Films: Transformative Repair

Guy Keulemans from the University of New South Wales and Niklavs Rubenis from the Australian National University are researchers interested in the power of design-led repair to change the way we think about waste, consumption and the life of objects. 

Guy and Niklavs worked together on Object Therapy in 2016 which became an exhibition that is currently on tour around Australia through the Australian Design Centre’s national exhibition touring program ADC on Tour.

During the tour Guy and Niklavs continued their research working with Design Tasmania and Noosa Regional Gallery to connect the owners of broken objects to designers, craftspersons and makers willing to experiment with creative forms of repair.

These films show the results of this ongoing research project.


Aidan replied to our research invitation with images of his inherited typewriter, a glorious design from the past. The typewriter no longer worked well and had no obvious use in the digital age, but embodied Aidan’s memories of his beloved grandmother. Tasmanian born and internationally renowned designer Anita Dineen took it upon herself to open up and explore the  typewriter, in both its physical form and its metaphysical potential for transformation. 

More about Anita Dineen


Cecilija responded to our call for participation with a personally significant stovetop coffeepot. Missing its handle and no longer usable, Cecilija greatly missed her morning coffee. Launceston-based designer and furniture maker Matt Prince took the repair of the coffeepot to the next level: a cleverly engineered fix that exemplifies his ingenuity and fabrication skills. 

More about Matt Prince Design


Domi responded to our invitation to participate with an exquisite, but terribly worn, hand-embroidered shawl. Domi, a migrant from Belgium by way of South Africa, embroidered the shawl many years ago when she had just arrived in Australia and was struggling to make a new life for herself. We passed the shawl, along with our interview with Domi, to the architects Lindy Atkin and Steve Guthrie of Bark Design based in the Noosa hinterlands. Their design expertise, attention to detail and respect for Domi’s story led to a surprising and illuminating, transformative repair.

More about Bark Design


Sam responded to our research invitation with two bags of broken glass - the remains of three colourful, sentimental vases that had been displayed on a cabinet, but smashed to pieces by a falling television. Local inventor, artist and maker Darryl Bartlett aka the BushPunk, dug deep to transform this difficult collection of material into something Sam can happily return to her living room.

More about Darryl Bartlett the Bushpunk


Funded by the University of New South Wales Faculty of Art & Design and the Australian National University College of Arts & Social Sciences School of Art & Design.

Facilitated with the support of the Australian Design Centre, Noosa Regional Gallery and Design Tasmania.

Chief Investigator: Guy Keulemans
Co-Investigator: Niklavs Rubenis
Filming, Editing & Photography: Kit Baker
Music: Oli Chang
Additional transcript editing: Tammy Brennan

Our thanks to our repairers Bark Design, Darryl Bartlett, Matt Prince and Anita Dineen and our research participants Domi, Sam, Cecelija and Aidan.

Object Therapy is part of ADC On Tour, the Australian Design Centre's national touring program. Object Therapy is a project by Hotel Hotel. Developed in partnership with UNSW Art & Design and ANU School of Art and Design. 

Explore more about Transformative Repair here

Image: Transformative Repair - Aidan's grandmother's broken typewriter (detail). Photo: Kit Baker. Below:  Transformative Repair - Aidan's grandmother's broken typewriter, banner. Photo: Kit Baker