Top Designs 2014 Industry Speaker Bios

Genevieve Kulesza Product Design and Technology (textiles and fashion)
Meg Kolac Product Design and Technology (textiles and fashion)
LAB DE STU Product Design and Technology (products and furniture)
Naomi Fogel Product Design and Technology (products and furniture)
Andrea Innocent Visual Communication Design
Chris Murphy Visual Communication Design
Clare Cousins Visual Communication Design
Will Mahon Visual Communication Design
Belinda Smullen Visual Communication Design
Matthew McCarthy Visual Communication Design
Megan Wardle Visual Communication Design
Russell Mann Visual Communication Design
Rebecca Naughtin Visual Communication Design
Kitty St. Clair Visual Communication Design
Kim Pannan Visual Communication Design
Mark Olive Food and Technology
Jessie and Jacqueline Di Blasi Food and Technology
Paul Douglas Food and Technology
Emma Hewitt Media (print)
Davina Bell Media (print)
Lachlan Poppins Systems Engineering
Luke Deylen VET Interactive Digital Media

Genevieve Kulesza
A lifelong fascination with colour, creatures and creating led Genevieve Kulesza to a Bachelor of Design (Fashion) degree at RMIT University, where she graduated with First Class Honours in 2010. Genevieve has received national recognition for her designs, presenting her graduate collection ‘Swarm’ at Melbourne Spring Fashion Week 2010. Leading global trend-analysis website WGSN described her designs as an ‘exuberant… explosion of colour and texture’. In 2010, she was awarded second place in the National Finals of the Triumph Inspiration Lingerie Awards. Genevieve was also selected for the prestigious National Graduate Show, a highlight of the 2011 L’Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival. Her designs were exhibited in Melbourne Museum for the Top Designs exhibition in 2007 as well as the Retrospective in 2009.

After completing an internship in Berlin in 2011, she continues to live and work in Germany as a freelance fashion designer and production assistant, as well as a fashion sales agent during Paris Fashion Week. She has worked with fashion labels C.neeon, Starstyling, Großer Heinrich, and Front Row Society, and will return to Melbourne in 2014. Genevieve enjoys printing her own textiles in her spare time, and revels in exploring a range of art and design pathways extending far beyond the realms of fashion.

Meg Kolac
Meg Kolac’s VCE Design and Technology folio was selected for Top Designs 2007, which helped with her acceptance into the Bachelor of Design (Fashion) course at RMIT University.

She has completed internships with local designers such as Roy, Megan Park and Scanlan & Theodore. In her final year, her work was showcased at Melbourne Spring Fashion Week and throughout her studies, Meg further developed her interest in Fashion Illustration.

Since graduating, Meg has exhibited at The Melbourne GPO for the RMIT Showcase, The Clothespeg Exhibition at ICAS Singapore, Cose Ipanama for L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival, at The Melbourne Fringe Festival with the presentation of her debut collaborative exhibition, and Blondes to Brunettes Hair Salon, where she has installed numerous window displays. She has had illustrations published in Lip magazine. Since 2011, Meg has worked in Childrenswear Design, developing clothing for leading Australian retailers. She has embraced the opportunity to learn the ropes of the Australian commercial fashion industry, while she continues to grow and develop in her career, both in design and illustration.

LAB DE STU is a multi award-winning and forward thinking Melbourne design collective created by Adam Lynch, Andre Hnatojko, Dale Hardiman & Nico Evans in 2011. Used as a vehicle to promote their work and design ethos, with the support of each other and each other’s success, this business and marketing model pushed the group to new heights within a short period of time allowing them to exhibit not only within Australia but also internationally.

Although separate as designers, they showcase a wide selection of designs together, more focused around experimentation, furniture and objects, and using strength in numbers to show the Australia and International design community what local design is capable of. The LAB DE STU designers use self-constructed design briefs created for market needs drawing on research and knowledge to specify such instructions, allowing for new methods of thinking and a more sustainable approach to be invested.

Naomi Fogel
Naomi currently works as Exhibition Designer at Museum Victoria covering projects across Melbourne Museum, Immigration Museum, Scienceworks Museum as well as nationally touring exhibitions. Having studied Textile Design and Interior Design at RMIT, she is a hands-on designer with experience working on a variety of projects. Prior to working in the public sector she was working in boutique design firms on projects including retail, hospitality and commercial fit outs as well as the occasional set design on the side for fun.

Andrea Innocent
I am a professional artist and freelance illustrator working in a shared studio space in Melbourne, Australia. I tell stories with pictures. These stories, often of the bizarre and the quirky, are told using character design and detailed digital illustration. I like to combine colour and graphics, blending these with found photographic and textural images in the works.

After beginning my career by exploring aspects of Asian culture, inspired by Japanese folklore and ghost stories as well as current events, my new works utilize an eclectic mix of mediums, including charcoal on washi paper, photography, installation, interactive media and sculpture. Let’s be making happy pictures!

Chris Murphy
After having his work exhibited in the 2005 Top Designs exhibition Chris Murphy went on to Graduate from Swinburne University of technology with a Bachelor of Design (Communication Design) in 2008. He is currently working as a founding partner of Motherbird, a young Communication Design studio, whose work includes Art Direction, branding & identity, advertising, print, signage, illustration, photography web and digital design for a diverse range of clients working on both large and small projects.

Being actively involved in projects that will be of social value to our local and international community’s is of chief concern to Motherbird. Design has the ability to change the way we think and live our lives. Having the skill set to do so, Motherbird engages in projects that have made a conscious decision to better our world while helping us become more socially responsible as designers and individuals.

Clare Cousins
Clare Cousins Architects (CCA) was founded in 2005. Based in North Melbourne, the studio works primarily in residential architecture and aims to create engaging and inspiring environments for people to inhabit. Each project is a considered response to site, context, programme, affordability and sustainability, and is developed through a highly collaborative interaction with clients.

In addition to many residential projects, Clare Cousins has created interiors for Aesop, T-bar and Koko Black, exhibition design for Game Masters at ACMI, as well as pro bono work for Victorian bush fire survivors

Will Mahon
Will Mahon is Creative Director of Atticus Design. Atticus Design are a small graphic design studio based in Footscray, offering creative communication solutions in branding, logo design, print design, packaging, and web design.

Atticus Design strive to deliver engaging, creative solutions tailored to each of their clients’ needs, in the arts, not for profit, retail and corporate sector.

Belinda Smullen
Since graduating from Swinburne University of Technology in 2005 Belinda has worked as a Communication Designer within small Melbourne studios and in more recent years has been a member of the design studio at Museum Victoria designing exhibitions, environmental graphics, interactive interfaces as well as educational and marketing material. Belinda now runs her own freelance Communication Design business and last year joined forces with her husband to open a contemporary locavore cafe in the Dandenong Ranges.

Matthew McCarthy
Founder / Director of Design, Clear
Matthew earned an Honours degree in Graphic Design at Swinburne University of Technology in 1995. From there he went to San Francisco, a job and city he loved, where he worked on the rebrand of WIRED magazine. A little while later, in 1999, he founded Clear and has never looked back.
Since the company’s inception Matthew has been proud to work with some of the most significant cultural institutions in Victoria, from the rebranding of Museum Victoria (incorporating the Melbourne Museum, the Immigration Museum and Scienceworks), the State Library Of Victoria, to Melbourne University Press, to 200 Gertrude Street, Heidi and the Victorian AIDS Council.

In addition to developing lasting creative relationships and inspiring excellent results, Matthew’s role is to oversee the design direction of the studio and projects. ‘I’m passionate about every single project we take on,’ he says. Clear’s work has been published and awarded locally and internationally which is nice.

Megan Wardle
Designer, Clear
After graduating with Distinction from RMIT University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Design, Megan was the recipient of the Artisan Award for achieving the highest academic results in third year Communication Design (RMIT). She was also a nominee and finalist for Design Institute of Australia's Graduate of the Year Awards.

With more than a year of industry experience under her belt, Megan joined the team at Clear in early 2011 and has enjoyed working within the dynamic studio ever since.

Russell Mann
Originally from Perth, Russell began his working life a cinema usher, sneaking in as many friends as possible before getting serious about a career and enrolling in a fine art diploma.

Russell graduated college with a Diploma of Art & Design and moved to London in 2004. He started working a night shift, making artwork corrections to Russian DVDs This lasted two days. He then began freelancing for some of London’s top studios, including Made Thought, Winkreative and Dixon Baxi on projects all around the world. He has worked for brands as diverse as adidas, Levi’s, Samsonite, Skype, Sony and Zaha Hadid Architects.He joined Clear in 2011 and is currently the creative director.

Rebecca Naughtin
After completing her VCE at Newhaven College, Phillip Island, Rebecca Naughtin completed a Bachelor of Architecture degree with first class honors at RMIT. After graduating in 2004, Rebecca commenced work in an architectural practice and within 4 years had formed Allen Naughtin Architects. In 2007, Rebecca was promoted to Examiner at the Architects Registration Board of Victoria and currently holds the position of Lecturer and Tutor at both Monash and RMIT Universities.

In 2012, the practice Rebecca Naughtin Architect was formed, an architectural firm that focuses on residential, commercial and pro bono work. Her designs focus on sustainability and innovation with a particular emphasis on client engagement and helping clients’ realise the potential of their projects. In 2013, Rebecca was promoted to Convener for the Constructive Mentoring Program for Women in Architecture and most recently won Emerging Architect of the Year 2014 for the Victorian Chapter of the Architects Institute of Australia.

Kitty St. Clair
Le Sphinx is a holistic creative boutique based in Melbourne, Australia co-founded by Kitty St. Clair and Leon Thomas. Their work spans multiple disciplines from brand identity to web design, from print collateral to custom artwork. With a focus on support for the arts and hospitality industries, they have forged lasting relationships with clients in Australia and internationally. Le Sphinx had been invited to participate in many wonderful events including Melbourne’s State of Design Festival and the Australian Graphic Design Association’s First 5 Out lecture series.

Kim Pannan
Kimberly is an award-winning design professional, winning prizes for innovative sustainable architecture in Australia and abroad, including the VicUrban Affordable Housing Competition and the USA’s Big Ideas for Small Lots Competition.

Kimberly has over a decade’s experience working with industry leaders and has completed projects in Australia, China, Africa and the USA.  Specialising in the fields of residential, education, and cultural/community architecture, Kimberly loves the challenge of resolving complex design problems into simple, logical and spatially beautiful solutions. 

Kimberly has excellent communication skills and is very au-fait working with large and diverse stakeholder groups.  Her approachable and easy communication style ensures that everyone’s needs are teased out and integrated into the solution.

As a Green Star and LEED  Accredited Professional, Kimberly is committed to sustainable design and it is a core component in her design process.  Kimberly believes the key to the most sustainable outcomes are achieved when a project is conceived with the first principles of sustainable design in mind from the get-go.

Mark Olive
Mark Olive, aka ‘The Black Olive’, has been a chef for over 25 years and has become a well know Australian celebrity with his charismatic style and creative approach to food, starring in his own television series ‘The Outback Cafe’ and a host of cooking, lifestyle and travel shows nationally and globally. Mark’s passion for fusing native food and culture with contemporary lifestyle cooking has led to a huge international profile, and the creation of Black Olive Catering, an indigenous catering company in North Melbourne, Victoria.

As a Bundjalung man, Mark’s family originated from the Northern Rivers region in NSW. Born in Wollongong he became interested in cooking as a child, watching his mother and aunts prepare meals. He trained under a European chef and has worked in a number of kitchens ranging from theatres, universities, health services, film sets and in a lá carte restaurants around the globe, before establishing his own business in 2008.

Along with his daily business operations, Mark now cooks regularly for clients such as Tourism Australia (TA) at large corporate, public and cultural events around the country and the world, bringing his signature infusions of contemporary outback flavours to every occasion. In 2010 Mark’s business was chosen as one of the destinations on Oprah’s Victorian itinerary when she travelled to Australia with her Ultimate Audience. Her lucky guests were treated to a cultural experience of indigenous food, art and storytelling during Mark’s infamous cooking demonstration.

Recently Mark hosted his own private MasterClass on series three of MasterChef, and has made regular appearances in the kitchen on The Circle (both airing on Network Ten). Mark has also been published in SBS’s new foodie Feast Magazine which launched later in 2011.

Due to his success, Mark has been selected to be a member of TA’s ‘Friends of Australia’ program, which was “created to harness the power of bright and influential individuals who are making a name for themselves on the world stage, and who have a genuine affinity with Australia”. In 2013, Mark has become involved with the Outback Academy as the Creative Director Hospitality Programs which has developed Australia’s first Master Class curriculum in bush native foods with Mark Olive, and local knowledge holders. This curriculum will support intensive delivery to Outback Academy Indigenous apprentice chefs and front-of-house hospitality professionals across Australia. The Outback Academy has also begun the process of connecting Indigenous bush native foods growers as a Cooperative and majority business ownership group for what is being positioned as Australia’s first major Indigenous owned and operated bush native foods product and label.

Jessie and Jacqueline DiBlasi
Created by Melbourne sister duo, Jessie and Jacqueline DiBlasi (Photographer/Designer), Nonna to Nana is documentary style cookbook. Exploring the seamless connection between love and nourishment, fifteen Nonnas and Nanas invited the sisters into their home to share stories from their kitchen creating a project that explores much more than ingredients and method - each recipe and story honouring their dedication and legacy.

Sunday spaghetti is a treasured tradition. This custom—a shared meal every Sunday—is one of the strongest threads binding the family together. Nonna Giovanna was a beloved member of the DiBlasi family, but she was also part of a passing age - an age in which the family unit was sustained and protected through shared culture, food and history. And so, Nonna to Nana was born out of the realisation that if the sisters didn’t document Nonna Giovanna’s recipes they would be lost. Working to preserve their beloved Nonna’s traditions, they realised they were not alone. It didn’t take long before the project grew. Eager to maintain the traditions and histories of a fast disappearing generation of matriarchs, numerous grandchildren recommended their grandmothers, enthusiastically listing off recipes to be added to the growing book - as well as the Nonnas and Nanas who made them.

The kitchens and cuisines were different, but the love and teaching remained the same. Each of the 15 grandmothers documented across this project treated them as if we were their own grandchildren – teaching, feeding and sharing their stories with wisdom and kindness.

Nonna to Nana is due for official launch Mother's Day 2014

Paul Douglas
Paul has had fifteen years experience as a chef; beginning his career working in some of London's top fine dining restaurants before traveling to New Zealand and Australia. Since settling in Melbourne Paul has worked for a number of small and large event catering companies, restaurants and cafes. In 2011 Paul moved to the Dandenong Ranges where he now owns and operates a contemporary locavore style café called The General Food Store.

Emma Hewitt
Emma Hewitt is an illustrator and creative programs coordinator with children and young people. She has designed and faciliated innovative programs for children and young people in WA, Victoria, Queensland and overseas and is currently Family Programs Coordinator at the State Library of Victoria. She illustrates weekly for and is a co-founder of Early Harvest. 

Davina Bell
Davina Bell is a Senior Editor in the Young Readers department of Penguin Books Australia. She has a particular passion for cover design and picture books, and counts the award-winning Penguin Australian Children’s Classics series as her proudest professional achievement. In her spare time she is an author of children’s books, and volunteers with the Early Harvest project, working with children from Melbourne’s inner-west to make their own literary magazine.

Lachlan Poppins
Lachlan is a passionate engineer specialising in the defence sector. He blends his practical military and industry experience into shaping his designs for the next generation soldier.

After graduating from Victoria University with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering, Lachlan worked as a consultant to the Defence Materiel Organisation.

Through his service to the Army Reserve, Lachlan has deployed on warlike operations overseas and disaster relief support in Australia. He currently holds the rank of Lieutenant within the Light Horse.

He sits on the board of Young Engineers Australia – Victoria, and is a vocal advocate for students and young engineers.

Lachlan is currently employed as a Design Engineer with Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles Australia. In 2013, RMMVA were awarded a $1.5B contract to supply 2500 trucks to the Australian Army. 

Luke Deylen
Luke Deylen is an Interactive Developer with a Bachelor of Multimedia (Business Marketing). He is currently working his first job in the industry outside of university, in advertising. Over the last 2 years he has worked with clients including BMW, MINI, Myer, Officeworks and Bunnings Warehouse, creating rich interactive experiences for websites, smart phones and tablets.

He is the industry representative on the Top Designs Multimedia judging panel, and his own manipulated photography work was selected for Top Arts when he was in high school. In his spare time Luke likes to develop games for iOS and Android, as well as more traditional mediums such as card games. His dream is to one day run his own indie game business.

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