Value Is Design

How can you measure and advocate for design of quality?

This was the focus question of the panel discussion “Making Good: Design That Lasts”. peckvonhartel in collaboration with Steelcase, collated panellists; Tim Giles, Andrew Dwyer, Ian Johnson and Margaret Matsinos to discuss this fundamental question.

Bringing together an architect, technician, producer, and advocate, allowed a dimensional and layered approach to the panel discussion. The panellists although varied, all supported that designing for longevity creates a better design outcome both ethically and commercially.

Tim Giles, National Design Principal at peckvonhartel, recognises the subjectivity of good design however there are design practices that can differentiate ‘good’ design from the mediocre. In an ever-changing commercial climate, with a growing ‘throw-away culture’ Tim promotes slow design practices, by not rushing the process and prioritising the core functionality of a design, before considering aesthetics. Considering what value is the design brings rather than how it appears. Tim suggests that if both designers and consumers change their mindset of what personal quality means to them, this may increase awareness of sustainable design.

The panel agreed that to ensure longevity, sustainability, and durability of design, three factors of quality, cost and waste would need to be addressed and investigated, to ensure better design. This was firstly discussed on a large commercial scale, with the overall consensus that businesses, specifically those in the design industry should both “work globally as well as locally to unlock human promise, by striving for prolonged value socially, ethically and environmentally”. A solution to this is through the implementation of a traceable and accountable supply chain. A valuable point was raised that it is not determinant if a “company is doing well or good but the ways and willingness they have to evolve and participate in the current climate”.

The panellists also provided solutions designers could take to ensure value in their designs, by demanding more from designers through the promises of intuitive and conscious design decisions.  Setting higher expectations in design practices, can ensure higher levels of quality and value. To answer the central question of how you measure and advocate for design of quality? The panellists conceptualised that “better projects with better outcomes in sustainability and longevity of design cost more” however this is not measured monetarily but in the levels of “benefit, value and functionality the design can achieve”.

The panellists agreed on the premise that designing for longevity creates a better design outcome both ethically and commercially, they also recognise that the processes can be challenging to implement immediately. A start can be small incremental changes with a cumulative effort at the forefront and consideration of the end of life circularity an initial journey to achieve ‘good’ design in an ever-changing commercial climate.

About the panel

Tim Giles

Critical thinker, storyteller and innovator, Tim Giles leads the national design team at peckvonhartel. With a distinctive approach formulated over his 20 years’ in the design industry, Tim is passionate about designing through maintaining core respect for the commercial drivers of the clients he works with. In using design ‘as a business tool’ Tim’s focus is on creating design that lasts.

Margaret Matsinos
Department of Transport

Having property-related roles for leading financial institutions in Australia, client-side project management for professional services and recently government departments.

Margaret advocates for bringing concepts to reality through a commitment to the longevity of design and product selections. Now, with a microscopic eye to sustainability, considered investments in fit-outs, reportable emissions, consumptions, and waste there is a greater challenge ahead in the property portfolio.

Ian Johnson MIES
RMIT University

Ian brings a wealth of experience and insight into the technology and application of light and regularly contributes as a subject matter expert on energy efficiency, sustainability and lighting education syllabus development to various organisations, peak industry bodies and government agencies. He has more recently focused his professional development interests towards the biological impact of light, the emotional aspects of light and the emerging science of the influence that light has on human well-being.

Andrew Dwyer
Steelcase Australia

Andrew is passionate about providing solutions that help to drive impact and augment wellbeing through Steelcase’s dedication to research and development. Leading Steelcase Australia’s team, Andrew is focused on an inclusive design process and delivering a product solution addressing environmental, social and governance parameters.

Moderator: Rebecca Daff

As an Architect with over 20 years in the industry, Rebecca’s approach to transparent dialogue and strategic processes aims to empower her clients through design. She brings a unique aptitude for assimilating multiple stakeholder agendas to create powerful and insightful visions for projects and the commitment to realise them to finality. Rebecca is passionate about creating forums for dialogue about improving our structure and processes for better design.