired, and we’d love you to join us in Adelaide in September.
The generous support of our Sponsors has allowed us to offer great value packages for all Symposium participants (with an extra special price for all Members who entered this year’s Awards!).
Our two day program has been designed for designers, and includes the following sessions:
Keynote Presentation: Let’s Begin with the Why – a behavioural approach to success with Paul Herring
Seeing Green: incorporating living elements in your interiors
A guided tour of iconic designer Linda Jackson’s Utopia Collection (at the Gallery of SA)
Top of Mind Design: environmental neuroscience meets interior design
Health and Wellness in Interiors: designing interiors to support good health, wellness and a mindful way of life
Techno Retreats: the new Bathroom Bliss – how technology is changing Australian bathroom design
Design Styles & Styling Designs
We’ll be profiling each of our speakers and expanding on the content soon, but we’re sure the above will whet your appetite!
Your Symposium package also includes a ticket to our always-memorable black tie Gala event, where you’ll be wined, dined and entertained! Enjoy fine food, fabulous company and a front row seat to view the latest creations of Australia’s finest designers.
If you’re a KBDi Certified Designer (or have a current accreditation application awaiting approval), you won’t want to miss the Certified Designers Forum which will precede the Symposium either. More details will be released soon.
Key dates and locations are outlined here; be sure to check them before you book your flights.
Remember places on the Symposium are strictly limited, so we encourage you to register as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
We look forward to catching up with you in Adelaide!
KBDi Diamond Sponsors, Smeg, have been treating KBDi members to their renowned hospitality at a series of events over the last week.
Queensland Members enjoyed a fantastic evening at Smeg’s newly renovated Virginia showroom on 22 June. Guests enjoyed hearing the back story of the design-driven campaign behind the ‘Linear by Smeg’ collection, while tasting the fine fare prepared in the Smeg super kitchen! Members and Sponsors were happy to toast the Queensland finalists, too, with all but one being in the room.
Past winner Alysia Pekel shared her design inspiration with WA Members at Smeg’s Nedlands showroom on 27 June, before later lining up as a finalist in this year’s Awards program. She was joined by a couple of colleagues (well done, Western Cabinets), along with some new Perth designers and some well-loved Members. See the full list of WA Finalists here.
Victorian Members enjoyed a fantastic evening at Smeg’s impressive Collingwood Showroom on 29 June, where a long list of finalists were congratulated on their efforts. As the most enthusiastic chapter (based on the number of entries), they had plenty to party for. You’ll find the full list of finalists here.
A huge thanks to Smeg for their hospitality (once again), and big congrats to this year’s finalists.
Schweigen, market leader in silent rangehoods and leading kitchen appliance brand, has expanded its marketing department, welcoming a new marketing manager and digital marketing manager to its growing team.
An accomplished marketing and communications professional with more than two decades of experience, Patricia Russo will head up the marketing department and will be responsible for the strategic direction, brand development and end-to-end delivery of marketing and communication campaigns for Schweigen.
Jess Olorenshaw also joins the team as digital marketing manager. With more than a decade of international design experience, she has worked on a multitude of highly successful campaigns and digital strategies in a global capacity. She is charged with managing and implementing the brand’s digital marketing campaigns and overseeing SEO and email marketing design as well as managing the company’s website.
Anthony Fletcher, Managing Director, Schweigen, said a high priority objective is to bolster the marketing team and amplify the brand over the next few years. Enlisting a highly-skilled marketing team is an exciting step in that direction.
“We have established a strong reputation in the market place as an innovative company, providing premium, stylish and intelligent kitchen appliances suitable for every Australian household,” Mr Fletcher said. “We are leaders in silent rangehood solutions and kitchen innovation, and we’re set to take the brand to the next level.”
“Patricia brings a wealth of B2B and B2C marketing knowledge from her experience across the globe. Having repositioned corporate brands and worked on global rebrand projects across a variety of industries as well as set up businesses and lead international project teams, she is well-versed in all facets of marketing, communication, branding and business development, using traditional and digital media as part of a company’s growth strategy. Under her direction, we look forward to elevating the brand and cementing Schweigen’s reputation as a world-class kitchen appliance brand,” he said.
Jess will work closely with Patricia to devise and implement a robust digital marketing strategy. Mr Fletcher said having a talented marketing department means having an outstanding team to strategise and grow for the future.
“2017 has already been a fantastic year for us with the recruitment of our new sales manager, Sean Beer and the exciting launch of Schweigen IN – a new line of kitchen appliances that includes the very latest in European innovation and style with intelligent solutions in cookers, ovens, cooktops, dishwashers, and silent rangehoods. We’re proud to have Patricia and Jess on board to help accomplish our business goals as we enter the next phase of the Schweigen story,” he said.
With over 25 years’ experience in the industry, Schweigen is one of Australia’s leading kitchen appliance brands, designing Australia’s most efficient silent rangehoods powered with German engineered silent Isodrive® motors, Schweigen also offers innovative, stylish and premium European designed kitchen appliances, including cookers, ovens, cooktops, dishwashers, and silent rangehoods. Dedicated Schweigen showrooms in Victoria and Perth. Available in over 450 retail stores nationwide.