Esem Projects is a multi-disciplinary design studio led by Dr. Sarah Barns and Michael Killalea.
Driven by research, creativity, experimentation and collaboration, we lead experiential design and storytelling programs for shared spaces.
We're known for interweaving the digital and the physical in surprising ways, and we love using urban technologies to inspire and inform.
What's in a name?
Some call what we do public art.
Some call it digital engagement.
Some call it digital place-making.
Some call it urban media.
For us, it's not the name that matters, but the purpose.
We create for curious minds and inclusive places — looking back, looking ahead — and believe in the role of shared stories in building community and cultural resilience.
We collaborate widely
We're proud of our long-term collaborations with trusted creatives, clients and partners.
Being so multi-disciplinary, our practice also spans diverse sectors: built environment, technology, cultural, retail, education and government.
Drop us a line to say hi. We’re always happy to talk.
We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, and pay our respects to their Elders, past and present and emerging.
Creative Direction and Designmichael@esemprojects.com
Strategy, Curation, Engagement and Partnershipssarah@esemprojects.com
Technical Direction and Installationleif@esemprojects.com
A multi-disciplinary team of creatives and designers
Creative Strategy & Design: Jacqui Triggs
Technical Direction and Installation Services: Pete Hird
Sound Design: Gary Sinclair
Motion Design: Anna Fraser; Julian Burgess
Producers: Omee Deling, Claire Edwards
Photographers and Videographers: We work with a number of photographers appropriate to specific jobs and budgets. Past collaborators include Tobias Rowles (Sam I Am Management), Roy Weiland, David Arnold, Alan Richardson.
Illustrators: Richard Briggs; Elin Matilda Anderssen
Strategic Design & Research
We deliver strategic design frameworks informed by deep research expertise in urban futures and design. We also design diverse digital programming typologies and engagement strategies for built environments and precincts. Instead of preparing a strategy that you can 'set and forget' we lead strategic approaches to engagement, commissioning and collaboration designed to evolve and adapt over time.
Explore some of our Strategic Design Projects.
Experiential Media & Design
We craft experiential urban media interfaces and installations for precincts and places.
Many of our experience design projects reflect our interests in creating multi-sensory immersive spaces and experiences that connect diverse disciplines, technologies, creative practices and communities.
Digital Storytelling. Interpretation and Curatorial Design
We're a research-led practice, drawing on many years' experience working across content creation and strategy, public history, interpretation design, public engagement and storytelling. We take on ambitious research briefs, and design interpretation and engagement programs that allow complex ideas to connect with audiences in new ways.
We also collaborate widely to share stories about people and place, working with indigenous storytellers, schools, community groups, local arts and heritage groups and local councils.
Design & Branding
Technical Design and Installation
We work with an experienced team of audio-visual designers and technicians to deliver immersive and experiential installations and interfaces in outdoor environments. Our technical solutions are designed to be robust and resilient to withstand harsh Australian environments, from heat to storms and everything in between. We also offer technical design services to clients seeking advice on audio-visual requirements for outdoor programming.
We work across a number of different sectors: Built environment, Local government, Arts, Retail, Hospitality, and Community/NFP.
Built environment: HASSELL / Arup / GPT Group / Lend Lease / TKD Architects / Barangaroo Delivery Authority
Local Government: Port Macquarie-Hastings Council / Bathurst Regional Council / Inner West Council / Liverpool City Council / Newcastle City Council
Higher Education: Australian National University / University of NSW / Western Sydney University
Retail & Hospitality: PKD Design / Betty's Burgers / Sokyo / Cocos Republic / Will & Toby's
Federal & State Government: Arts SA, CSIRO, Enterprise Connect, Data 61