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Pop the Bubbly: Announcing the Winners of the Haworth Design Contest

From countless entries to a handful of finalists to one final winner, Haworth has crowned a team from Woods Bagot Melbourne the winners of the Celebrating Great Design contest.



BY Christina Rae

December 5th, 2016


The team behind the winning entry, Penumbra, comprising of designers Jess Dootjes, Brittany Pearce, Sue Fenton and Josh Carmody, joined famed designer and contest judge Patricia Urquiola in her studio in Italy for a workshop to better develop their award winning design.

The Celebrating Great Design Contest was launched as a platform for imaginative and experienced designers to launch their original creations on a global scale, and receive exclusive tutelage from Patricia Urquiola.

The workshop at Studio Urquiola is a coveted reward for the Woods Bagot designers, with Patricia’s work widely celebrated for its uniquely poetic, yet practical and functional style. Urquiola’s design journey began when she was 12 years old, when she knew she wanted to be a designer. After a successful education at the Madrid and Milan Polytechnic schools, Urquiola worked as an assistant to famed designers Achille Castiglioni and Eugenio Bettinelli in Milan and Paris before launching her own studio in Milan in 2001.

“When I have to describe what is good design, great design, or just design – it has a lot to do with the intention of the project – which is not only the intention to solve problems,” says Patricia.

Patricia’s work ebbs and flows through the conventional and the avant-garde, reinventing and creating the new, with a grounded mastery of the practical. Her career is a constant reminder of the beauty of the past and the importance of exploration into the now. The winning designers from Melbourne’s Woods Bagot studio could hardly have a better pair of eyes to look over their design.

“I think Penumbra, was a fantastic project because there were few elements, and a very open attitude to understanding the spaces where we work and the items we use,” says Patricia, “I think it is very simple in some ways and I liked that a lot, but it was also complex in another way.”

What’s next for the Penumbra designers? After the workshop with Studio Urquiola, the team is off to Haworth’s Design Lab in Shanghai to prepare their design for prototyping, testing, and production readiness, before finally launching the product in Sydney next year.

Till then, Patricia’s advice to the team is to: “Be consistent in their ideas and defend what they really believe, even if in the process all of us we approach the argument in another way. They’ve got to be strong in a certain way, but also open to simplifying the process.”


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