5 minutes with DA’s new Christchurch host… Madeline Laffey

1 year ago by

As we have grown over the last ten years, our Auckland-based founder Louise Kellerman has relied on local hosts to be ambassadors and fly the Design Assembly flag in their region. The newest addition to our host team is Christchurch based Madeline Laffey, and we wanted to take 5 minutes to introduce her to you all! Look out for Maddie at our next CHCH event.

Where did you grow up & where did you study?
I grew up in Christchurch and knew from early on I wanted to do something creative, Maths and Science were ditched pretty early on for art subjects!

I studied at Massey University in Wellington, where I completed a Bachelor of Design (Hons).


How many years have you been in the industry and can you tell us a little about the highlights of your career history so far?
I’ve been in the industry for 3 years now. Soon after graduating at Massey I headed over to Melbourne, the city lives and breaths design so it was a great place to immerse yourself in as a young designer. I worked for a start-up digital and creative studio where I was able to work on projects from start to finish which was pretty amazing as a junior.

A memorable project from there would be a new property development in North Melbourne.
The client was very trusting and guided by us which was awesome.

Another highlight would have to be winning a Silver Best Award for my ‘Finalprint’ publication.



Do you have a project that is memorable because it challenged you, but that you ended up loving and being proud of? If so, what lessons did you learn from that project?
Ah yes, there’s a couple of those. I guess the overarching theme has been when nothing seemed to be going right… you just have to trust the process. Lots of research, don’t be sucked into visual trends – do what makes the most sense for the project on hand. And making a conscious effort to step away from the screen, you never know what you might stumble across that will spark that idea.

What are you working on right now?
I’m currently working on a branding project for a new Bar/ Restaurant on Welles St – this pocket of the city is becoming a popular spot with lots of places opening up.

What do you value most about DA?
The community aspect, being able to connect with other visual designers in your city is great. The events and workshops provide an excuse to all get together and catch up.



What excites you about the Christchurch creative scene?
There is always something new popping up, and the city still has that transient feel to it, which keeps it exciting. It’s just a matter of putting yourself out there and getting involved.

How does the environment and or culture there shape your ideas?
We’re pretty lucky to have such an awesome back yard, be at the beach in 30 minutes or another hour and you’re up the ski field. Since I moved back from Australia last year I’ve made an effort to go out and make the most of the outdoors which, for me, helps keep the ideas ticking. I do miss having NGV (National Gallery Victoria) on my doorstep though.

What is the must-do experience you’d recommend to anyone visiting CHCH?
There are some really cool walking or mountain bike trails around the Port Hills and then dinner at 5th Street. Hands down my favourite restaurant in Christchurch, you’re in for a good night.


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