Only those who attempt the absurd will achieve the impossible. I think it’s in my basement… let me go upstairs and check.
– M. C. Escher

This was the idea behind the AGideas ‘Look Upstairs’ 3 day design event (the cornerstone of Melbourne International Design Week 2014). It was an event that brought together a group of 41 speakers from a wide range of creative fields and backgrounds – each one sharing their process and how they attempt to ‘achieve the impossible’. This is truly a unique event with 20 different nationalities represented through these design leaders.

Held in the newly renovated Hamer Hall, and attended by hundreds of design professionals and students, it was an inspiring experience.

Each individual speaker had something special to share, but there were some highlights for me:

Wesley Burt, Massive Black – Concept Artist/Illustrator.
As drawing is a hobby of mine, it was great to listen to this talented concept artist and see his amazing work. He focuses primarily on character design and concept art for video games and films and has worked on all four of the ‘Transformer’ films, the ‘Arkham’ Batman games, various ‘Lord of the Rings’ titles and for companies such as Microsoft, Sony, Marvel, EA, Warner Brothers, Sega and Nike. I found it interesting that he was able to describe what he does as ‘marks on a page’ – it makes it sound so simple when put like that.

Studio RoosegaardeInteractive landscapes, integrating technology into the real world.
Studio Roosegaarde is an innovative design studio comprising of designers and engineers, creating public interactive landscapes and integrating technology into the real world to make it more beautiful, smarter and efficient. From ‘Smart Highways’ to the ‘living Lotus Dome’ and an interactive light path along a river, their ideas and the way they challenge traditional thinking is simply inspiring. Rather than even attempting to describe them, check out some of their projects here:

Luke Lucas – Illustrative typography.
Luke creates work that uses type design to illustrate the idea and create an image for the design brief he receives. While his treatment of typography is creative, original and dynamic, one thing that stuck with me is how he got his name out there and how he is able to now specialize in his work that he currently does, which more importantly, is the work he wants to be doing – this was ‘the work you promote is the work you attract’. With regular clients including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Nike and Target USA, he is certainly attracting some big names!

While I could go on about so many other speakers, some others that I found particularly inspiring are Greg More, Kelo Kubu, Kongjian Yu, Alex Lehours, Giuseppe (Pino) Demaio, Raymond Coffey and Pixel Bug. You can check find out more about them as we as the full list of speakers here:

This was truly an inspiring event, and unfortunately will be the last in this 3 day format. After over 2 decades this has come to an end and will be sorely missed in the design community.

Adam Dunt.


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