Emerging Designer

The Design Files is passionate about uncovering and nurturing the next generation of Australian designers and creatives.

This category seeks to award one designer, architect, independent creative or studio, working in any creative discipline, who has launched their own professional practice within the last three years.

Applications will be assessed on the designer’s or studio’s career achievements to date, with specific focus on two recent projects as nominated by the applicant.


One winner in the Emerging Designer category will be awarded a $2000 cash prize. Up to two commendations will also be awarded.

Applications have been shortlisted by The Design Files team. Shortlisted entries will be assessed by two expert judges, on the following criteria :

Ability to respond to a client brief 

Originality – a style or aesthetic we haven’t seen before.

Visual Appeal – beauty, boldness, aesthetic appeal.

Mastery – how well does this designer or creative demonstrate mastery in their field?

Sustainability – how well does this designer demonstrate a responsibility for positive environmental outcomes, with specific consideration of the environmental impact, waste and energy consumption of their project/s?

Visionary thinking – does this designer push boundaries, or achieve something bigger than the intended commercial outcomes of their projects?

Bonus points will be awarded to designers who demonstrate a commitment to pro bono or community focussed outcomes.

The Emerging Designer category is presented by Phoenix Tapware
Sophie Gannon

Sophie Gannon is the founder and director of Sophie Gannon Gallery, founded in 2007. Since 2016, Sophie has been commissioning and showing original Australian design pieces, alongside Australian art, presenting an annual showcase of bespoke furniture and object design called ‘Designwork’. Sophie also sits on the board of the Robin Boyd Foundation.

Simone LeAmon

Simone LeAmon has established a career as one of Australia’s foremost design professionals. Elevating the importance of design and creativity, and the work of the creative communities we live in, she has been working internationally for more than two decades as an artist, industrial designer, design curator, writer, industry consultant and university lecturer. Simone was appointed the inaugural Hugh Williamson Curator of Contemporary Design and Architecture at the National Gallery of Victoria in 2015.