Queensland Design Triennial

Queensland Design Triennial


Queensland Premier and Arts Minister Anna Bligh today announced Ewan McEoin as the Creative Director of the first Design Triennial to be held in Brisbane 4-10 October, 2010.

“Ewan brings to the Design Triennial extensive national and international expertise in the business development and delivery of design events, having led the Victorian State of Design Festival from 2007 to 2009,” said Ms Bligh.

“The Triennial is the centrepiece of our Queensland Design Strategy 2020 which is a whole of government action plan that is harnessing good design to strengthen the economy, enhance creativity and encourage business and public sector innovation.


Mr McEoin is also a board member of the Design Research Institute at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, joint Director of the Australian Design Unit and an experienced design magazine editor. He will work with a consortium of industry professionals, led by Arts Events Management Australasia and the Australian Design Unit, across three states – Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria – to deliver the Triennial.

“This is the first program of its kind, a testament to the foresight of the Queensland Government and in particular Premier Bligh,” Mr McEoin said.

“We have the full support of government to produce a program that is innovative, issues led and results oriented. The program strives to bring Queensland and Asia-Pacific businesses, the design sector and communities together to devise ways of using design as a powerful tool for sustainable development and social benefit.”

The event will differ from many other design industry events due to its focus on ‘design thinking’ – problem solving and solutions – as opposed to being simply a design object and practice showcase. It will be a world class event and, although based in Brisbane, will have national relevance and provide a global stage for the development and application of real-world design-led solutions.

The inaugural Design Triennial will be held in October 2010 in the South Bank precinct of Brisbane and across the Brisbane CBD. The event will also have a strong digital presence to facilitate interaction and participation across the Asia-Pacific region.

The event program will be established and delivered over a ten year period and includes the following major components:

•Design challenge

A substantial design award will be offered to multidisciplinary teams who can provide an ingenious and viable design-led solution which addresses a world problem particular to the Asia-Pacific region. The solution may be a product, service or process and must be able to be commercialised;


An invitation only forum where designers, futurists, government decision makers and leading business people and academics will come together to seriously work through a central problem posed by the Triennial’s theme. Participants will be expected to commit to an ongoing partnership to progress and implement the solutions developed;

•Design installation

A leading and innovative designer or architect from the Asia-Pacific region will be commissioned to develop a major public installation for the event precinct which reflects the Triennial’s core values and themes. The installation will be designed to have the capacity for touring interstate and overseas;

•Designers’ showcase

A display of leading solutions and designs that demonstrate responses to a relevant Triennial theme. Unlike the Design Challenge that will be about future products and services, this will demonstrate the leading edge of what is already available. It will particularly focus on cross-cultural collaboration or links between Australia and other parts of the Asia-Pacific region;

•Hypothetical panel discussion and master-class series

The future-scoping hypothetical for the general public will include international designers, futurists and businesspeople. Panellists will also participate in a design thinking master class program targeted at the design sector;

•Design innovation mentoring program for designers, government and students;

•Business hot-house to enable businesses to work with experts to develop new markets;

•Digital channel to broadcast and provide national and international access;

•Advocacy program to champion the event and foster collaborations and business opportunities;

•International engagement to explore trade potential for new design-led business in the region.

The objectives of the Design Triennial are to:

•Foster new business relationships between Queensland, other Australian States and Territories and countries in the Asia-Pacific region;

•Encourage collaboration between leading design thinkers, business leaders and governments from Queensland, Australia and the Asia-Pacific region to address economic, social and environmental issues facing our region;

•Provide opportunities for businesses to promote the value of design to other businesses;

•Celebrate design and innovation by showcasing examples of design excellence and promoting a better understanding of good design in business and in everyday life;

•Provide a platform for genuine engagement and dialogue between local, national and international designers, businesses, educators, students, governments and communities.

The expected outcomes of the Design Triennial include:

•Positioning Australian business and industry sectors as active contributors to global design solutions;

•Greater profile for Queensland and Australian design talent and capability, translating into new business;

•Raising public awareness of design and its value and role in creating a sustainable future.

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