VIC/TAS Branch

Getting involved with the Victoria Tasmania Branch is a great way to cultivate community spirit, with the added benefit of meeting and networking with other local designers and design educators.

Victoria and Tasmania have a rich and diverse design culture. From large practices with expertise across design disciplines to medium size and boutique studios, our aim is to create events that foster strong links with our broad membership and provide opportunities for continuing professional development (CPD), connection with industry peers and the design education sector.

We actively work to raise the profile of the Design Institute of Australia (DIA) and our dynamic community of design professionals and emerging designers. Through the many events we champion and our links with state government, we continually strive to increase awareness of the economic advantages of good design from the individual client to the corporate client and beyond.

Branch Events

Branch News

Local Partners

Council Members

  • Valerie Mack FDIA
    President; National Councillor

    As a practicing Interior Designer for some 20 years, Valerie’s folio encompasses the delivery of many significant projects throughout Australia & Asia in hospitality, commercial developments, corporate workplaces, residential and retail. She is currently Principal Interiors for Group GSA’s Melbourne design studio. Valerie has been on the Victoria Tasmania Council for 6 years and a National Councillor for 5 years. Her main focus is the SPACE group (encompassing Interior Design, Interior Decorating, & Exhibition Design) with a focus on continuing professional development of professional designers. Valerie is a strong supporter of student members and Emerging Designers, has lectured in design at tertiary level, and supports emerging designers through involvement with the DIA Graduate of the Year Awards. In 2014 the Design Institute of Australia recognised Valerie with a Fellowship [FDIA)

  • Mike Chijoff FDIA
    Vice President

    Mike is the founder of industrial design consultancy Chijoff+Co. He has extensive experience in product design and development, design education, production, supply chain and logistics. Mike is a strong believer in collaboration and works with clients, staff, suppliers and networks to create new thinking across a variety of industries. He has been awarded local and international awards and is actively engaged in promoting design. In short, Mike loves to build stuff, figure it out and make it work.

  • Claire Beale FDIA
    National Councillor; Immediate Past President

    Claire is a Melbourne based textile designer, design educator and Program Manager of the BA Textile Design degree program in the School of Fashion & Textiles at RMIT University, Melbourne. She has a Grad Cert in Tertiary Teaching and Learning, BA’s in Fine Art (Hons) and Textile Design, and is undertaking a practice-led PhD exploring Conversation and ideation in cross disciplinary project management and curation: An investigation into the changing roles of the designer.

    Claire is also the Immediate Past President of the Design Institute of Australia (DIA) Victoria Tasmania Council and one of the DIA’s National Directors. She collaborates with a strong team on the DIA Council to deliver transdisciplinary events and activities for design professionals with a focus on enjoying our working lives, succeeding in the business of design, and advancing the reputation of Australia as a Design Nation.

    Her wide ranging experience in the fashion and textile industries encompasses design education, commercial and bespoke design services, trend forecasting, visual merchandising, marketing, product development and retail operations.

  • Xisca Mairata MDIA

    Xisca holds a first class honours degree in Industrial Design from RMIT University, in which she majored in Interaction Design. Her fascination with how we interact in a digital space has lead her to a position as Experience Designer at Conversant Asia Pacific, a boutique leadership development consultancy. As a practicing experience designer she is deeply immersed in this emerging and evolving field; as a leadership development designer she sees the direct application of design thinking in corporations around the world. She believes experience design has a strong part to play in the future of design, and so, the future of society.

  • Luca Abate MDIA

    Luca is an industrial designer at award winning video technology company Blackmagic Design. He previously worked as a senior design consultant with Charlwood Design developing products for a diverse range of clients and industries including medical, homewares and electronics. A multifaceted designer, his career has spanned business development, marketing as well as a product design role with the Ford Motor Company. He has also lectured a number of industrial design courses and workshops with RMIT University.

  • Daniella Casamento FDIA

    Daniella is a graduate of Interior Design at RMIT University and completed a Master of Journalism at Monash University in 2013. Daniella has over 20 years experience designing for small to large scale projects across a range of sectors and established her interior design practice, DCID, in 2007 after working at leading architecture and interior design companies. Daniella joined Council in 2013 and was curator of Women In Design, an exhibition and satellite event of the NGV Melbourne Now in 2014. She coordinated the 2014 DIA Victoria Tasmania Graduate of the Year Awards and spoke at the inaugural Women in Design colloquium at Design Tasmania. Daniella combines her design practice with freelance writing.

  • Raffaela Arena-Cairney MDIA

    Raffaela is a graduate of Interior Design & Decoration at RMIT University. With more than 20 years’ as a client relations professional Raffaela draws on her experience in management and design to deliver superior service standards, promote professional image and present seamless and effortless solutions to client and stakeholder needs.

  • Ian Wong FDIA
    Councillor; China Representative

    Ian is an industrial designer with over 25 years of professional practice experience. Ian is Program Director - Master of Industrial Design at MADA Monash University. This double masters degree is delivered at the SouthEast University-Monash University Joint Graduate School Suzhou in China. Ian has worked previously as design manager for Outerspace Design and Silvan Australia, and lectured also at RMIT and Swinburne Universities. Ian has curated many exhibitions on Industrial Design in Victoria including BlackBOX – Design and Innovation at World Expo in Milan 2015. Ian is a director of EJO Design and President of Melbourne Movement.

  • Fiona Austin FDIA

    Fiona established Austin Design Associates 17 years ago, specialising in residential interior design. After completing her education in fine art and design, she worked for several interior design magazines, including Home Beautiful, The Period Home Renovator and The Age Home section, as well as practicing as an interior designer. Previous experience includes working at the Stonehenge Group before establishing her own design practice.

    Fiona enjoys working in collaboration with her clients, builders, cabinet makers, architects and building designers. Austin Design Associates has a particular interest in space planning, overall design outcomes and individual detailing to make each project distinctive.

    Fiona also has a passion for 1950’s - 60’s architecture - particularly in Beaumaris. She is married to a design academic and has two sons, one of whom is studying Communication design. Fiona has been a member of the Design Institute since 1983.

  • Andrew Francis MDIA
    Councillor; Tasmanian Liasion

    Andrew has accumulated 25 years of experience in design and project management within the commercial fitout and construction industry encompassing a varied range of projects requiring utilisation of skills in report formulation, time & cost programming, design & aesthetics, detailing & documentation, code & statutory compliance, and administration & supervision.

    Andrew also has involvement with the University of Tasmania as a Sessional Lecturer and Tutor at the School of Architecture + Design and has focused on topics ranging across Building Design Technology, Interior Lighting and Acoustics, Healthy Interior Environments and the National Construction Code along with Australian Standards, Access to Premises Standards and Environmental Ratings Tools.

  • Carole Whiting

  • Lara Johnston

  • Francesca Linger
    VIC/TAS Branch Administrator