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architecture and design for children


FINALLY! A class update!

Apologies for the delay in posts of late – so much work, so little time for sharing!

I’ve put together a series of collages of our recent 6-week series ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN FOR CHILDREN, hosted by the ever-wonderful Riverbend Books. Saturday afternoons have never been so messy or fun! We found it a wonderful way to wind down from a week of school and often a morning of sport, to be inspired and create in an open-ended class full of possibility!



We began our series with  a game of ‘guess the famous building’!

With outlandish and crumbling structures from around the world, we spent a lively discussion centred around the names of buildings, who designed them (if known!) and what new feat of engineering or materials did the work showcase – even the nicknames some of the ‘stand-out’ buildings have been given! Children were inspired and challenged to draw their favourite building by noticing the structural + decorative details of each unique building –  the outcomes were fantastic! The theme of ‘dreaming + drawing’ continued throughout our series, further inspired by the wonderful book ‘Iggy Peck Architect’. We focused in on the works of famous spanish architect ‘Antoni Gaudi‘ and we looked in detail at several of his nature-inspired marvels of design and architecture. In his own time Gaudi was both admired and criticised for the audacity and singularity of his innovative solutions – an inspiring study for children to dream big and create single-mindedly!

We worked on drawing a series of Gaudi-inspired finials in all their colourful glory!



In week 2 we began a two week study in clay. Continuing on with inspiration by Gaudi, students were encouraged to design and create clay ’tiles’ that reflect decorative ideas of their own imagination. We discussed the difference between structural beauty + decorative beauty. Many of the student’s tiles were inspired by nature – flowers, sunrise. We had a student focused on replicating some of the architectural detail of the famous buildings we were learning about and another who represented an angel in the night sky. Students were open to exploring the possibilities of their own unique inspiration and how that translated into their creations.



We continued in clay in week 3, however it was time to go from 2D work to 3D structure as we discussed structures around the world and why they suit the environment they are created for. We explored igloo’s to teepee’s, log cabins to mud huts and asked why each was suited to its environment? Students then began the challenge of creating their own clay structure – and most importantly, how to make it stand up!! Some designs replicated traditional buildings and cityscapes, such as this old english thatch building and cityscape with large fountain; some told a story about the people they were created for, such as this mud and grass hut.





In week 4 we took the design of buildings to the interior and touched on floor plans and elevations but mostly looked at the needs of people who occupy buildings and how that informs their design. We looked at famous interior paintings by Van Gogh and Matisse, and began our own ‘elevation’ drawings + paintings to complete an Eames-inspired ‘house of cards‘.



Week 5 saw us outlining our interior designs and then beginning the challenge of constructing a 3D card structure – yes that stands up!! Some chose traditional house forms but others created their own unique structures – one with a spider web on the roof and another made up of a series of triangular rooms – ‘because it would be fun to slide down the walls!’ All traditional house structures, students discovered, needed additional ‘reinforcing’ or cross bracing in order for their structure to stand up. This was a wonderful exercise in 3D construction with materials (unlike lego) that are not structurally stable in and of themselves. The challenge involved frustrations and then creative problem-solving!



In our final week, we did a quick re-cap on the way’s students were inspired by the world of Architecture and Design. This theme has opened up many possibilities for exploration and several students have been drawing + hunting down examples of interesting architecture + design as a result of this series.

Our last project in the series remained within the Interior and looked at inspiring Finnish design house, Marimekko. We talked about their ‘fearlessness’ and boldness in design, their creativity with colour! Each student was asked to design a Marimekko-inspired pillowcase, using either a simple stamping technique or by directly painting their design onto the fabric. Students learned much about the importance of simplicity in design, the beauty of ‘handmade’ when compared to ‘machine printed’ and then lastly, but most importantly, I saw each student unafraid to boldly create + execute their own unique designs! We had so much fun creating, I have no pics of their inspiring work!

Truly, the children participating in this 6-week series were a joy to teach – both in their enthusiasm to create and their willingness to listen, absorb information and be inspired! I look forward to offering several spin-off series that can explore each of the aspects of architecture + design that we briefly touched on in this series, in more detail!

We are offering this series in a condensed 4-week Thursday afternoon series at the newly opened ONEGIRLSTUDIO, Oxley Rd in Graceville next term! Bookings are already live on this site – if you are keen to join us but missed out on our Riverbend offering, please follow this link and book now!

Teen Iconic Design workshops

eames4[image source]

‘Pull up a seat’ at your local Brisbane City Council library these school holidays in one of our free Interior Design workshops presented by WEAVE+WONDER as part of National Youth Week.

Teens and tweens will work with an experienced Interior Designer in a fun and relaxed workshop exploring the elements of well-designed and beautiful furniture. Learn more about iconic designs and experiment with sustainable and recycled materials to design a 3D model of your perfect chair!

Sounds like a whole lotta fun, doesn’t it?


Melissa shares with us for today’s quick Q+A:

What inspires you about design?

I love the opportunity to express creativity through design. Whether it is selecting beautifully tactile finishes or removing walls to open up a space or designing and sourcing furniture – the design of Interior spaces reflects the personality of the client!

I also love to ‘problem solve’ through design. Small or large – choosing colour or resolving a floor plan – the process of design develops an aesthetic and functional solution that can bring about real change in how someone uses that space.

If you could time travel into a design era, where and when would you go?

I would love to meet Charles and Ray Eames, so perhaps the late 1940’a America where boundaries were being pushed in industrial and architectural design, the foundation of much of modern design today.

 What tips do you have for kick-starting your creativity when you are feeling uninspired?

Carve out time.

Often it is as simple as setting aside time and taking yourself outside your familiar territory in order to start to notice inspiration again. Go for a walk – bush or beach. Gather textures, colours. Notice your senses.

In terms of design, visit a space that you enjoy – a gallery, favourite hole-in-the-wall coffee shop, somewhere unassuming. Remember how you feel there?

I do find personal and sensory experiences are the best kick-starter to creativity.

The internet, books and magazines all have their place in flooding you with inspiration. But I strongly believe that authentic design comes from within.

What do you do to stay on top of design trends?

There is no shortage of design inspiration at the press of a button on the internet. I would start by searching quality design publications, national and international. Then design commentary sites such as ‘the design files’ or yellow trace’ here in Australia. And finally Pinterest has a plethora of design images to inspire-away hours!

Another thing that is very important to designers is to stay on top of new product developments. Search product sites, meet with suppliers, visit showrooms and get a feel for how product and technology are changing.

Top tips for being design-savvy within a budget?

Oh I could write pages on this and will save for a full post! But just briefly…

Play with colour in inexpensive ways to update and stay on trend. ie. play with paint colour, soft furnishings, inexpensive art prints/craft projects, plants. Keep expensive details like kitchen and bathroom joinery and large furniture items to a neutral and timeless palette.

Invest in timeless classic pieces. Iconic furniture/lighting and artwork with personality will not date but age gracefully. Spend less on trinkets and more on investment pieces that will last!

Spend less and be more mindful of your purchases. Curate your home, don’t be overwhelmed by the constant task of ‘managing the clutter’!

What do you hope students will take away from your Design workshops?

Firstly I hope they will have lots of fun experimenting and being fearless with design!

That they will take away a greater understanding of what makes an ‘iconic design’ and that they might think about design in a more expansive possibility-filled way.

What are your top 3 tips for teens thinking about pursuing Interior Design as a career?

Firstly, try some taster workshops – get a feel for what a career in ID might look like in a hands-on fun workshop.

Go to university and college open days and always be prepared with lots of questions!

Start ‘training your eye’ by collecting your own design inspiration. Keep a design journal of sketches, images, textures, and other things that inspire your creativity. Follow design blogs and seek design inspiration online (in moderation – it can be a great time-waster!). As you begin to ‘train you eye’ to notice good design and hone your own sense of style, you are on your way to building creative confidence!


WEAVE+WONDER’s Iconic Design workshops will be held at New Farm Library (10 April), Carindale Library (14 April), Brisbane Square Library (15 April) and Kenmore Library (16 April). Bookings are essential and can be made by calling these libraries direct.