DesignInc has completely altered its Melbourne leadership team, with the internal promotions of five members of staff, reflecting the confidence the practice has in its people and to increase the diversity of styles and viewpoints within the studio.

Jane Sayers and Kieran Leong have been appointed as Principals, while Cameron Smith, Michelle Harris and Simon McKeown have all been elevated to the position of Senior Associate. 

DesignInc Directors, Christon Batey-Smith, Stephen Webb and Rohan Wilson say in a collective statement that the new roles reflect each person's capability to lead and deliver large-scale projects, collaborate with other practices, and interface with clients and stakeholders.

"The promotions announced today reflect a strategy we set in train 18 months ago, to create clearer pathways for career progression and more opportunities for our people within DesignInc to grow and evolve as leaders." 

New Principal, Jane Sayers, says she is intent on delivering buildings that enhance the wellbeing of its occupants across a broader portfolio of projects. 

“Elevating design excellence and leadership of healthy buildings with biophilic design principles will be at the core of my new role,” she says. 

“My strength is to develop and interpret the design intent, making sure that the conceptual framework is fully realised and guides our design decisions.”

Kieran Leong is fast gaining a reputation for pursuing excellence in healthy buildings, combining high-level sustainability targets with biophilic design and people-focused connections. Leading DesignInc's Glenroy Community Hub, Kieran anticipates the building will be Australia's first Passive House and Living Building Challenge community project when it opens early next year.

“My job is to ensure that DesignInc delivers on creating healthy buildings. My first-hand involvement with projects allows me to constantly be learning from our successes and challenges; raising the bar for excellence as we go,” he says.

All three new Senior Associates have been promoted from Associate level, are registered architects, and have been with DesignInc for over five years. 

Cameron Smith has been responsible for delivering many of DesignInc's most challenging buildings. He contributes across diverse aspects of projects, steering design, managing resourcing, client relations and construction delivery. 

“Complex fast-moving projects that demand agility and problem-solving skills are the jobs I enjoy most. Having the versatility to straddle roles and support the entire team to perform at their best is my speciality,” he says. 

Michelle Harris has a passion for community and local government projects. Keenly aware of the opportunities afforded an architect working on community buildings, she is driven by the power of imagining how the people using a space will feel. Harris’ new role will include leading professional development for the DesignInc team. 

“We have a responsibility in our work, not just for the clients who engage us or the stakeholders who talk to us, but also to the larger cohort of people that we might never meet who will be using the building daily. Every one of them is important,” she says.

Simon McKeown's role as a Senior Associate will see him focus on buildability delivered through accurate and robust yet subtle detailing that often works best when it is unseen. McKeown’s role includes training and mentoring across DesignInc's Melbourne studio to nurture the junior members of staff. 

The new Senior Associate says he will share his technical capabilities with the team and reinforce design culture within the garden city studio.

“Growing our practice-wide sustainability and practical skills helps DesignInc to deliver on our goal for healthy buildings,” he says. 

Image: From left to right: Cameron Smith, Kieran Leong, Simon McKeown, Jane Sayers, Michelle Harris. / Supplied.