Design Institute of Australia highlights nine award-winning student projects

Dezeen School Shows: a remote-controlled vehicle powered by rubber bands is included in Dezeen’s latest school show by Design Institute of Australia.

Also included is a flagship store that utilises distorted forms to alter sensory perception and a stool made from biodegradable materials.

Awards programme: Graduates of the Year Awards 2023
Organisation: Design Institute of Australia

Organisation statement:

“Since 1939, the Design Institute of Australia (DIA) is the national body that champions the value of all design and the impact of designers. Its purpose is to enable designers by providing knowledge, thought leadership, access and inclusivity.

“The DIA is the leading advocate for design – it has the most extensive design professional network, champions design excellence, progressive change, and is a trusted voice in the national conversation.

“It engages with and educates designers, the government and our broader society, fostering collaborations for designers to engage across the industry and community.

“The DIA’s Graduates of the Year Awards (GOTYA) is Australia’s flagship programme for emerging designers, created to support and celebrate exceptional Australian designers as they embark on their careers.

“The programme has been mentoring students since 2005 and is instrumental in providing tertiary institutions and design graduates with vital, real-life feedback from experienced designers and industry figures.

“In 2023 over 40 tertiary institutions across the country were invited to nominate top graduates across traditional disciplines into the three new categories.

“In reflecting on our current times and how we live and design now, the three cross-disciplinary categories are Place, Use and Interact.

“Nominee portfolios were anonymously evaluated on their design excellence based on a transparent judging process and criteria. Finalists were interviewed by judges to determine their transferable workplace skills and predicted impact on the Australian design industry.

“Respected industry leading jurors this year include Alena Smith, Csilla Csabai, David Smith, Evan Reeves, Harriet Sutherland, Jack Flanagan, Jan-Marie Jaillei, Jayden Lim, Kate Bednarz, Nicole Gemlitski, Paloma Hodgins, Peter Lambert, Sally Evans, Sara Horstmann, Spiroula Stathakis and Timothy Wilkinson.

“GOTYA winners can gain mentorships, win prizes, meet potential employers and, most importantly, receive acknowledgement and engagement from the design community.”

Visualisation of the interior of an information centre in Singleton

Singleton Visitors Information Centre by Sandra Srun

“Srun’s portfolio focuses on melding human behaviours and technology within architecture. Srun is committed to bridging connections between people and spaces.

“The studio brief asked Srun to design an entry link and reception space to Singleton Information Centre in Australia.

“Utilising a two-dimensional element as the architectural gesture, the design physically illustrates how clusters of lines can create indefinite spaces and experiences shaped by people moving through and interacting with them.

“It includes reception desks as well as exhibition and yarning spaces. Immersed in occupants’ lives, the designs are organically shaped to emphasise inclusivity and innovation.

“The Singleton’s Information Centre project ingeniously employs two-dimensional elements to narrate spatial stories, seamlessly interweaving design and human interaction. Sustainability threads through, enhancing the design’s impact.”

Student: Sandra Srun
Institution: University of New South Wales
Course: Bachelor of Interior Architecture (Honours)
Tutor: Eva Lloyd
Awards: Australian Graduate of the Year 2023, Place category winner – Higher Education and NSW Graduate of the Year 2023
Email: ssrun[at]

Rendering of sustainable transportation vehicles

Beam Seven by Liam Georgeson

“The Beam Seven design brief asked Georgeson to create an efficient and sustainable personal transportation vehicle and system within Inner City Brisbane, Australia.

“Beam Seven accommodates many users, giving it a competitive advantage over existing personal transportation vehicles.

This adaptability expands its potential for successful integration into the Brisbane central business district, leading to broader adoption and a decreased reliance on traditional fossil fuel-powered transportation.

“Mock-ups and user testing grounded the concepts, resulting in thoughtful considerations for manufacturing and assembly.

“The range of sustainable insights presented by Georgeson was broad, encompassing aspects from materials and systems to patient outcomes.”

Student: Liam Georgeson
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Course: Bachelor of Design (Industrial Design)
Tutor: Rafael Gomez
Award: QLD Graduate of the Year 2023
Email: liamgeorgeson[at]

Small vehicle that is powered by rubber bands

Elastic Powered Car by Jamieson Davis

“As a product designer, Davis blends creativity with functionality, following a human-centred approach. The brief asked the designer to develop a wheeled rubber band-powered vehicle within specific size limits.

“The brief required the vehicle to use a mechanism and drivetrain that converts potential energy into forward motion as well as remote steering for navigation.

“The design features a robust frame using tubular aluminium proles to withstand the forces of the bands. A central driveshaft, differential and bicycle chain drive the rear wheels – the car achieves a distance of 200 metres and a top speed of 45 kilometres per hour.

“Davis’ careful consideration of material selection and functionality for the final products leverage both user insights and background research to formulate a well-rounded solution.”

Student: Jamieson Davis
Institution: University of South Australia
Course: Bachelor of Design (Product Design)
Tutor: Daniel McLean
Award: SA/NT Graduate of the Year 2023
Email: me[at]

Stool made with paper pulp and wood

Summit by Joanne Odisho

“Odisho focuses on highlighting the importance of cautious material selection and waste minimisation. With a firm belief in product life cycles, each decision was made with environmental impact at the forefront.

“Odisho aims to promote awareness of where our products come from and how we can make more environmentally conscious decisions regarding what we put in our homes.

“Although the unit thrives as an independent piece, a seamless form reminiscent of a horizon line is made when assembled alongside its counterparts.

“The stool was designed eco-consciously, incorporating a compostable seat crafted from paper pulp and infused with natural additives.

“The portfolio incorporates diverse research on sustainable and functional forms and materials with incredible use of materials, further enhancing the overall quality of the design.”

Student: Joanne Odisho
Institution: RMIT University
Course: Associate Degree in Furniture Design
Tutor: Julian Pratt
Awards: Australian Graduate of the Year 2023, Use category winner – Vocational and VIC/ TAS Graduate of the Year 2023
Email: hello[at]

Visualisation of the interior of a flagship store for Tsumori Chisato

Fever Dream by Kate Masters

“Masters’s aspiration as a designer is to create client-centred, sustainable spaces connected to the land on which they’re built.

The brief asked the designer to design a flagship store for Tsumori Chisato, the acclaimed fashion designer. The concept for this design was ‘dreamscape’.

“Striking neon, distorted shapes, concave walls and juxtaposing natural and man-made materials reinforced the idea. Rammed earth, applied metals, pineapple leather, recycled acrylic, vintage furniture and LED lighting were specified.

“Fever Dream stands out with its well-defined psychedelic concept translated into a design that offers a captivating visual experience.

“The project’s strong visuals and selections resonate deeply with the psychedelic theme, transporting occupants into a surreal realm.”

Student: Kate Masters
Institution: Sydney Design School
Course: Diploma in Interior Design
Tutor: Kylie Hickman
Award: Australian Graduate of the Year 2023, Place category winner – Vocational
Email: hello[at]

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The Contemporary Speculum by Isobel Baker

“Driven by curiosity and collaboration, Baker’s practice is shaped by continuous learning and exploration. The brief addressed the emotional and psychological issues surrounding gynaecological examinations.

“Baker’s solution involved designing a patient-centred device that encouraged empathy and agency. Gynaecological health has historically been a physically and emotionally complicated space.

“As explored with this project, the speculum is a device with technological, cultural and historical power.

“Along with redesigning the speculum, the designer wanted to inspire questions about why such devices struggle to be designed and evaluated throughout history and why the patient’s comfort always seems secondary.”

Student: Isobel Baker
Institution: University of Technology Sydney
Course: Bachelor of Design (Product Design)
Tutor: Roderick Walden
Award: Australian Graduate of the Year 2023, Use category winner – Higher Education
Email: isobel.m.baker[at]

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Cervive by Gabrielle Versace

“Versace has a fascination for human-centred design. Her approach to practice is built around brand identity and cultural impact.

“Creativity is about connection and communication – the designer aims to reach beyond the market and deeply connect to individuals.

“Cervive is an awareness and prevention campaign to eliminate cervical cancer. If every eligible woman receives their five-year screen, Australia will be the first country to eradicate the disease.

“This inspired the tagline ‘Take Five. Five minutes of your day for five years of your life’.

“The central call to action encourages routine screening, mitigating embarrassment and replacing it with a solidarity movement among women that supports critical conversation on reproductive health.”

Student: Gabrielle Versace
Institution: Swinburne University of Technology
Course: Bachelor of Design (Communication Design)
Tutor: Anthony Elliott
Award: Australian Graduate of the Year 2023, Interact category winner – Higher Education
Email: gabrielleversacedesign[at]

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Cheeky Family by Zoey Portilla

“Drawing from her advertising background, Portilla consistently approaches resolving problems by embracing design thinking.

“The Cheeky Family Company brief is for environmentally considered packaging. Cheeky Family Company is a non-profit organisation that produces a range of alcoholic kombucha beverages – it was founded to protect animals and give them a forever home.

Each drink purchased raises money for the health and wellbeing of animals in shelters, rescues and foster care in Australia.

“Cheeky Family Company focuses on local ingredients to represent and honour the land, benefiting farmers and local communities.”

Student: Zoey Portilla
Institution: North Metropolitan TAFE
Course: Advanced Diploma of Graphic Design
Tutor: Tim Ewers
Award: Australian Graduate of the Year 2023, Interact category winner – Vocational
Email: portillazoey[at]

Visualisation of the interior of a renovated heritage building in Perth, Australia

Place on Barrack by Elena-Dea Burger

“Burger’s focus is to understand and comprehend human psychology and its connection to the built environment’s impact on emotional, mental and physical wellbeing.

The brief involved revitalising the vacant 111-113 Barrack Street heritage building in Perth, Australia. The concept addresses underutilisation by creating a mixed-use hospitality space that fosters social interactions and enjoyment.

“The intimate design has comfortable seating zones to attract regular customers and create an informal gathering space that playfully contrasts with daily realms, offering comfort and a sense of belonging.

“Burger prioritises sustainability through adaptive reuse and supporting local initiatives. The restoration in Perth promotes social interaction through intimate design, prioritising sustainability.”

Student: Elena-Dea Burger
Institution: Curtin University
Course: Bachelor of Applied Science (Interior Architecture)
Tutor: Dr Aleksa Bijelovic
Award: WA Graduate of the Year 2023
Email: elenadea4[at]

Partnership content

This school show is a partnership between Dezeen and Design Institute of Australia. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.

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