Design Excellence Forum

(Lower Town Hall)

Thank you, Graham, and welcome, everyone, to this special forum. I would like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of this land, and I pay my respects to the Elders, both past and present.

I would also like to warmly welcome tonight's guest, Marc Newson, and Jenny Brockie, who will discuss issues of design and the city environment.

Most of you here will be aware of the very strong commitment we at the City of Sydney have made to design excellence, and these forums are one way of exploring how we can lift our city to the next level.

Interestingly, the term 'design excellence' in relation to city design and building design, was first coined by the City of Sydney in the mid 1990s at a time when it was not in common use.

We pursue that goal through these Design Excellence forums, through the work of our Design Advisory Panel and a Public Art Advisory Panel, both of which include some of Sydney's best creative and design thinkers, and through events such as Art & About which draw on local creativity and stimulate awareness and debate.

Design is not an optional add-on at the end of a process. Rather, it is integral to the quality of our urban environment as much as it is to the quality of an individual object.

It is creativity bent to beauty, economy, efficiency and functionality, and when all those elements are fused in a single outcome, design can be inspirational and a source of pleasure and delight.

It requires thinking outside the traditional parameters - a boldness and a willingness to ask the basic questions that can provide new and startling answers.

I believe Sydney has a rich resource of creative talent, gifted with that boldness and willingness. And Marc Newson exemplifies these qualities.

As Graham mentioned, his initial training was at Sydney College of the Arts, where he is now an adjunct professor, and I am proud to say that he will be the City's Creative Director for Sydney New Year's Eve 2011.

We will hear more about his plan for that fabulous global event later in the year, but meanwhile it is a very great pleasure to welcome Marc Newson to this forum, in conversation with Jenny Brockie.