Posted on by Mariam Ali

The Interior Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) was held on Friday, November 18, 2016 at the Dockside Pavillion in Darling Harbour, Sydney.

The night was filled with anticipation and excitement as IDEA has become one of the most prestigious awards program for interior designers and architects.

It was a time to celebrate interior designers who have dominated the Australian industry but to also showcase the emerging designers, who have shown great promise and accomplishments.

Throughout the night, presenters mentioned one key factor: A space needs to have a feeling of familiarity in order to attract people. A hotel needs to make you feel like you are at home (but I am guessing we don't want to to feel exactly at home, as I am already stressed thinking about my living space current situation). 

But nothing rang more true. We all go to hospitality venues to escape our every day lives, but we still want to feel like we are at home when we are there. There is a pleasure in entering a venue that feels like heart and soul has been poured into it. The room  would be filled with  delicate art and decor but the lounges are inviting and homely.  The friendly staff greet you and say, we are happy to have you here. 

And when you enter a space that is cold, your expectations immediately gets let down. The furniture does not sit right. The chairs are worn out, or even the opposite, so luxurious and uncomfortable, you'd rather just stand or go home.

And so, it is no surprise that the nominated designers and winners all achieved the same thing. They created spaces that you can stay in forever. 

The winners of IDEA AWARDS 2016 were:

Overall Winners

Indigo Slam, Smart Design Studio 

Gold Medal 

Kerry Phelan, K.P.D.O 

Designer of the Year

Fiona Lynch  

Emerging Designer

Karen Abernethy Architects 

Editor's Medal

Bates Smart 


Work With Me Here, Sibling 


Antica Pizzeria E Cucina, Genesin Studio 


Aēsop KLCC, Russell & George 

Object - Furniture and Lighting

Ora Desk LampRoss Gardam 

Object - Furniture and Lighting (Rising)

Flex Barstool and Table, Ash Allen with Harry Zanios 

Public Space

International Towers Sydney Tower 2 Lobby, Woods Bagot 

Residential Decoration

Peninsula House, SJB Interior 

Residental Multi 

Sydney 385, Smart Design Studio 

Residential Single 

Indigo Slam, Smart Design Studio 


Melbourne Central Lower Ground Refresh, Kennedy Nolan

For a full list of the shortlist and highly commended nominees, click here