ross mcleod and denis smitka


Double Agent was a collaborative industrial design and interior design studio. Through the exploration of the relationship between objects and spaces and the development of a contextual framework from which to position the act of design, the studio sought to shed light on both the differences and commonalities between the two disciplines.

Students investigated a range of typologies of objects (proprietary items, appliances, collectibles, one-off/limited editions, mass produced items, building products, furniture and systems) and identified their connections with different kinds of spaces (domestic, hospitality, office, public, institutional, retail, cultural and transport hubs).

Working both individually and collaboratively students were asked to question issues of use, context, cultural meaning, production techniques and quantity in order to develop an informed critical standpoint from which to make design decisions. These synergies between objects and spaces, industrial and interior design and between the two groups of students drove the agendas of the studio.

The relationship between the two disciplines and the diverse working methods and generative design processes employed by the two groups of students was both a source of enlightenment and frustration. However the meeting of the programmatic concerns of interior design with the attention to detail and manufacturing techniques of industrial design saw the development of a range of deeply original and thoroughly resolved projects.

Final projects included the design of

  • a kindergarten furniture/ toy called the P-nut
  • a short stay ward at the Royal Children's Hospital
  • an architectural hardware system which folded out to become roof structures and tables for transforming laneways into ‘hole in the wall' cafes
  • new solutions for cafe, table and picnic ware
  • a GPS navigational device fitted into the helmets of motorcycle riders
  • an automated 24 hour fashion retail chain.

Double Agent succeeded in highlighting the depth of skills and scope of thinking required by a designer to respond to the cultural and technological demands of our age and worked as an illustration of the realities of the collaborative creative environment in which designers face day to day.