2011 Melbourne Design Awards

Key Dates

Paper Plane Academy [DRAFT]

Photo Credit : Claire Ropartz


Project Overview

Ever wanted to take to the skies and let your imagination soar? Kids of all ages explore their creativity in a hands-on way with the Paper Plane Academy. Now everyone can make, design and build their flying creations and test them out in a purpose built aerial playground – the obstacle course of the sky.





Project Brief

Kids are the best creative teachers, they live and breathe it every single day. At a moments notice they are in a world of their own. Unfortunately, for many of us, this connection is a distant memory.

The Paper Plane Academy was created to allow everyone to re-discover their inherent creative talents through play. Using the humble paper plane, an iconic childhood toy, the Academy engages participants through creating and flying their own creations. Most importantly the Academy gives everyone permission to play.

Project Innovation / Need

Today we are all bombarded with so much external entertainment creating a culture that relies on being stimulated. The Academy sought to cut through this trend by engaging with our inner thoughts and creativity. Who would have thought the humble piece of paper could capture the imagination?

Creativity staves off boredom, promotes innovation and connects people back to the simple things. But as everyone knows simple isn't easy. The entire Academy from start to finished was developed to create a unique user experience. Branding, website, infrastructure and staff through to interior design and sound we all designed to ensure a continuity to the user and their experience of play.

Since the Academy took to the skies, thousands of cadets have played their hearts out, both here and abroad, councils have engaged with their communities, parents have celebrated parties. All with the help of a humble piece of paper and the Academy.

Design Challenge

In this forever busy world, parents are looking for ‘quality time’ with their children – which can often be misinterpreted as high cost, high wow factor, bells and whistles – the Paper Plane Academy takes parents (and kids) back to the wonderful basics and through this, reconnecting parents with their children in a way they perhaps weren’t expecting.


The best form of sustainability is one that changes behaviour. The Academy has sought to engage with the mind and reconnect people with their imagination. This simple approach has seen many cadets put away their electricity guzzling, mind numbing electronic game machines and rediscover a simpler and more fulfilling form of entertainment.

A simple paper plane has given us all permission to play and remember that we are all creative. It is this connection that will play the most important part in our future. For it is our creativity that will solve the challenges to come.

So pick up that utility bill and make it soar!

This award recognises the best design event for the general public and design consumers.
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