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Design’s Next Wunderkind. Who Are They?

They’re the innovators and the trend-setters, the brave-hearts of design who are breaking with tradition to spark new directions in creative practice. The torch is burning bright for these four design studios, nominated for The Prodigy ‘People’s Choice’ in the INDE.Awards 2019.

Design’s Next Wunderkind. Who Are They?

“Our Indo-Pacific region contains some of the world’s most rapid rates of change and development,” says INDE.Awards program director, Narelle Yabuka. “Maintaining relevance for the practice of architecture and design within a context of rapid change demands an attitude that’s broad, perceptive and nimble. This is what we celebrate with The Prodigy.”

In 2019, Indesign Media’s regional board of editors cast the net wide to select four fresh-faced studios which are taking an innovative and experimental approach to architecture and design.

“The Prodigy is our way of acknowledging the new generation of architects and designers who are adept at making sense of the flux condition of today, and making new meaning from it,” says Yabuka.

“Rather than treading a familiar path, this year’s Prodigy nominees are rewriting the map. It’s important that we as a regional design community recognise the fearlessness of this emerging generation of practitioners, and the value their bravery brings to our collective design conversation.”

So what does it take to become the region’s next wunderkind? We share the stories of our four Prodigy nominees for 2019.


Celebrating beauty in difference – Studio Esteta

THE PRODIGY: Studio Esteta

What does it mean for design to be “beautiful”? For Melbourne practice Studio Esteta, beauty runs far more than surface deep, and in order for design to be beautiful it must respond sensitively to the site conditions and brief. “We believe in the many facets of beauty, often raw and unpredictable,” say practice founders Sarah Cosentino and Felicity Slattery. “It is this that informs our approach to a project alongside the ephemeral and physical qualities and context of a site.”

The pair emphasises the importance of collaboration and consultation in their design process. “Our shared partnership solidifies our strong belief in the value of collaboration, which in turn informs our approach to both our projects and the running of our studio,” the duo says.

Love Studio Esteta’s ethos? Have your say and cast your People’s Choice vote.


Pushing design boundaries – studio -gram

THE PRODIGY: Studio Gram

Adelaide’s current design renaissance is due to a handful of exciting young practices reimagining the City of Churches in a way people never expected. And it’s fair to say studio -gram is leading the charge. The small architecture firm simply produces outstanding work, with a freshness that has reinvigorated Adelaide’s design landscape and contributed to the broader dialogue on a national design identity.

Canadian Graham Charbonneau and Dave Bickmore met while studying architecture at the University of South Australia. Theirs is a solid friendship that quickly developed into a working partnership. “We established really early on that we didn’t want to have a distinct style… It’s not about what we want but what our clients want, so our methodology isn’t prescriptive, it’s organic and the process is collaborative,” says Bickmore.

Impressed by studio -gram’s story? Have your say and cast your People’s Choice vote.


Exploring new design narratives – Studio Adjective

THE PRODIGY: Studio Adjective

At the heart of virtually every culture is an enduring tradition of storytelling: whether oral, written, or visual, the art of a compelling narrative transcends generations and borders. According to Hong Kong design practice Studio Adjective, design culture is no exception. “We hope to make our projects not just look nice aesthetically,” explains practice co-founder Wilson Lee, “but also to tell good stories that give the project self-sustainability in the market.”

In just under three years, founders Wilson Lee and Emily Ho have established one of the Indo-Pacific’s most exciting new design voices. A precocious presence in a field of big-name designers.

Can’t get enough of Studio Adjective? Have your say and cast your People’s Choice vote.


Embracing steep learning curves – NITAPROW


Founded by Nita Yuvaboon and Prow Puttorngul, Bangkok-based practice NITAPROW works across architecture, interiors, furniture, and planning. Following a steep learning curve that entailed acclimatising to one another’s perspectives and creative processes, the practice has established itself as an exciting new entity in Asian Pacific commercial and residential design. “Natural history and constant awareness of our immediate environment may be our key sources of inspiration,” the duo says. “We don’t have a favourite type of design. We gravitate towards any type of project that gives us enough time to explore thoroughly.”

Fascinated by NITAPROW’s approach? Have your say and cast your People’s Choice vote.


While the INDE.Awards celebrates all four Prodigy nominees, there can only be one People’s Choice-voted Prodigy on the night. We encourage you to meet our nominees, learn their stories and get invested! Who inspires you? Whose story fills you with energy? Whose work drives you to exceed your own expectations? Have your say and vote today.

The Prodigy is proudly supported by Cosentino.

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