Decoding Design at Melbourne Design Week

Three designers, three nationalities, three cultures and three design disciplines join forces to decode each other’s cultural cliches through interpretive design.

Yan Huang, a Chinese automotive designer; Manuel Canestrini, a German architect; and Ilan El an Israeli industrial designer interpret archetypical and traditional items.

‘Decoding Design’ explores our cultural preconceived ideas and how these affect our expectations. Each individual designer investigates a cultural perception and create a new object.

‘Decoding Design’ harnesses design effects to inform how preconceived cultural ideas can manifest through product design.

The ‘Decoding Design’ team:


Ilan El is the creative engine behind Studio ILANEL. After practicing as an architect overseas, he graduated from RMIT’s Industrial Design Masters program and submersed himself in Australia’s culture. Experiential illumination is his passion and he designs with philosophical awareness. Many of his designs are interactive, contemporary and playful, making them whimsical and engaging.

ILANEL is a Melbourne-based creative studio, whose design objects combine artistic values, aesthetics and quality. Established in 2010, ILANEL’s creations can now be seen around the world. from bespoke lighting in high-end residential projects to large scale commercial and hospitality installations.


Manuel is an architect by trade and industrial designer by heart. He creates functional products with a minimalist appearance and an unexpected playful twist. He is the founder of Melbourne-based FORMACY offering interior and product design. Born and raised in Germany, his designs are influenced by German Bauhaus aesthetics as well as efficient production methods. Calling Australia home since 2006, he has gathered experience in diverse creative disciplines all over the country.

Manuel is constantly striving to marry practicability and innovation with beauty and aesthetics in the objects he creates. For him, design means the creation of something new and exciting, something useful that also pleases the eye.


Yan Huang’s work transcends the borders of art and design. She creates limited edition, functional sculptural pieces that bring a human and organic feel to the industrial materials she uses. Her sculptural pieces are bold and expressive with a minimalist aesthetic.

Yan is the creative force of Yan Design Studio. Yan previously worked as an automotive designer for 20 years,  in China, Australia, the USA and Italy. Yan believes everyday objects should be both beautiful and useful. She believes designers have a responsibility to create timeless and enduring designs, something people will treasure and enjoy  every day.

Opening hours:
Thursday 15 March: Opening Night 6pm – 8pm
Friday 16 March: 12pm – 6pm
Saturday 17 March: 10am – 4pm
Sunday 18 March: 10am – 4pm Meet the Makers

Kfive Showroom 275 Smith St. Fitzroy

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