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From winning to judging IDEA: Patrick Kennedy

From winning to judging IDEA: Patrick Kennedy


Following architectural studio Kennedy Nolan’s IDEA 2014 award-winning St Kilda West house, the studio’s co-founder, Patrick Kennedy, was invited to judge IDEA 2015. The esteemed architect shares his thoughts on the importance of awards programs within the architecture and design sphere.

What is your impression of IDEA within the A&D community?

IDEA is a great forum for architects, interior designers, as well as industrial designers because it brings all these different disciplines together and then they cross pollinate, influence, and learn from each other. The way IDEA gathers projects up over a period of time also means that you get a great snapshot of a year’s work, while the different categories allow for all scales of work. If you are just doing something quite small, there is a place for you in IDEA, and there’s also a place for the very large projects.

The awards ceremony and the judging experience is a great way to bring together the design community, and opens up a mature dialogue. Rather than just talking in a stylistic or superficial way, the discussion that happens around the award process is actually a more meaty, substantial dialogue on design.

What was the experience of being a judge like?

I found the experience very interesting and useful to hear how interior designers had different perspectives to mine. It was beneficial for my own learning purposes, and it made the judging experience quite enjoyable. The people involved were a really great group who were passionate and very respectful of each other.  I found that there were a lot of shared sensibilities, but also a lot of things that people did differently, differences which were celebrated rather than becoming divisive.

Did the exposure to so many designs and different perspectives throughout the process influence you?

I found a lot of the insights that people had made me see things differently and I think that happened to a lot of the judges in the room. When people who knew about a particular area or had intimate knowledge of a project explained it or talked about it or drew out attributes, it actually opened eyes to that project and in lots of cases, people’s views evolved over the whole process. It was a really valuable thing to do and gave me more energy for my practice.

You won the Overall category in 2014, do you think that changed the way you approached the judging?

Having won the award gave me a great sense of responsibility. I really wanted to make sure that I was giving my full attention to the awards process and giving everyone who entered it the best possible opportunity for their work to be properly regarded, assessed, and understood.

How do awards ceremonies in general impact on the A&D community?

Because design is such an intense profession, it can also be a very lonely profession. You can work very much in a bubble and your main interaction is with your clients, so it’s really affirming to receive recognition for your work – and especially by your peers, because that comes with a much higher level of scrutiny and connoisseurship. It’s a really wonderful thing as a practice to win an award, because that endorsement gives you confidence, elevates you, and makes you feel pleased about your job.

What’s in the works for Kennedy Nolan in the near future?

We’re working on a more diverse range of projects at the moment. We’re doing some more public work, refurbishing Melbourne Central shopping centre, some multi-residential work, low-cost housing, as well as the standard high-cost housing that we’ve always done. It’s slightly more diverse now which is great for us; we’ve been looking for that.


To find out more about IDEA 2016, visit: www.idea-awards.com.au

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