If you only had 24-hours to come up with a design, how would you spend those hours? SONA’s SuperStudio competition was on this weekend, where participants were given a brief at 7pm on Friday and they had 24 hours to dissect this brief, come up with a proposal and prepare a presentation. This year it was held at the University of Melbourne for the state of Victoria, so some-100 students gathered at the Melbourne School of Design to try their luck at being eligible to win the national prize, a trip to the 2018 Venice Biennial. Each team of three would have had their own approach for the 24-hour competition, but the following is how our little group went about it.

7:00pm _ 24 hours to go
We found a spot on level two in the MSD building and we started to read through the brief and try and understand what they were asking us to do.

7:45:00pm _ 23 hours, 15 minutes to go
We relocated to a private room, and started to decided which parts of the brief to tackle. Broad ideas were shared, sketches blobbed on the whiteboard and discussions were had.

8:30pm _ 22 hours, 30 minutes to go
We came up with a basic idea which all of us were happy to explore and develop. I texted a friend to enquire about magnets.

9:30pm _ 21 hours, 30 minutes to go
After spending the last hour working on the mechanics and the ins-and-outs of our design, we snagged a tutor to get their feedback on our idea.

10:00pm _ 21 hours to go
The tutor left and while we were happy to keep the idea, we went back to think more about the concept.

12:15am _ 18 hours, 45 minutes to go
We reached a point where we were happy with the design and idea. The last two hours consisted of verbal discussions, YouTube music, banter and some sketching and planning. We left the building to go to our homes for sleep.

7:00am _ 12 hours to go
Woke up in order to shower and grab food supplies prior to heading back to meet with the group.

8:00am _ 11 hours to go
We met back up and headed into the computer lab to start to model our design on the Revit. I cracked open a RedBull can.

9:30am _ 10 hours, 30 minutes to go
Breakfast was served, and I took advantage of this.

10:00am _ 9 hours to go
A tutor sat with us to discuss our project, with a good initial reaction. He gave us some good ideas and a few things to consider which we didn’t think off.

10:30am _ 8 hours, 30 minutes to go
After speaking with the tutor, we paused our use of computers and headed to our room to discuss our design further.

12:00pm _ 7 hours to go
The tutor from the morning found us to see where we were up to. He gave some suggestions, including to ditch the use of computer and focus on more atmospheric drawings due to our design.

12:30pm _ 6 hours, 30 minutes to go
Lunch was served and a team mate needed to leave to go to work for a few hours.

1:00pm _ 6 hours to go
Needing supplies to do the drawings required, we planned on driving to an art store. There was a slight detour, giving an older gentleman a lift to Queens College.

1:30pm _ 5 hours, 30 minutes to go
We returned from the art store with $102 worth of art supplies. We did initial testings of pastel drawing, with my contributions being quite poor. Luckily, the other member’s ability was amazing.

5:30pm _ 1 hour, 30 minutes to go
The last few hours was focused purely on pastel drawings, creating a mess on the desk and our hands. The drawings 95% complete, with some touch-ups required. The drawings were scanned to be able to be digitally presented.

6:00pm _ 1 hour to go
Our group mate returned and finished off the audio file. Speeches were prepared, slides made, design statement wrote…

6:55pm _ 5 minutes to go
Got ready to submit our file and print off the booklets when I realised I didn’t give the group mate the right file.

6:58pm _ 2 minutes to go
The other two group mates raced downstairs to submit our digital file before 7pm, while I dashed to the printers to sort out the printing.

7:00pm _ 0 hours, 0 minutes to go
Time was up, our printed booklets weren’t printed so I headed downstairs where the presentations were held.

That was our 24 hours, give or take a few minutes. The final hour was an absolute mad-rush, and in hind-sight if we had arrived a bit earlier in the morning or didn’t stop for lunch we could probably could have finished less-stressed. However, after officially submitting, I grabbed some pizza and a wine. I then asked if I could collect the printed booklet, and raced upstairs. I returned to find out we were presenting next.

Despite audio troubles, our presentation went well. I was a touch nervous during it, but the feedback from the judges was positive in the sense of they were intrigued to see if it could be in a different context, particularly out the front of places of work. Another judge mentioned that perhaps our design was in-fact opposite of our elevator pitch, which upon hearing that I think I would agree.

After presenting, things got a bit more relaxed, especially when the wine started flowing. We received some positive messages from fellow SuperStudioers, which was nice to hear. After all the presentations, everyone headed upstairs for the group photo, then back down for the announcement of the winners.

Congratulations to the deserving winners, but also everyone who entered and thank you to the judges, volunteers, SONA and Thisuni (who coordinated the event) of course. I woke up a bit worse-for-wear this morning due to the free wine, but reflecting on the last couple days it’s amazing to think that we presented a design in just 24-hours.

I didn’t take many photos during this event, however there was a photographer around. Click here to see those photos on Facebook. And I shall see you for #SuperStudio2017 next year, my last chance at Venice!


This was my third SuperStudio, my second as an entrant. You can read my posts on past SuperStudios via the links below
SuperStudio 2014
SuperStudio 2015