AMS speaks to Emma Telfer, partner of Office for Good Design, the collective producing the seminar series for designEX, with talks falling within the overarching theme exploring 7 Kinds of Happiness: Conversations on Design and Emotion
1. Introduce us to OFFICE FOR GOOD DESIGN - what was the motivation to establish the collective?
We (Kate Rhodes, Dan Honey & Emma Telfer) met whilst working on the State of Design Festival in Melbourne. Committed to assisting in the development of the creative industries in Australia, we realised that there was an opportunity to create programming and content that would contribute to this mission. We were also motivated to form our partnership because we respect each other, share creative values and have fun along the way.
The Office creates platforms for new design work, critical discussion and interdisciplinary exchange. Through exhibitions, public conversations, strategies and activities, both self-initiated and commissioned, we seek innovation, support experimentation, and advocate the value of good design and creativity.
2. Please share some recent projects
Collectively, we have delivered design and community development programs for Victorian Government departments of Major Projects and Business Innovation, the Queensland Government Department of Premier and Cabinet, Melbourne Open House, Indesign Group, Architecture Media, Victorian College of the Arts, Craft Victoria, The National Design Centre, L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival and Object: Australian Centre for Craft and Design.
We are currently working with Arts Centre Melbourne on Audio Architecture, a design program commissioned for the launch of Hamer Hall’s major refurbishment in July.
Audio Architecture explores cities and sound through a public talks symposium, tertiary student design camp, five workshops, and an online exhibition.
We are also continuing the Sound of Buildings. Launched during State of Design Festival and Melbourne Open House 2011. Sound of Buildings is an app that offers multimedia walking tours of Melbourne’s most architecturally significant buildings, told through the voices of designers, building users and children.
And of course, 7 Kinds of Happiness: Conversations on Design and Emotion with designEX
3. What are OFGD currently most excited about
We are really excited about the caliber and diversity of speakers during 7 Kinds of Happiness; Alice Rawsthorn is an incredibly articulate design critic and we are looking forward to learning from her during her visit. Also, The Happy Place, designed by DesignOffice, promises to be an exciting venue for the speaker sessions.
Audio Architecture is going to be a major highlight for our year. We cannot give away names yet, but we will be inviting leading international architects, engineers, sound designers, theorists and artists to contemplate Melbourne’s sonic qualities and ‘personality’, and consider how can we creatively use sound to positively influence architecture and design.
4. Of the OFGD project with DesignEx - why Happiness as a topic?
We were engaged by designEX to shake up the standard keynote lecture series they have produced in the past. We were interested in creating an immersive and engaging experience that is critical but accessible to a broad audience.
With 7 Kinds of Happiness, we were inspired to explore how designers use, explore or consider happiness in their practice. Should designers work with happiness in mind? Do they think design can create happiness?
Through this exploration, we are eager to see if design can assist in creating a greater sense of community and belonging, and a heightened civic wellbeing by making happiness a desirable outcome.
7 Kinds of Happiness: Conversations on Design and Emotion is a series of live digital and physical conversations, each exploring a different kind of happiness and using happiness as a lens to discuss each speakers’ practice.