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Everything you need to know – On The Move mid-year industry and career news

Catch up on the latest developments in architecture and design, featuring highlights from BLP, Carr, Laminex and more.

Everything you need to know – On The Move mid-year industry and career news

Edward Armstrong and Buchan team, photograph by Jes Lindsay.


Billard Leece Partnership (BLP) has appointed eight new Principals to its leadership team. The Principals — Tracy Lord, Shaun Cassidy, Bettina Bartos, Alessandro Filipi, Matt Kenchington, Hayley Sainsbury, Rebecca Yeo and Damon Van Horne — will bring a modern perspective and expansive knowledge to the firm, particularly in research and learning spaces.

“We recognise the individuals who have devoted their careers in alignment with our vision, ultimately shaping the future of social infrastructure for our communities’ wellbeing, healing and growth. We congratulate our newly appointed Principals who actively contribute to the team and culture,” says Tara Veldman, BLP Managing Director.

Studio Johnston

Studio Johnston has welcomed three new members to their team, each bringing diverse strengths crucial for scalability and growth. Giorgios Anagnostou joins as Studio Director, bringing knowledge in sustainable design and a strong client-focused approach. Elkie Slater, Architect and Interiors Designer, contributes deep experience in high-end interiors, specialising in aesthetic refinement and material use. Olivia D’Souza, Graduate Architect, adds a modern perspective with a passion for design and problem-solving, promtping the team to pivot their mindsets, creativity and analytical capabilities. Conrad Johnston, Director of Studio Johnston, emphasises the team’s commitment to continuous improvement and adaptation in response to evolving market dynamics.

“These additions to ever-growing team will foster continuous improvement and adaptation to changing market dynamics,” says Conrad Johnston, Director of Studio Johnston. “We value what each person brings to the table in our studio; the collaborative spirit of working together in a positive and energetic environment where we can share ideas, leading to more innovative and effective design solutions.”

Elkie Slater.
Georgios Anagnostou.
Olivia D’Souza.


Earlier in the year, Frost*collective underwent a restructure within the creative studio, with two promotions in the senior management team. Partner Carlo Giannasca has been promoted from Managing Director to Chief Operating Officer (COO), while Luca Frost has been promoted from Marketing Manager to Chief Revenue Officer (CRO). This marks a new chapter in the evolution of Frost*collective, as the team continues to evaluate, evolve and redesign the business to best serve their valued clients and the wider community.

“We are confident that Carlo will excel in this expanded role, bringing a wealth of experience and a proven commitment to our company’s success. As we continue to navigate changing market conditions, Luca will be instrumental in his focus on our strategic vision of Designing a Better World by connecting with opportunities aligned with our values,” says Frost*collective Founder, CEO & ECD Vince Frost.

Good Design Australia

Rachel Wye has been named as Managing Director at Good Design Australia, following her introduction at the 2023 Australian Good Design Awards. Succeeding Dr. Brandon Gien, Rachel brings extensive international experience and a commitment to purpose-driven, inclusive, and sustainable design that is bound to add value to the organization. In an exclusive interview, Wye emphasized the transformative power of design in creating positive change for people and the planet, aligning with Good Design Australia’s mission.

“Ten years ago, the concept of ‘Design for a Better World’, originally articulated and championed by the World Design Organization (WDO), wasn’t something you saw very often – certainly not in association with design awards programs. I see more Awards programs now re-orienting towards this overarching guiding principle and that’s great – the more, the merrier – the quicker we can get the whole industry to start truly holding themselves accountable for the change they want to see in the world – the better,” says Rachel Wye, Managing Director of Good Design Australia.

Rachel Wye presenting at the 2023 Good Design Awards Ceremony, photograph by Kit Haselden.


Leading sports and entertainment venue design firm, Populous, has announced strategic global changes. Earl Santee, a founding member and Chair since 2020, has been appointed Chief Executive Officer, leveraging his leadership role to improve strategic and operational alignment. Nicholas Reynolds, who has been with Populous for 27 years, steps up as Chief Global Strategy Officer, focusing on the growth and evolution of the practice. Reporting to Reynolds, Mohit Mehta leads global sustainability efforts, while Jonathan Nelson drives digital innovation. Additionally, Richard Breslin joins Paul Henry as Co-Managing Director for the APAC region, aiming to bolster the firm’s presence in Asia, particularly through the Kai Tak Sports project in Hong Kong.

“As we take Populous into a new phase of growth, our philosophy of design excellence remains completely fundamental to who we are and the work we do. Alongside that, our commitment to sustainable design and digital innovation underpins our ability to lead our industry and create transformative venues, experiences and events for both clients and fans,” says Nicholas Reynolds, Chief Global Strategy Officer.


With 20 years of experience, Buchan has appointed Edward Armstrong as a Senior Associate to guide its health sector team. Armstrong has contributed to larger-scale projects such as the $1.1 billion New Coomera Hospital and the $260 million Eurobodalla Regional Hospital. He joins Buchan to leverage his expertise in clinical design and public realm integration, focusing on designing healing environments that are connected to their communities.

“Edward is a talented designer who will bring new perspectives to our health projects nationally. We look forward to his contribution as we continue to develop hospitals and healthcare precincts with our clients,” says Sandra Stewart, Buchan Principal and global Health Sector Lead.

Edward Armstrong, photograph by Jes Lindsay.


In April, global professional services firm GHD named Jim Giannopoulos as the new CEO, succeeding Ashley Wright. Giannopoulos boasts a strong portfolio, being a Chartered Professional Engineer, a Fellow of Engineers Australia and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, in addition to his completion of the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School. With over 30 years based in Melbourne with GHD, Giannopoulos most recently served as CEO of the Americas region. He aims to drive global growth and innovation at GHD, focusing on water, energy and community constraints.

“As I step into this role, I am excited by the opportunities for GHD’s global growth and am passionate about partnering and collaborating to deliver positive outcomes for our clients, communities and our people by continuing to provide innovative solutions to some of the biggest water, energy and community challenges. It’s an honour to lead such a strong, talented and collaborative team, offering many diverse services in different countries, united by our values and a common purpose of creating lasting community benefit,” says Giannopoulos.

NH Architecture

Emily Kilvington has been delegated as the latest Director of NH Architecture, reinforcing its reputation for evidence-based, design-led architecture. Formerly a Principal, Kilvington has led significant projects like Melbourne Park and Arts Centre Melbourne, and returns better than ever to support design direction and ensure top-quality project delivery.

“It’s an exciting time for NH Architecture, we’re in our twentieth year of practice and we’re continuing to build on our reputation as problem solvers, growing our experience in delivering in the housing and health sectors alongside the work we’re well known for such as large-scale urban renewal, retail and mixed use,” says Felicity Douglas, Managing Director of NH Architecture.

Emily Kilvington, Director of NH Architecture, photograph courtesy of NH Architecture.

Peddle Thorp Architects

Peddle Thorp Melbourne welcomes Rob Page, former Project Director at SHoP Architects. With a distinguished portfolio that includes Collins Arch in Melbourne and prestigious developments in Sydney, Rob brings extensive experience and bespoke design approaches. His appointment strengthens Peddle Thorp’s 40-year architectural and urban design legacy, improving their future direction and capabilities. Director Martin Hall views Page’s addition as a strategic move to broaden design expertise and uphold PTA’s brand. Rob expresses excitement about contributing to high-quality, community-oriented design that respects both tradition and innovation, aiming to make a lasting impact on the built environment.

“I am excited to join the team at the Peddle Thorp Melbourne studio and to continue to build the legacy of this long-established design practice. I am looking forward to contributing to high-quality and innovative design that will help our clients realise developments in a complex landscape. We want to make a genuine difference to the built environment and deliver projects that have a connection to place, community, and the people who use them. I look forward to collaborating on work for the future and for what is ahead, while respecting the past,” says Page.

PMDL Architecture & Design

PMDL Architecture & Design celebrates its thirtieth anniversary with key leadership updates in Sydney, Melbourne and Hong Kong. Founding directors Andrew Pender and David Morris express gratitude to clients and team members for their support. Caio Peculis is now Practice Director in Sydney, while Peculis and Alison Wheeler, head of Victorian Studios, have become equity partners. New Senior Associates include Josh Bell, Sue Cai, Rachael Drayton, Stephanie Hope, Olga Mladenovic and Gayatri Sawe (Sydney), along with John Rice (Melbourne). Amgad Sedrak (Sydney), Devon Osborne (Melbourne) and Jay James (Hong Kong) are promoted to Associates. Vicki van Dijk assumes the role of Managing Partner as Andrew Pender transitions to a client-focused position. PMDL looks forward to continuing its tradition of innovative design and client service into its fourth decade.

Plus Architecture

Plus Architecture has strengthened its Australian presence with twelve strategic promotions and appointments nationwide. These changes highlight the firm’s commitment to nurturing talent and expanding its approach to master planning, residential, commercial and mixed-use developments. Director Ian Briggs spoke to the importance of internal promotions in recognising staff achievements and fostering mentorship within the team. Key appointments include Mark Ojascastro as Principal in Sydney, overseeing interiors for transformative projects like Mastery in Waterloo. In Perth, Senior Associates Prasad Nimma and Jerry Cherian, alongside newly promoted Senior Associate Tristan Whelan, bring decades of collective experience to lead diverse sectors including hospitality, healthcare and infrastructure. Plus Architecture acknowledges associates Gloria Ha, Sun-Kyoo Kim, Hong-Thanh Nguyen (Sydney), Nicholas Nieto, Bianca Lombardo (Perth), Nathan Anderson, Tracey Rose (Brisbane + Gold Coast) and Georgina Kemp (Hobart) for their leadership and contributions across various project types, reinforcing the firm’s innovative approach and community engagement initiatives.

“Promoting internally not only recognises the incredible work our designers are doing, reinforcing their abilities and building their confidence but in turn encourages them to support and mentor the wider team. The next generation of designers, we’re excited to be creating new avenues for collaboration and innovation in the built environment,” says Ian Briggs, Director of Plus Architecture.


Carr announced the addition of Christian Grossi to its leadership team as an Associate within the commercial interiors wing. With a background steeped in engineering, automotive design and interiors, Christian brings a idiosyncratic perspective and a deep-rooted love for craftsmanship to Carr. Managing Director Chris McCue highlights Christian’s expertise in delivering detailed and rigorous design outcomes, which aligns with Carr’s commitment to exuberant and detailed design. The role supports ongoing local and interstate commercial projects, emphasising his inclusive leadership style and dedication to user-focused design.

“In joining Carr, I look forward to contributing to the already established execution of innovation and captivating solutions. My goal is to solidify a role focused on refining and implementing smart design solutions, and the commercial interiors sector is an exciting avenue for this,” says Grossi.

Christian Grossi, photograph by Gavin Green.

Matthews Architects

Matthews Architects has promoted two new Associates, signifying a milestone for the South Australian architecture and interior design firm. Located in North Adelaide, Matthews Architects brings nearly fifty years of expertise to its services, specialising in commercial, education, healthcare, and residential design. Sofiya Yunovidova, who joined Matthews in 2017, and Brayden Josephs, part of the team since 2019, are now stepping into elevated roles within the company. Yunovidova, who completed her architecture degree in 2016 and obtained registration in 2023, has been integral to diverse projects in education, residential and commercial sectors. Josephs has also made substantial contributions, particularly in education projects, driven by Matthews’ collaborative culture and his involvement in industry committees. Managing Director Gerald Matthews praises their dedication and expects them to continue making significant contributions to the firm’s success.

“We are pleased to have had Sofiya and Brayden on board for a number of years now. We have seen them develop as architects and become more confident in leading projects. […] Their dedication, expertise, and unwavering commitment to our clients and team have been exemplary. We have every confidence that they will continue to thrive in their new roles and contribute significantly to the success of our firm,” says Gerald Matthews, Matthews Architects Senior Architect and Managing Director.

MCA Australia

With over a decade of experience in business development, philanthropy and partnerships across not-for-profit and government sectors, The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia has announced Samantha Luck as its new Director of Development on June 3rd. Samantha joins from The Art Gallery of New South Wales, where she served as Head of Business Development and Partnerships. Her achievements include pivotal roles in AGNSW’s transformation into a two-building art museum. Prior to this, Samantha held various leadership positions at the Australian Business and Community Network (ABCN), focusing on educational disadvantage through workplace mentoring and business-school partnerships.

“Samantha Luck brings to the role a strong track record of successful fundraising and inspired leadership. She is a natural leader, cultivating and stewarding relationships for the mutual benefit of all. Samantha brings to the Executive Team freshness and vision at a moment of exciting change and forward thinking for MCA Australia,” says Suzanne Cotter, Director of Contemporary Art Australia.

Samantha Luck, photograph by Marcus Wright.


Fletcher Building has shared the exciting news that Sacha Leagh-Murray will. now operate as the General Manager of Laminex. With a career spanning three decades, Sacha brings expertise in sales, marketing, digital, retail and cross-functional leadership within multi-site manufacturing businesses. Over her six years at Laminex, Leagh-Murray has restructured the brand into a design leader and industry pioneer. Her leadership has driven a culture of innovation, resulting in new product launches and strategic partnerships with leading designers such as Kennedy Nolan and Yasmine Ghoniem of YSG. Leagh-Murray’s vision for Laminex includes expanding into new product categories like wall linings, enhancing customer experience and solidifying Laminex as a household name synonymous with modern design and personal expression through colour and texture.

“Throughout the company’s 90 years in business, Laminex has continually adapted with a focus on employee safety and engagement, customer service and highest quality products. The success of Laminex products can be attributed to an ongoing focus on product and manufacturing innovation, and a pursuit of continuous improvement, elevating performance across its entire spectrum of operations. […] I am dedicated to continuing this pursuit, with our focus on improving customer experience for consumers, specifiers and trade customers and continuing to provide a safe and rewarding place to work for our people,” says Leagh-Murray.


Introducing the latest Associate at PopovBass, Sean Choo, whose commitment to bespoke luxury projects stands out amidst the expanding demands across residential and commercial sectors. With a distinguished career spanning nearly two decades, Sean is a registered Architect renowned for his award-winning contributions to mid to high-density mixed-use residential developments and public projects. His expertise and passion for the built environment align with the ethos and methodology behind PopovBass, fostering strategic collaborations and delivering design solutions. As PopovBass continues to evolve after forty years in the industry, they remain dedicated to upholding core values of integrity, reliability and professionalism.


GroupGSA has appointed James du Plessis as Principal to lead its Brisbane studio – a strategic move to drive growth and address housing density needs in Brisbane. With over 23 years in architecture, du Plessis will leverage his expertise across education, commercial, residential and workplace sectors to meet the city’s growing demands. His vision includes innovative medium-density developments tailored to Brisbane’s subtropical climate. GroupGSA, known for transformative projects like Hampton Yards in Woolloongabba and the pioneering affordable housing models, anticipates further expansion under du Plessis’s leadership. Director Lisa-Maree Carrigan highlighted du Plessis’s extensive experience and welcomed his contribution to advancing the studio’s portfolio and community impact in Queensland.

“One of the things that Brisbane and Queensland could certainly do better is catch up on medium-density housing. There is an opportunity for more three- to five-storey scale developments, which I think Brisbane can deliver in an interesting, subtropical specific way,” says du Plessis.

We think you might also enjoy reading the previous On The Move, careers in design column, here.

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