The Brisbane Design Duo With A Human-Centred Approach

Studio Visit

It’s surely every architect and designer’s dream to work from a thorough, clearly articulated design brief. But creating the ultimate brief is easier said than done.

Based in a newly renovated garden studio, Suzie Wiley and Laura Pascoe are  – a human-centred design consultancy in Brisbane, who offer a progressive ‘plug-in’ service to assist architects, clients and builders with the challenge of nailing the perfect brief.

12th March, 2019

Surroundings’ Brisbane HQ. Photo – for Btslive.

The duo behind the trailblazing consultancy. Photo – for Btslive.

Photo – for Btslive.

Photo – for Btslive.

Photo – for Btslive.

Photo – for Btslive.

Surroundings hosted Brisbane Open House in October 2018 to do their Surroundings Home Masterclass. Photo – .

Brisbane Open House undertake the Surroundings Home Masterclass. Photo – .

Workshop details. Photo – Jon Henzell.

A recent custom-designed ‘Design and creative thinking’ workshop for Aesop, which was part of one of their strategic retreats held in the gardens of the Heide Museum. Photo – Jon Henzell.

‘Design and creative thinking’ workshop for Aesop. Photo – Jon Henzell.

Adjoining Surroundings’ Studio space is the Edgecliff Treehouse, which is available to rent . Photo – .

Edgecliff Treehouse, which is available to rent . Photo – .

Edgecliff Treehouse. Photo – .

Edgecliff Treehouse. Photo – .

Edgecliff Treehouse. Photo – .

Jo Hoban
Tuesday 12th March 2019

‘These days, building, legislation, and humans are more complex.’ – Suzie Wiley.

Suzie Wiley and Laura Pascoe are the multi-faceted creatives behind , a human-centred design consultancy based in Brisbane.  Both experienced architects, the pair facilitate workshops that bring together diverse people involved in residential and commercial renovation and build projects, to stimulate discussion and share ideas in a supportive environment. The goal is to define a ‘human brief’ that complements a functional architectural brief, and to enhance connections between everyone involved in a project, from its earliest stages.

As Suzie describes it: ‘these days, building, legislation, and humans are more complex. It’s often too much for an architect to delve into, especially with increased fee pressure. So we’ve chosen one bit and we’re doing it really well as a speciality – a separate consultancy that’s plugged in to offer support.’

Laura and Suzie customise their workshops to suit each project. Essentially, though, each session is filled with guided brainstorming exercises, doodling, and face-to-face discussion, to uncover the nitty gritty of how people experience different spaces in varied scenarios. They remind people that they are the experts on themselves and their preferences (trust yo’self!) and that a broad range of voices will produce a more inclusive design. Kids, family and close friends are even welcome at residential workshops.

The pair first decided to join forces back in 2011. Suzie had started Surroundings as a residential architecture practice a few years prior, and upon meeting Laura the chemistry was instant. The business has evolved organically, gathering particular momentum with their human-centred approach over the last couple of years.

Aligning with all of this, is the evolution of their unique new garden workspace – the renovated undercroft of Suzie’s Queenslander home in Highgate Hill! Both women were inspired by childhood time spent making things in workshops underneath houses with their parents. ‘This garden studio is my “take” on a creative space under a house,’ says Suzie.

Originally a couple of closed-in rooms amid the dirt, Suzie removed internal walls, as well as an entire room from the upper floor, to create an atrium that introduces abundant natural light. This, combined with extending the timber floor and selectively adding walls, enabled the creation of a delightful indoor/outdoor, open-plan studio. With a host of flourishing greenery, this airy and adaptable wonderland is the perfect space to help nurture their business into its next exciting phase of development.

For more about Surroundings and their workshops, visit their  and follow their Instagram . They also now offer .

Keep an eye out for an extended version of this story on  and .

This Week

Architecture

The Joyful Renovation Of A 1940s Home

A sensitive and surprising renovation to a 1940s brick home in Ascot Vale by Taylor Knights.
Miriam McGarry

Studio Visit

New Work From A Favourite Local Artist, Super-Charged With Colour + Pattern

Melbourne-based artist Gavin Brown opens a new exhibition of works today, inspired by the sights, flavours, and moods of travels through Asi...
Elle Murrell

Architecture

A House Revived From The 1990s

CO-AP Architects boldly re-imagine a 1990s semi-detached home in Balmain, Sydney.
Miriam McGarry

Interiors

The Winners Of The Belle Coco Republic Interior Design Awards

Take a deep dive into the Belle Coco Republic Interior Design Awards for 2019, announced last night in Sydney.

Modernist Australia

A Rare Opportunity In Melbourne's 'Bagel Belt'

A five-bedroom 1970's gem in Caulfield North, and it's for sale!
Patricia Callan

News

A Dreamy Reflection On 'Radiant Nature'

Responding to residencies in Turin, Portugal and Bariloche; Melbourne-based artist Ria Green captures the light and landscape.

Sustainability

The Australian Film Tackling The Greatest Issue Of Our Time

Director Damon Gameau discusses his inspiring climate change documentary, '2040', as it hits cinemas – kids watch for free this weekend!
Elle Murrell

Homes

From Caterpillar To Butterfly - A Truly Transformed Home!

Take a tour through the incredible Sydney home Terri Winter of top3 by design shares with her family.

News

A Unique New Line Of Meticulously Handwoven Bags

Introducing George – a limited collection of bags exploring the relationship between object, material, and human interaction.
Sally Tabart

Art

The Local Gallery That's ‘Light Years’ Ahead

Sydney’s Michael Reid Gallery celebrates lightbox photography with a pioneering new exhibition.
Elle Murrell

Architecture

A Sustainable Home, Designed To Connect To Community

The sunny and generous renovation of a California Bungalow in Northcote, by Gardiner Architects.
Miriam McGarry

In Print

A New Monograph Celebrating One Of Australia's Most Captivating Female Artists

As the new book series Mini Monographs hits shelves, we offer a look inside the first volume, honouring bold painter Del Kathryn Barton.
Sarah Darmody

Art

Robin Boyd, A Portrait Of An Australian House

Photographers Lauren Bamford and Lydia Wegner capture the legacy of Robin Boyd, in a new exhibition at Monash Gallery of Art.
Miriam McGarry

News

Exploring Colour + Pace Through 'Blue And Green Music'

A brilliant new exhibition from Sally Lee Anderson takes cues from an evocative Georgia O’Keeffe painting.
Sally Tabart

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life Of Melissa Leong, Food Writer + TV Presenter

We spend a day with the multifaceted foodie, who has recently made the move from Sydney to Melbourne!

Similar Stories

Studio Visit

The Brisbane Design Duo With A Human-Centred Approach

Introducing Surroundings, Brisbane's specialist consultancy that's championing human-centred design and getting us all thinking!
Jo Hoban

Studio Visit

The Brisbane Design Duo With A Human-Centred Approach

Introducing Surroundings, Brisbane's specialist consultancy that's championing human-centred design and getting us all thinking!
Jo Hoban

Studio Visit

The Brisbane Design Duo With A Human-Centred Approach

Introducing Surroundings, Brisbane's specialist consultancy that's championing human-centred design and getting us all thinking!
Jo Hoban

This Week

Architecture

A House Revived From The 1990s

CO-AP Architects boldly re-imagine a 1990s semi-detached home in Balmain, Sydney.
Miriam McGarry

Sustainability

The Australian Film Tackling The Greatest Issue Of Our Time

Director Damon Gameau discusses his inspiring climate change documentary, '2040', as it hits cinemas – kids watch for free this weekend!
Elle Murrell

Art

The Local Gallery That's ‘Light Years’ Ahead

Sydney’s Michael Reid Gallery celebrates lightbox photography with a pioneering new exhibition.
Elle Murrell

Modernist Australia

A Rare Opportunity In Melbourne's 'Bagel Belt'

A five-bedroom 1970's gem in Caulfield North, and it's for sale!
Patricia Callan

News

A Unique New Line Of Meticulously Handwoven Bags

Introducing George – a limited collection of bags exploring the relationship between object, material, and human interaction.
Sally Tabart

Interiors

The Winners Of The Belle Coco Republic Interior Design Awards

Take a deep dive into the Belle Coco Republic Interior Design Awards for 2019, announced last night in Sydney.

News

A Dreamy Reflection On 'Radiant Nature'

Responding to residencies in Turin, Portugal and Bariloche; Melbourne-based artist Ria Green captures the light and landscape.

News

Exploring Colour + Pace Through 'Blue And Green Music'

A brilliant new exhibition from Sally Lee Anderson takes cues from an evocative Georgia O’Keeffe painting.
Sally Tabart

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life Of Melissa Leong, Food Writer + TV Presenter

We spend a day with the multifaceted foodie, who has recently made the move from Sydney to Melbourne!

Studio Visit

New Work From A Favourite Local Artist, Super-Charged With Colour + Pattern

Melbourne-based artist Gavin Brown opens a new exhibition of works today, inspired by the sights, flavours, and moods of travels through Asi...
Elle Murrell

Homes

From Caterpillar To Butterfly - A Truly Transformed Home!

Take a tour through the incredible Sydney home Terri Winter of top3 by design shares with her family.

Architecture

A Sustainable Home, Designed To Connect To Community

The sunny and generous renovation of a California Bungalow in Northcote, by Gardiner Architects.
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

The Joyful Renovation Of A 1940s Home

A sensitive and surprising renovation to a 1940s brick home in Ascot Vale by Taylor Knights.
Miriam McGarry

In Print

A New Monograph Celebrating One Of Australia's Most Captivating Female Artists

As the new book series Mini Monographs hits shelves, we offer a look inside the first volume, honouring bold painter Del Kathryn Barton.
Sarah Darmody

Art

Robin Boyd, A Portrait Of An Australian House

Photographers Lauren Bamford and Lydia Wegner capture the legacy of Robin Boyd, in a new exhibition at Monash Gallery of Art.
Miriam McGarry

Similar Stories

Studio Visit

The Brisbane Design Duo With A Human-Centred Approach

Introducing Surroundings, Brisbane's specialist consultancy championing human-centred design.
Jo Hoban

Studio Visit

The Brisbane Design Duo With A Human-Centred Approach

Introducing Surroundings, Brisbane's specialist consultancy championing human-centred design.
Jo Hoban

Studio Visit

The Brisbane Design Duo With A Human-Centred Approach

Introducing Surroundings, Brisbane's specialist consultancy that's championing human-centred design and getting us all thinking!
Jo Hoban