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Sym Studio has embarked on partnerships with First Nations Cultural Curators and Designers in leading best practice whilst designing with culture in mind.

Sym Studio has formed new partnerships with First Nations Cultural Curators and Designers including;  The Gaimaragal Group – Susan Moylan-Coombs (Woolwonga, Gurindji Woman), Dennis Foley (Gai-mariagal and Wiradjuri Elder and Fulbright Scholar) and Saltwater Studios – Craig Kerslake (Wiradjuri Nation), all Supply Nation Certified.

Our shared commitment is to create impact and help facilitate opportunities for project value creation.

“Creating a new story of connection for all Australians.” 

Susan Moylan-Coombs (Woolwonga, Gurindji Woman),

The Gaimaragal Group

To mark the occasion and launch of the new partnership journey, we met at Irrawong Waterfall where we shared knowledge and discussed connecting with country and cultural design practices.

These partnerships are the platforms that will foster a cultural design process based in the deep knowledge of the local environment, culture and community.

With each project, we partner with Cultural Curators and Designers in facilitating conversations and knowledge sharing. This two-way cultural translation brings individuals, communities and businesses together, allowing us to incorporate these unique stories from the Original people and place into the planning, design and delivery of our projects.

We invite you to learn and develop with us – Designing with and in Country.


We acknowledge and respect all ancestral lands of Australia’s First Peoples.

We pay our respects to Elders past, present and future.

We acknowledge our local area, home residences and office location as part of Gai-mariagal clans, which today is known as Northern Sydney.

We appreciate the opportunity to co-create environments and more largely a nation that embrace First Nations Peoples’ history, culture and rights, for present and future generations.

Sym.Studio is an established landscape architecture and urban design practice with a profound appreciation for places and its people.

The Gaimaragal Group, Connecting People, Community and Business,

Saltwater Studio Architects


I N N O V A T I O N………Biophilic Design is more than just introducing more plants, it’s about our human need for connection to all of nature.

Inside Ageing lists some design opportunities for bringing Biophilic Design into Retirement Living:

Indirect experiences of nature, e.g.

  • artistic representations of nature
  • artificial sky
  • virtual reality systems that mimic fish ponds
  • thermal and airflow variability
  • the presence of water
  • lighting that mimics morning through to night

Direct visual connection to nature as well as direct access.

  • Rooms that look out into well designed courtyards or gardens
  • Community and lounge rooms with direct garden access.


  • smells that remind you of the outdoors

Material connection to nature

  • Use of natural materials such as timber and earthy colours

Actual living plants

  • Create a tangible nature connection
  • They also help clean the air, many can eliminate over 95 per cent of toxins (refer NASA clean air study)

Does your project, retirement or otherwise tick any of these boxes?

The importance of Biophilic Design: fact or fiction?



A C C O U N T A B I L I T Y…. AILA (Australian Institute of Landscape Architects) have declared a ‘Climate and Biodiversity loss Emergency’ acknowledging that humanity has just 12 years to restrict global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.. So what tangible steps can our industry take to combat climate change and how can we measure our impact against such a huge issue?

Our industry as well as urban designers, architects, engineers and planners have a huge opportunity and responsibility to help create a better future. A new resource/platform called Climate Positive Design lets designers register projects on a world map to accurately measure and track greenhouse emissions as well as carbon “sinks” to target when the landscape can become not just carbon neutral but climate positive!! (Meaning they capture/sequester more greenhouse emissions than they incorporate or produce! ) And each project has a dedicated page that can be re-visited overtime and re-evaluated or shared.

We can’t wait to start tracking our projects and see the results. If you’re in the industry – take a look at the app and let us know what you think!

Big congratulations to the team at Carl Gilmore Landscapes for winning Gold at the 2018 LNA Master Landscapes in the category ‘Commercial & Civil Construction up to $250,000’. It was a pleasure working with the team at Carl Gilmore Landscapes to see our design realised and the pride they take in the finer details.

One of our biggest jobs to date, this ‘dementia friendly’ garden for Dementia Australia in North Ryde really gave our team the opportunity to showcase our skill-set. So much so we entered it into the LNA Landscaping awards and came away with first prize. The job included an outdoor kitchen, vertical garden, a putting-green with picket fence, a pergola, decking, several types of paving, and much more. As the year go by, we look forward to seeing the new trees establish and the garden evolve into a space used and adored by both clients and staff.” Carl Gilmore Landscapes


Our Dementia Garden for Dementia Australia (previously Alzheimer’s Australia) at their North Ryde Dementia and Memory Community Centre has just finished construction this week.  Another success all round after our Dementia Garden in Port Macquarie last year, both gardens are “the first of their kind in Australia”!

Thank you to our great client, donors and landscape construction team at Carl Gilmore Landscapes for such a spectacular outcome. The garden is set for its Grand Opening later this month, no doubt an invaluable resource for people living with dementia and their carers.

Check out the video below to see the recently completed construction!

Contact Conrad Grayson or Marie-Claire Geach to discuss your interest or arrange a private guided tour.

Alzheimers Australia has released tips for ‘How to create a dementia-friendly garden’  based on our recent research and design in dementia sensitive gardens at both Port Macquarie and North Ryde. The design thinking is also reinforced by the findings of Dr Theresa Scott, NHMRC-ARC Dementia Research Development Fellow at The University of Queensland.

The article lists helpful design considerations when designing for:

  • Colour and contrast
  • Signage
  • Accessibility
  • Therapy & Socialisation
  • Sensory experience

Sym Studio are thrilled to have our work for Avalon Beach Place Vision featured as a Case Study in the inaugural issued of ‘In Place’, an innovative online magazine published by Place Leaders Asia Pacific. The inaugural issue is titled ‘Connected in Place’ and showcases the variety of disciplines involved in the ever evolving identity of ‘Place Leadership’ and inspires us in imagining what the future of our places could be.

Read the full article here

Jody Summers – our Creative Coordinator here at Sym. Studio was recently part of the Q&A Panel at the Mona Vale Place Planning Seminar ‘Urban Fabric & Public Realm’.

The talk was part of a series of Urban Talks by Pittwater Council that aim to inform and inspire the community about the elements that make up vibrant and successful ‘places’ and explore the range of possibilities for the future of the Mona Vale Town Centre. You can watch an interview with Jody from the night here

Jody spoke along with guest speakers – Rick Lapastrier, Kelly Van Der Zanden and Andrew Pigott.

Jody is the National Design Manager for Stockland and Creative Coordinator for a local design consultancy, Sym Studio, Jody has over 18 years’ experience in Landscape Architecture, Urban Planning and Place Making.  Her experience spans over 18 years working in Landscape Architecture, Urban Planning and Place Making on international and national projects.

Read more about the seminar here

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