Design Futures Council Launches in Australia

Past CEO of the Australian Institute of Architects, David Parken, together with past NSW Manager of Consult Australia, Alexia Lidas have launched the Australian chapter of global architecture, engineering and construction think tank, the Design Futures Council. 

The Design Futures Council (DFC) is an interdisciplinary network of design, product, and construction leaders exploring global trends, challenges, and opportunities to advance innovation and shape the future of the industry and environment. Members include architecture, engineering, contractors, planners and design firms, building product manufacturers, service providers, and forward-thinking AEC firms of all sizes that take an active interest in their future.

The Council was established in Atlanta USA, in 1994. Born of the joint vision of James P. Cramer, the former chief executive of the American Institute of Architects, and Dr. Jonas Salk, the man who discovered the polio vaccine and established the Salk Institute.

Originally focused on architecture’s technical and social agenda, the DFC quickly evolved to explore the many ways in which design could improve society and the lives of people, as well as ways in which design organizations can thrive in a changing business, societal, and environmental landscape. Over time the Design Futures Council refined its focus to explore trends, the evolution of the design marketplace, competitiveness, and the business of design.

Today members span the full range of architecture, engineering, construction, product manufacturing, real estate, and many disciplines of design. Members are located in America, Europe and Australia- although many of their members have a presence throughout the globe.

Eager to jump on board, some of the early DFC members include Fender Katsalidis Architects, Holding Redlich, Fleetwood, Rothelowman, Colin Biggers and Paisley Lawyers, Vertiv, Forrest and Wood Products Australia and Boral.

Differing to other membership groups, the DFC is focused on industry lead change, designed in collaboration. The group brings strategic global foresight to members, allowing them to stay ahead of the market. The multidisciplinary group brings together the best minds from all disciplines with the industry. The Australian chapter of the Design Futures Council will be holding four leadership annual summits on the following topics:

  • Collaboration
  • Sustainability
  • Applied Innovation and Technology
  • The Business of Design 

The Design Futures Council is hosting the first Leadership Summit on Applied Innovation and Technology on October 26-27 in Melbourne. The summit is kindly being hosted by DFC Member Holding Redlich. 

"With rapid advancements in technology, it is time for our industry to utilise these advancements to improve on deliverables for communities and clients. Globally we can see players from other industries eying off the built environment as an industry ripe for picking, and rightly so, our productivity should be higher."
"With players such as Google developing a focus on the built environment, we need to look forward and embrace automation" said Director, Alexia Lidas. 


Summit attendees will hear how about geopolitics affecting the A/E/C. They will learn about the rapidly changing interface of technology in our industry, and the Global risk and opportunity the the Internet of Things (IoT) brings from one of the world's most sought after cyber hackers. They will receive an insider’s insight on Australia’s first public trial of automated vehicles, and learn how automated vehicles will influence the design of cities and the consulting services to support this. Australian start-up Flipmatrix will share their technology, which brings further automation to the world of architecture; and finally they will learn about the world’s first endovascular neural interface which is being produced in Australia, enabling direct brain control of computers.   

The council are delighted to be joined in Melbourne by international guests from Atlanta/New York- USA, and China.  

DFC Leadership Summits are members only events, however while the council are in early stages there are limited seats available for non-members. Contact the DFC via the website here, if you would like to learn more. 



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