CUSP: Designing into the Next Decade

Member Organisation:
  • Florian Mueller. Photo George Voulgaropoulos Image courtesy: Object: Australian Design Centre

  • Mari Velonaki. Photo George Voulgaropoulos Image courtesy: Object Australian Design Centre

  • Super Critical Mass. Photo George Voulgaropoulos Image courtesy: Object Australian Design Centre

About The Project

CUSP: Designing into the Next Decade is a creative program that explores the process of design and allows audiences to see the potential for it in their own lives.   CUSP is an innovative creative program that features 12 visionary Australian designers working on the ‘cusp’ of what is possible now and into the future.   More than just an exhibition of selected works, CUSP is a journey into the expanse of each designer’s world. By uncovering not only what each does, but also how and why each does it, we can begin to appreciate the potential of design in our lives. The designers featured in CUSP are: Leah Heiss, Chriss Bosse (Laboratory for Visionary Architecture (LAVA)), Healthabitat, Mari Veloaki, MaterialByProduct, Greg More, George Khut, Stephen Mushin, Alison Page, Anupama Kundoo, Super Critical Mass and Florian ‘Floyd’ Mueller.

Why It Works

CUSP: Designing into the Next Decade is a creative program that explores design as a human-centred approach that can enrich the experience of life for individuals, organisations and communities. In recent years design has increasingly found application beyond the scope of aesthetics and products. It is also being understood as a way of thinking that has the ability to impact the way we behave and engage with the world. Ranging from architects to fashion, object, interactive, system, robotics and sound designers, this program features Australian practitioners who have the potential to influence lifestyle, learning and cultural change in the decade ahead.  

As a creative program, CUSP is anchored by the overarching set of ideas the designer or design collaboration pursue to guide and grow their practice. By focusing on the ‘vision’ of the designer, rather than a specific work, we are refocusing the driver of the program from outcomes to process.   CUSP is be a multi-layered program existing as a national touring exhibition, a series of public engagement programs, outreach learning programs and content accessible through digital platforms.

The exhibition launched in Sydney in July 2013 before touring nationally until mid-2015. The National tour extends to Launceston, Adelaide, Dubbo, Port Macquarie, Brisbane and Mornington Peninsula, which increases the CUSP audience wider to a National scope.

CUSP was made possible through many different partnerships and collaborations. These were not only with the 12 featured designers and design practices but also with the 3 design partners to produce the exhibition. Freeman Ryan Design (FRD) designed the exhibition as it would manifest in the space physically, Portable designed the CUSP specific website and Toko Concept Design were responsible for the visual identity and CUSP branded collateral.   Many of the exhibits in the CUSP exhibition are highly participatory and allow a deeper level of engagement with the ideas of the designers. Designers such as Super Critical Mass, Floyd Mueller and MaterialByProduct’s works are based upon user experience and involvement for their very existence.  


While CUSP is focused on exploring the transformative ideas of designers, Object has also taken this opportunity to challenge their beliefs about how cultural content should be presented and experienced. What could the format of a creative program be in the 21st century? What kinds of experiences will define how audiences engage with ideas in these spaces? Can a touring exhibition be reframed as a cumulative entity that absorbs new ideas while on the road? Experimental and practice-based, Object has applied the design process to the development of the CUSP program itself, a process that is continuing over the course of its national tour.