Current Issue #488

Design Institute of Australia names the best local projects of 2019

Thomas McCammon
Sans Arc Studio’s Plaster Fun House

The Design Institute of Australia has revealed the winners of its 2019 South Australian and Northern Territory Design Awards, with an eye-popping array of projects from small bars to big-ticket research facilities.

As with the South Australian Architecture Awards back in July, large-scale education infrastructure builds continue to be the best platform for some of our leading architectural firms to push the envelope, with Design Inc’s glass-and-wood heavy Adelaide Botanic High School winning Gold, alongside JPE Design Studio’s Silver-winning Pridham Hall for UniSA.

At the top of the pile, the Premier’s Award was claimed by Swanbury Penglase and BVN’s UniSA Cancer Research Institute. The latest addition to the RAH-adjacent North Terrace research precinct, the building houses both the University’s Centre for Cancer Biology and School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, alongside museum space MOD.

On the residential front, Williams Burton Leopardi’s Glenelg renovation project The Esplanade won Gold alongside the Fish River Station ranger accommodation build by UniSA’s Design Construct Program. The project saw the Aboriginal Land Corporation enlist UniSA Masters of Architecture students to design new lodgings for Aboriginal rangers working on the remote Fish River station. Responding to the unique environmental challenges that face rangers in the remote Northern Territory setting, the building was designed by students and prefabricated locally at Mawson Lakes.

RAD Studio’s Madre

Also claiming Gold was a beguiling foray into suburbia by bar-and-restaurant fitout wizards Sans Arc Studio. Dubbed the ‘Plaster Fun House’, this Torrensville cottage reno transposes all the clean lines and surfaces, artful tile choices and carefully chosen colour schemes of a Peel Street bar to a domestic setting in a way that seems tailor-made to set the design blogger world on fire (spoiler: it did).

Speaking of swish bar interiors, that ever-escalating arms race of hip new Adelaide drinking holes continues to produce some interesting interior concepts – while also keeping Adelaide’s wood panelling sector alive and well. This year saw Silver awards go to Studio AKA’s fitout of west end ‘dive bar’ Cry Baby, Studio-Gram’s fitouts of King William Road chicken joint Joybird, Paloma Bar and Pantry by Claire Kneebone and RAD Studio’s Gilbert Street Pizzateca spin-off Madre. Completely overhauling the former home of Feliciano, the refit also won the award for Outstanding Collaboration.

Black Squid Design’s Pikes limited release beer branding

But, of course, the Design Institute of Australia’s remit extends beyond architecture to include product and graphic design, with a Gold award going to Black Squid Design’s refreshingly minimalist beer label redesign for Pikes Beer Co., reeling the traditional fish motif of the historic family brewer into more contemporary aesthetic waters.

Capping off the year’s design awards was the recognition of South Australian fashion industry icons George Gross and the late Harry Watt, whose label George Gross & Harry Who has had a formative impact on the state’s place in the fashion world since 1973.

Design Institute of Australia SA/NT Design Awards 2019

2019 Design Icon Award
George Gross & Harry Who

Outstanding Awards
Premier’s Award
University of South Australia Cancer Research Institute by Swanbury Penglase with BVN

Collaboration Award
Madre by RAD Studio

Spartan Electrical Award
Mill Film by Studio Nine Architects

Built Environment

Silver – Cry Baby by Studio AKA
Silver – Joybird by Studio-Gram
Silver – Paloma Bar & Pantry by Claire Kneebone
Silver – Madre by RAD Studio
Silver – West by Studio-Gram

Gold – Mill Film by Studio Nine Architects
Silver – Education Support Hub by Walter Brooke
Silver – University of South Australia Cancer Research Institute by Swanbury Penglase with BVN

Gold – The Esplanade by Williams Burton Leopardi
Gold – Plaster Fun House by Sans Arc Studio
Gold – Fish River Ranger Accommodation by UniSA Design Construct Program

Gold – Adelaide Botanic High School by DesignInc
Gold – Sleep Ops by Exhibition Studios
Silver – Pridham Hall by JPE Design Studio
Silver – Telethon Kids Institute Discovery Centre by Exhibition Studios

Gold – Hotel Derecho by Sara Threadgold
Silver – Tinker Taylor by Stephanie Haarsma Communication

Visual Communication
Gold – Gemtree by Parallax Design
Gold – Pikes Limited Release Beer by Black Squid Design

Digital Communication
Silver – JPE Website by Parallax Design

Silver – Go Micro Smartphone Microscope by Andrew Rogers Industrial Design

Walter Marsh

Walter Marsh

Digital Editor
See Profile

Walter is a writer and editor living on Kaurna Country.


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