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Diversify to Survive

For small, up-and-coming firms, adaptability and diversity is the key to survival, as Michelle Jansen van Rensburg of @qubed design tells Indesignlive.

Diversify to Survive


September 14th, 2011

Established by Michelle Jansen van Rensburg and Carl Coyle in 2006, @qubed design is a small Sydney firm that exemplifies the sort of multi-skilled approach and diverse portfolio that many young businesses must embrace in order to survive in a risky and uncertain post-GFC climate.

The practice was established while Michelle and Carl held positions in large design firms.


“When the GFC hit we were both affected by it,” says Michelle.

“Both companies were hit quite hard and lost projects and large numbers of staff. This was devastating at the time and a difficult period financially, but it was also the opportunity we had been waiting for to dedicate ourselves to the business we had initially set up.”

With a portfolio encompassing exterior, interior and landscape design on commercial, hospitality and residential projects, the 2 directors take care of all the administration, business management, design, documentation, project management, marketing and new business development.


They also head a collective named Sydney House Mafia, a DJ co-operative and event management company that capitalises on Carl’s DJ skills and industry contacts.

“We always knew that we needed a Plan B,” Michelle explains of the joint venture.

“Plan B was born on a recent holiday; as we all know a holiday affords you the time to think about things in a fresh perspective. Design is a passion and our career choice, music and travel our other passion.”

Both were put to perfect use in @qubed design’s latest project, the POP Culture installation for Café Culture which transformed the furniture company’s showroom into a pop-up bar and DJ lounge during Saturday in Design.







“We realised that to survive in today’s climate we need to be flexible in all that we do and that diversification is key,” Michelle explains.

“By having more than one company and more than one passion, we can rely on one when the other is a little slow, and vice versa.”

@qubed design

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