2014 Winner: Amber Goedegebuure
Not knowing I’d even been shortlisted, I walked into Hamer Hall for agIdeas, expecting to be hit by a whirlwind of stories and inspiration. I didn’t expect to be standing on stage to receive an award, completely flabbergasted. I had no expectation of winning, and I was completely unprepared to tell an auditorium full of people where I wanted to go.
After a lot of research and changing my mind several times, I finally managed to make up my mind. I decided to visit Pentagram, because of its multi-disciplinary work, international reputation and pro-bono work. In July I stepped onto a plane towards London, full of anticipation. After a few days to recover from my jet-lag, I was walking to Needham Road on the Monday morning, hoping I wouldn’t get lost on the way. A little early, I sat down. Leafing through some of Pentagram’s books on the coffee table, I stared at the tree inside the building, waiting to meet Harry Pearce and the rest of his team.
I sat with everyone in what is known as ‘Team Pearce’ as they each took me through some of the projects they had just finished and were currently working on, and then was put straight to work myself. It was a pleasure working with photographer Richard Foster’s beautiful images as my first brief there – though somewhat scary, as I was practically given free reign with them. They can’t have thought too badly, as they certainly kept me busy after that!
Over the next while I worked on a few different projects, which were all at varying stages of completion. Working on branding, identity and packaging projects, coming up with concepts for new ranges or brands, doing research and creating documents, I got the opportunity to see how the team worked at different stages in projects, and the chance to, over and over again, prove and challenge myself. Being there whilst concepts were presented to clients was really interesting. The conversations between two parties, questions, friendly banter and discussions were quickly stored in my brain, to refer to when dealing with clients myself.
My favourite thing at Pentagram doesn’t have much to do with designing, but has everything to do with people, and atmosphere. Every day, the entire studio has lunch together, provided by the studio. Sitting in the canteen filled of long benches gave me access to people I mightn’t have met otherwise. I talked not only to other interns, but to designers who had been there for decades. It’s a small thing, but getting rid of those at-your-desk lunches where you don’t really take a break made a big difference in actually getting to know people, understanding the workplace culture, and feeling comfortable and at home there. And they were good meals, too!
Along a similar vein I was lucky enough to attend a presentation of what the other Pentagram offices had been working on in the previous months, as well as their own work, both for clients and good causes. I also tagged along to Daniel Weil’s ‘Time Machines’ exhibition at the Design Museum and listened as he talked us through the works and why they were chosen.
It was great meeting, hanging out and working with a great bunch of intelligent and nice creatives (even if I didn’t get to meet the resident dog). My visit highlighted to me the importance of working with people you admire and get along with, of doing work that inspires you. Even though a lot of the design we see is finished products, my time at Pentagram taught me that design is about the people and space it grows in, too.
2011 Winner: Ellesse Duncan reflecting on Fabrica
Fabrica was one of the most uplifting and unique experiences I’ve ever had. Being surrounded by some of the most talented designers, artists, film makers and animators was so inspiring. It felt like a place where a graphic designer could make a film and an animator could design a car. The young group of people at Fabrica felt like one big family who came from all corners of the globe, creating, working and living together. The whole process at Fabrica was so collaborative, open and creative and I am so grateful to agIdeas for creating one of the most amazing memories I will ever have.
Entering NewStar was one of the best decisions I have ever made and thanks to agIdeas, it created the greatest experience I have ever had.
2011 Winner: Sam Ziino 7 Quick Questions
What year did you win?
I won the Fabrica award in 2011. The internship took place in April 2012, and I will be returning in October 2012 as a 1 year grant holder
How did it feel to win?
I was initially shocked, happy and excited. Afterwards it was relief (it was my last year that I was eligible to apply) and a sense of achievement that my work had impressed some great people who I admire in the design world
How was it working with people at Fabrica?
The Tadao Ando building is incredible and the city of Treviso is beautiful and charming. But the people are the greatest part about the experience. I met students from all over the world who are as passionate and excited as I am about design/being creative. There are 5 or so different departments focusing on different areas of design, so there is a wonderful overlapping where opportunities arise to collaborate between different fields. The combinations of cultures allows a broader thinking style that appeals internationally – it inspires a somewhat alternative design/thought process to what I was used to in Australia. Each grant holder has left their home, their friends and their families to study in a foreign environment, so there’s this sense of community and family that seems to help the students create original and inspiring work.
What work did you get involved in?
Each trial student is required to participate in an advertisement to promote new Fabrica applicants. Another brief was for United Colors of Benetton, we were to propose new concepts for their interactive external windows. I was lucky enough to return to Treviso after my trial, where I participated in a commercial for the United Nations – Rio+20 Conference. It involved traveling all around north-east Italy to shoot different scenes with a production crew, from the sea to the alps and everywhere in between.
How was your experience overseas?
The experience was extremely rewarding, it opened my eyes to the European and international design culture. There is a great passion for design and craft in Italy, and the rest of Europe that sometimes is overlooked or under-prioritised in Australia. And having the chance to jump on a train and be in a city/country with completely different culture/architecture/lifestyle to the previous is extremely inspiring. You can’t help but pick up new ideas or references along the way.
What opportunities did you get out of winning the Fabrica Award?
The opportunity to meet so many great people at Fabrica. The ability to explore Europe for the first time where I learned so many new things. And now the opportunity to work and live in Italy for one year, at this great creative hub Fabrica.
What was the best part about the whole experience etc?
Having the opportunity to work in an internationally recognised creative hub that nurtures and promotes inspired creativity. There is not one style or trend or preference in outcomes, so originality is high. And the great people I got to meet along the way who opened my eyes to new ways of thinking and designing. I was challenged everyday to think differently. And the local food is pretty amazing!
2009 Winner Profile: Hamish Smyth
It’s a fairytale of sorts, After being announced as winner of both the Fabrica Award AND the Collie Print Trust Prize in 2009, Hamish Smyth got to fulfil every design students dream buy going off to experience two weeks at the infamous Benetton Communications Research Centre in Italy as well as a two week trial at his studio of choice Pentagram in New York City. This in itself is enough however Hamish was lucky enough to be granted the coveted 12 month internship at Pentagram which has now lead to where he is today, a full time employee working at one of the most prestigious design studios in the world. By entering the NewStar competition, any student has the chance to live this dream.
‘Being at Pentagram is a huge learning opportunity, seeing Michael Bierut present concepts to clients and listening to the way he deals with clients is an expedience I couldn’t get anywhere else. I’m also surrounded by amazing designers from all over the world. It is a great feeling to be a part of it all here. I still feel like everything is a bit surreal…working every day with the likes of Michael Bierut and Paula Shcer doesn’t quite seem real. I still feel like someone is going to tap me on the shoulder and say, ‘The game is up mate’.
Hamish Smyth to Desktop Magazine, November 2010
Hamish is still working at Pentagram to this day.