Meet our Friends . . . Diadem

3 weeks ago by

‘Meet our Friends’ series is where we take a moment to celebrate and share a little about the diverse studios who make up our DA Friends. Today we spoke to our friends, Diadem, to learn more about their team, culture, and work.

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Where are you based and what shape does the Diadem team take? 

Diadem is an integrated practice which shapes brands for the built environment.

Since 2000, we have helped people communicate, navigate and engage with branded spaces around the world. 

Over the last twenty-four years, we’ve led projects across Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific. Our team of 80 professionals is spread across New Zealand and Australia, servicing projects on both sides of the ditch. 

Our designers come from a multitude of design disciplines, from communication and industrial design to branded environments. The team also includes architects, design engineers and design managers.

Photos of the Diadem team and studio at work

Can you share with us what a typical day at your studio looks like?

We are a large team spread throughout the region, so we gather at the start of each week to touch base with each other and share news on projects, wins, and what has been happening in our professional and private lives. 

Each month, we dedicate time to a deeper dive into individual projects, sharing lunch as we go. We look out for exhibitions and events in the broader community that may be of interest or contribute to our design education. 

It’s a very collaborative and ‘hands-on’ culture. Daily, we meet to share ideas, stretch our thinking, print out samples to test our ideas and make models to see how our designs take shape. It’s a lively environment where our team comes together to conceptualise and realise the best solutions, all with the core goal of creating connections and enabling great user experiences.

Photos of some of Diadem's recent projects

What projects have you been working on recently?

HomeGround Auckland City Mission

TePae Christchurch Convention Centre

New Zealand Maritime Museum

Auckland Museum

Hamilton Airport

Bowen Campus, Wellington

Photos of Diadem's design process

What does the Diadem’s design process and philosophy look like?

We strive to lead with purpose. For us, this means delivering enduring solutions that are equitable and sustainable at their core. We believe we are responsible for total societal impacts well beyond our operations.

Our Design Charter sums it up … “Our design process digs deeply into the problem; we simplify the complex, generate self-evident solutions and achieve them through applying innovative solutions from the strangest places.”

“We take our work personally … we invite everyone to make it better … we share feedback with an open mind … we solve problems in the real world … we strive for excellence in design solutions … we truly collaborate … we nurture the development of our team.”

Favourite tools in the studio to help your team manage the day-to-day?

Our day-to-day is a delicate balance of Nerf guns and noise-cancelling headphones. Bad jokes and boutique beverages round out a hard week of crafting greatness.

But seriously, the diversity of expertise within our team is our greatest tool. The delicate tension of skillsets within our studio delivers optimum design solutions. There aren’t many problems that someone in our 80-strong team won’t have solved before and it’s amazing to have that depth of knowledge to lean on when you need it. 

Photos of some of Diadem's recent acheivements

What recent achievements or projects are you most proud of?

It has been fulfilling to see our wayfinding and signage solutions for Te Pae (Christchurch Convention Centre) realised, particularly as the process from strategy to implementation took five years. 

We are proud of our work at HomeGround (Auckland City Mission) and how our design solutions contribute to making a welcoming, homely, and inclusive place.

Where to next for Diadem, what is your team working towards for 2024/25 

2024/25 will see us continue to focus on creating meaningful connections between people, places and brands. To collaborate with our clients in understanding the holistic experience they are striving to achieve for their customers and providing innovative solutions. 

We’re on a mission to transform our industry’s approach to sustainability. So, in February this year we kicked off a companywide circular economy challenge. 10 groups made up of our staff across our 6 offices are tasked with exploring, developing and collaborating on areas that will address a particular area of our industry with the aim of transitioning them to circular.  We will be presenting our findings in the July, with projects chosen for implementation carrying on through this year where we will be looking for funding to scale them.

We’re coming off a mammoth few months for our NZ team as many projects came to fruition at the same time so we’re growing our team and bolstering capability to support the needs of new projects and locations. 

2025 will bring our twenty-fifth birthday as a company so it would be rude not to get together to celebrate that incredible milestone with everyone. 

Lastly, where can people connect with you on socials?

Website – diadem.co

LinkedIn – linkedin.com/company/diadem-ddm-pty-ltd/

Instagram – instagram.com/diadem_ddm/

Facebook – facebook.com/DiademDDM


New around here? Consider joining the fam as a DA Friend for 2024.


We have membership types for all size designers – from the student through to large studios. Your DA membership helps to support the Aotearoa design community and gives you discounts to our workshops and events along with profiling opportunities throughout the year.

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