Workshop Speakers

Professor Des Laubscher of Greenside Design Center

Professor Des Laubscher has received a long list of accolades over the course of his career, the most recent being his appointment as Chair of the Pan African Institute of Design (PADI). The inaugural meeting of PADI was held in Winneba, Ghana, during the International Design Educators Conference in February 2019. PADI has chapters in Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast and South Africa. Its mission is to promote innovation, entrepreneurship and professionalism on the African continent using design as a catalyst.

In addition, Professor Laubscher is Vice President of the International Council of Design (ico-D). In this capacity he serves on two working groups for the council, Lifelong Learning and National Design Policies. He is a Past President and Fellow of the International Federation of Interior Architects/Designers (IFI) and a parliamentarian of the federation. IFI represents the interests of designers in 60 countries. Professor Laubscher wrote the IFI Position Paper on Socially Responsible Design.

He also served on the Strategic Planning Committee of IFI and received a lifetime achievement award and a fellowship from the federation at their General Assembly in Kuala Lumpur in 2014. He is a Fellow and was an Executive Board Member of Design for the World, based in Barcelona, Spain, which is a multi-disciplinary organisation concerned with humanitarian aspects of design. In 2001 he was awarded an Honorary Membership of the European Council of Interior Architects for his continued dedication to promoting the profession on an international platform. That same year, he was appointed as Visiting Professor of Design at Nottingham Trent University because of his achievements in promoting socially responsible design on an international level. His appointment was vetted by interior architects in Sweden, Denmark, Australia, Korea and Ireland.

Professor Laubscher has presented papers related to design issues in many countries around the world, including Korea, Japan, Australia, Indonesia, China, the Netherlands, Spain, Denmark, England, Brazil, Chili, Mexico and the USA, to mention a few. He has also been a juror and chair for many design competitions internationally. He curated an exhibition entitled NEWAFRICA which saw South African designs from all disciplines exhibited in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2007.

In 2007 he was instrumental in founding the African Institute of the Interior Design Professions, IID. Under his leadership as President the institute set new standards in professionalism within the industry culminating in professional decorators, designers and interior architects receiving recognition of their titles from the South African Quality Authority (SAQA).

Professor Laubscher is an advisor on design matters for the Department of Arts and Culture in South Africa as well as being on an expert panel formulating a design policy for the government and a national design policy. At present he is working with a team of designers, teachers, the Umalusi Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training, and the Department of Education, to introduce ‘design thinking’ to all programmes at secondary school level. Entrepreneurship is included in the concept of ‘design thinking’.

He is one of the founding members of the Innovative Design Education Africa (IDEA) Collective. He is CEO of Greenside Design Center, College of Design, South Africa, a world-class design education institution he co-founded with Ingrid Leujes in 1987.

100% Workshop Talk Topic: Designing a Lifelong Learning Experience In Order to Remain Relevant

Sjoerd Jan Spiekhout of Steelcase

Since joining Steelcase in 2005, Sjoerd Jan Spiekhout has worked in a variety of roles where he has been responsible for helping Steelcase’s clients around the globe to create great work experiences and use their space as a strategic tool. Over this time, he has developed a real passion for creating spaces that improve engagement, attract and retain talent and support collaboration and innovation.

Spiekhout is currently based in Johannesburg but works closely with the African and international Steelcase teams and local partners across South Africa, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Kenya, Mauritius and other African countries. He has made it his mission to help leading global and local organisations create office environments that seamlessly integrate architecture, furniture and technology solutions and offer real choice and control for their employees to help them reach their full potential.

100% Workshop Talk Topic: Collaborative Workplaces

Nisha van der Hoven of Workshop17 & FuturePart

Nisha van der Hoven is a Johannesburg-based architect with a multi-disciplinary approach to design. Her various interests in architecture, interiors, workspace strategy, furniture, film, research and exhibitions culminate in collaborative and meaningful projects. Drawing inspiration from art, fashion and travel allows her work to oscillate between disciplines.

Van der Hoven’s passion for workplace design has fostered a relationship with Workshop17, a co-working brand focused on people, innovation and collaboration. As their lead architect, she is responsible for the design of their new locations along with their in-house design team.​ Some of Workshop17’s recent projects include Firestation, Rosebank and Tabakhuis, Paarl.

Van der Hoven has a strong belief in learning through experimentation and finding inspiration through the process of making. This approach has manifested in her role as the curator of FuturePart, an agency for rigorous research and experimental trans-disciplinary design thinking within practice. It is a place for new ideas, youthful input and innovation beyond the realm of architecture. 

100% Workshop Talk Topic: Ergonomics in Collaborative Workspaces

Josie King of Formfunc Studio

Josie King is a certified Ergonomist at Formfunc Studio (Pty) Ltd in Johannesburg, where she implements Ergonomics into the workplace by using a holistic view. This approach allows her to contextualise all factors and apply Ergonomics in a variety of possible situations.

King graduated with distinction from her MSc degree in Human Kinetics and Ergonomics. Working in the field has allowed her to gain a greater understanding of the relevant Ergonomic principles and components as well as Anatomy, Anthropometry, Biomechanics, Cognition and Physiology, which feed into a solid foundation of wellness in the workplace. 

100% Workshop Talk Topic: Ergonomics in Collaborative Workspaces

Ivan Lin of LINSPACE

Ivan Lin has been practising as an Audio Visual Strategies and Acoustic Consulting Engineer since 1992. He is a member of the Audio Engineering Society, the Engineering Council of South Africa, the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers and the South African Acoustic Institute.

Lin graduated from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering at the University of Witwatersrand, and has since been a director of International Television Services (ITV), Pro Acoustic Devices, Pro Acoustic Consortium and Pro Acoustic Consulting Engineers (PACE). He now heads up LINSPACE, consulting in the fields of Architectural Acoustics, Audio-Visual (AV)and Space Enabling.

Lin was the lead consultant for the South African Parliament Chamber Electronic Refurbishment Project and the National Inter-legislature Video-conferencing Network Project. He has served as an Acoustics and AV strategy consultant to the United Nations offices in Nairobi, to the Tanzanian Parliament, and to various provincial legislatures in South Africa including Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State, amongst others.

He has consulted to various local government entities such as the Department of Education, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Foreign Affairs, the South African Reserve Bank and the Development Bank of Southern Africa. He has also advised on a large number of local and international corporate office projects, including Microsoft, Facebook, Google, SAP, Nedbank, Barclays, ABSA, FNB, Standard Bank, SASOL, JSE, Anglo American, Standard Charter Bank, MTN and Vodacom.

Lin has assisted the Green Building Council SA with the drafting of acoustic credits for the Green Star Office Tool V1, Interior Tool Pilot and Performance Tool Pilot. He lectures on the subjects of User Experience-Driven Design, Purpose-Driven Design and Space Enabling Process. Being an active advocate for the User Experience-Driven Design (UEDD) concept, Lin assists commercial institutions in developing Facility Acoustic Performance Manuals to define measurable facility environmental performance targets based on expected user-experience definitions.

Based on the UEDD approach, Lin developed the first interactive South African National Parliament Chamber Delegate System in 2003. This is the first interactive touchscreen system with instant access to multi- language interpretation and information retrieval. The chamber audio system was also designed to have the capacity for visual and audio image position correlation. Most recently, the same UEDD and ICT design approach was successfully applied in the Johannesburg Council Chamber Project where Lin was the Architectural Acoustics and Chamber AV system design consultant.

Lin conceived the Intelligent Adaptive Multi-Zone Sound Masking (IAMSM) concept in 2003. To date, The IAMSM systems can be found deployed across most major banking institutions and financial services companies in South Africa.

100% Workshop Talk Topic: Acoustics in Collaborative Workplaces

John Hicks from TA Walling

John Hicks has been active in the architectural acoustic sector in Sub Saharan Africa for over 14 years. Since 2005 he has specialised in local acoustic product development for the treatment of acoustic challenges in the commercial office space. He is a go-to supplier for acoustic engineers, architects and interior designers, providing a local alternative that meets the technical needs of their projects.

Moving from humble beginnings as a regional representative at the licenced manufacturer Pelican Systems, he is now a business owner at TA Walling Solutions & JAG Consulting PTY Ltd in partnership with Guy Kenyon. Hicks has built a world-class crew of project managers and installation teams to support the ever-evolving industry. With a keen understanding of challenges such as sound transgression, reverberation and echo, he has developed, alongside professionals like Ivan Lin, products that are functional and bring aesthetic appeal to the fore.

Innovation is one of the key strengths that Hicks brings to the table. He has worked on office projects like the Amazon and Discovery Head Offices, as well as campuses for Google, Microsoft and many other big corporate companies, getting great results and reviews.

Haldane Martin

Iconic South African designer, Haldane Martin is renowned for work with a powerful sense of identity. His furniture designs are heralded as culturally significant contributions to the South African design language & his innovative hospitality interior concepts have drawn international acclaim. 

Türker Vardar of Steelcase

Türker Vardar joined Steelcase as a Dealer Business Manager for Turkey and Israel in 2014. While he has helped corporate clients to create better workplace experiences, he also had the opportunity to work with educational institutions, supporting them with changing their learning environments to adapt to the new ways of learning and teaching.

Vardar collaborated with one of the leading universities in Turkey on implementing their first active learning center, which tracks the movement of the furniture and student behaviour. He has also worked closely with municipalities in Israel to assist them with executing their higher education strategies in terms of active learning spaces.

Vardar has been living in Johannesburg since January 2019 and works as a Strategic Account Manager for the Sub-Saharan Africa region.

Michelle de Nysschen from Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA)

Michelle de Nysschen is the Membership and Stakeholder Relations Manager at the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) and has been with the organisation since May 2017. De Nysschen graduated from Kuswag and is a strong community and social services professional who excels at building lasting working relationships.

She sees the best part of her profession as creating strategic direction and solutions for each of her clients. As a result, she has become equally skilled at project management and stakeholder engagement.

De Nysschen has been in the property industry since 2010, where she worked on project-managing social-impact projects. She joined the GBCSA after being provided with the opportunity to be part of a social and environmental catalyst through the promotion of green building principles.

Since then she has secured R1.5 million in grant funding to develop a green building training course for SMEs's. During her time at GBCSA she has also established a Corporate Social Investment department where she has managed a R17 million development sector for public use.

In the coming years she would like to see an even stronger corporate and public sector representation among GBCSA members. Her next goal is to build an even stronger homeowner representation. She believes it is important to promote and educate end-users on the importance of building and operating their properties along green principles that will not only have a positive impact on the environment but also reduce their running costs.

Anthony Orelowitz from Paragon Group

Anthony Orelowitz is the Director of Paragon Group. He completed his B. Arch in 1990 and his MBA in 1994 at the University of the Witwatersrand, specialising in Property Finance. He has been in private practice since 1996, and co-founded Paragon Architects (Pty) Ltd in October 1997 with Henning Rasmuss.

In 2002, he acquired Tectoniqua (Pty) Ltd with Marilize van Dyk and Henning Rasmuss. Rebranded as Paragon Interface in 2009, this entity concentrates on commercial interior architecture, often working in synergy with Paragon Architects. In 2013, Anthony formed Paragon Architects South Africa with Henning Rasmuss and Thulani Sibande.

His experience as a property financier at Standard Bank has afforded him valuable insight into structured project finance, the imperatives of budgetary controls, and accountability towards clients and project stakeholders. Orelowitz’s core expertise is as design director and project principal on complex and fast-track projects that rely on cost engineering and workshopped construction solutions.

With design and value engineering as his key skills, he works with the Paragon team to ensure cost-efficient delivery of technically complex architectural solutions such as the Sasol building on Katherine Street in Sandton, Johannesburg. He is committed to driving leadership in innovation, and his projects have pioneered the use of various material systems including unitized panels, double-glazed units, and paper-thin stone tiles.

Orelowitz has the ability to work flexibly in any type of team constellation and, as a good communicator, adds value to team-based development processes. He believes in the importance of empowering Paragon’s staff to take control and ownership of projects. This consultative approach has benefitted the company as it continues to grow. In addition, he is committed to mentoring, working with students at Paragon and serving time as an external examiner.

Claire D’Adorante from Paragon Interface

Claire D’Adorante is currently an Associate Director at Paragon Interface and has nearly 20 years of professional experience in the interior design industry, working across multiple design environments in the corporate workplace, retail, residential, healthcare and education sectors.

She holds a BA Honours Degree from Greenside Design Centre, obtained in 2001. She began her career in commercial interiors, then explored the world of retail and residential interiors, but ultimately returned to her roots in commercial and workplace design.

Travelling to Australia in 2007, D’Adorante worked for a large multi-disciplinary practice there for six years. This experience, within an exacting and demanding working environment, helped to grow her personal design style and experience level.

Returning to South Africa in 2012, D’Adorante took on the role of Director at Paragon Interface. She has gone from strength to strength, securing two of the largest fitout projects in the country in recent times, namely, the new Head Office for Sasol (70,000m2) and the new Discovery Campus (110,000m2).

Annie Modena from Modena AEC & Infrastructure

Annie Modena is currently the Sales Director at Modena AEC & Infrastructure, and has fulfilled this role since July 2016. Modena is a specialist in the business of design and provides solutions for Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Infrastructure, Manufacturing, Business Optimisation, Media and Entertainment. The company is South Africa’s leading Design Technology Consulting firm and the largest Autodesk Partner in Africa.

Winner of numerous achievement awards, Modena employs more than 70 skilled personnel with the expertise and experience to analyse needs, then recommend, implement and support the world’s best design technology solutions. The company is a go-to for the distribution of specialised interior design software programmes and visualisation aids such as AutoCad, 3D Modelling and Revit.

Modena also offers extensive training modules and partner products. The company has recently partnered with Eagle Point to offer e-learning to its customers via the Pinnacle Series, which is a complete Autodesk Learning and Productivity solution. Modena’s Sales Director will be providing a live demonstration of the power of Revit at 100% Design South Africa.