Mentoring The Future Faces Of Industrial Design: Launch Pad Au/NZ 2018 Live Judging

  •   26 May 2018

Six finalists and an esteemed jury all came together in Schiavello’s Sydney showroom for a morning of mentoring, followed by the live judging for Launch Pad 2018 (Australia/New Zealand heat).


Back in 2003, Launch Pad was started to give up-and-coming designers a platform to literally help ‘launch’ their careers. It’s always been more than a competition. It’s about connecting the emerging designers with others in the industry.

In the converted church space of Schiavello’s Sydney showroom, 24 May saw this year’s six finalists come together to pitch their product to a jury of design industry veterans.

But before that all kicked off, our finalists, along with some of the other entrants, sat down for an early morning mentoring session. Despite the 8am start, everyone came eager to learn and heed advice on how to get a design career off the ground.

Three speakers across three very different but necessary components of the industry shared both personal and professional advice. First up, Aleesha Callahan, IndesignLive’s editor, talked about the media. As a continually fragmenting landscape, Aleesha homed in on how to approach the media, crafting a story for editor’s to care and how to write a killer press release that gets attention.


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Following that we were incredibly lucky to have Marina Olsen, Senior Associate from Banki Haddock Fiora, talk about the ins and outs of IP protection. Marina offered up valuable advice on product registration, trademarks and what to do if you find your designs being copied.

To close the morning session, Tom Skeehan really opened up about how to run a successful design business. Not only is Tom a fellow Launch Pad alumni, but he took out the inaugural INDE.Award for The Object category last year. Tom got really personal and shared some of the challenges he has faced in setting up a design studio, as well as showing alternative paths for a long-term career in design.


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The second half of the day was all about the pitch, as there are incredible prizes are at stake – including a year’s mentorship, a $10,000 manufacturing grant, and a media package with Indesign Media.

Rather than a blind judging approach, each finalist had 20 minutes to present to the panel of six. The jury included Anton Schiavello (Schiavello), Henry Wilson (Henry Wilson Studio), Terri Winter (Top 3 by Design), Aidan Mawhinney (Living Edge), Tom Skeehan (Skeehan Studio) and Raj Nandan (Indesign Media). Unfortunately, Dr Brandon Gien (Good Design Australia) and Raymond Scott (Workshopped) were unable to make it on the day but had already been involved throughout the shortlisting process.


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Throughout each of the finalists’ presentations, the jury asked probing questions and provided valuable insight – whether it be on commercial viability, potential design refinements or manufacturing challenges.

The six finalists included Jeanie Mulligan with Foal, Max Leishman with his Scintilla lighting collection, Tom Hewitt with the Narvis light, Isaac Francis with the Modular Object System, Roberto Vessella’s Duello Hallway table and DLC-01 by Dan Layden. Read more about each of the products and their concepts here.


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Who will win Launch Pad Australia 2018? Will they take out the top honour of Ultimate Winner for the entire Asia Pacific region? All will be revealed at the INDE.Awards Gala in Singapore on 22 June 2018. Don’t miss the INDE.Awards 2018 Gala! Get your tickets now!


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Our special thanks to all our speakers and judges for sharing their insight with our up-and-coming new generation of industrial designers.

Schiavello is the Principal Partner of the Launch Pad program in Asia and Australia, and a passionate supporter of emerging design talent in the APAC region. Our special thanks to Schiavello for hosting the mentoring workshop and live judging in their Sydney showroom.