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Why is good design important and how do you create it? That is the simple question that formed the basis of the Good Design Week Symposium in Kuching, Sarawak last week. The event was a joint initiative between Swinburne University, Malaysia and Curtin University, Perth, and Hames Sharley’s National Design Forum Leader, Derek Hays and Western Australia Studio Leader Brook McGowan were invited to be keynote speakers at the event.

We live in a global political climate were the imbalance of economic, social, cultural and environmental imperatives becomes even stronger with each passing year. Increasingly, people across our communities face a wide range of challenges stemming from varying levels of isolation, poverty, cultural loss and access to technology. The inequitable dividing gap becomes wider and therefore the design of our digital culture, creative economy and constructed built environments become ever more important. Thus the symposium addressed the need to observe the liveability and affordance of the places we live, work and play, including how we make use of digital technology to enhance and preserve our culture, heritage and traditions in the context of a creative economy.

In coming months, Hames Sharley will publish a series of papers produced by members of the practice’s National Design Forum based on this subject, and as a forerunner Derek and Brook’s keynote speeches covered a range of topics that looked to break down the facets of what makes good design within the built environment.