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 five 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
Danielle Brustman

Danielle Brustman is a highly experienced and awarded interior designer. In recent years, the designer launched an installation for the NGV Triennial 2020, received a commendation for her ‘Chromatic Fantastic’ cabinet at the 2020 TDF + Laminex Design Awards, and established her studio Collingwood Yards as the recipient of the Bank of Melbourne Studio Residency.

Adriana Hanna

Adriana Hanna is the head of interiors and an associate at Kennedy Nolan. The architect’s approach is characterised by a meticulous attention to elegant detail, and a focus on delivering high-quality built outcomes.

Nicole Lawrence Studio, Industrial Design

Nicole Lawrence Studio is a furniture, metal fabrication, and lighting studio spanning in- house collections of furniture and lighting and collaborative work, as well as design and production services for other brands and studios around Melbourne.

Emerging Designer
Lauren Haynes, Furniture Design

Furniture designer and sculptor Lauren Lea Haynes founded her multi-disciplinary practice during Melbourne’s 2020 lockdowns. She makes timber, steel and upholstered furniture using non-traditional materials such as recycled plastics, natural stone, man-made resin/synthetics used for kitchen applications and household waste.

Emerging Designer
Other Matter, Design and Fabricate

As part of her vision for a post-petrochemical future, artist Jessie French developed her own recipes for algae-based bioplastics, which she moulds into fully compostible, aesthetically refined tablewware. She founded her studio, Other Matter, to consult on collaborative projects based on organic polymers.

Emerging Designer
DREAMER, Architecture and Interior Design

DREAMER is an architecture practice driven by human-centred and biophilic design principles. Having pledged never to exceed 100 projects, the firm creates thoughtful, minimalist spaces for residential and commercial projects.

Emerging Designer
Charlie White, Industrial Design and Architecture

Charlie White is a multidisciplinary designer engaged in architecture practice and industrial design. Characterised by an aesthetic of sombre, gothic plasticity, his seductive and expressive works made from found materials freely traverse the boundary between art and functionality.

Emerging Designer
Curious Practice, Architecture

Architecture studio Curious Practice was establised in 2017 with a desire to bring high quality design outcomes to the Newcastle region. Founders Warren Haasnoot and Greg Lee hire graduates from the Univeristy of Newcastle in order to ensure great connection to the community and culture of the local area.

Emerging Designer
Wiesebrock Architecture, Architecture

Wiesebrock Architecture is a solo venture by architect Richard Wiesebrock focussing on a small number of custom houses with boutique clients across Victoria.

Emerging Designer
Ulo Australia, Lifestyle

Ulo Australia by Dinzi Amobi designs and makes womenswear and soft furnishings using African wax print textiles sourced from markets in Ghana, Tanzania and Nigeria. The Melbourne-based team often create new designs by mixing these sourced materials with contemporary prints.

Emerging Designer
Brothers Fearon Fabrication, Design and Fabricate

Brothers Jack and Mark Fearon drew on their plumbing and boilermaker training to found their steel fabrication company, Brothers Fearon Fabrication. They produce the ‘Bread with Butter’ collection – a series of powder-coated aluminium furniture handwelded in Burleigh Heads.

Emerging Designer
Tsai Design, Architecture

Helmed by architect Jack Chen, Tsai Design designs small-scale living or projects with modest budgets. The practice aims to de-stigmatise residential architecture as a lofty, expensive and elitist service.

Emerging Designer