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Exported Kiwi talent wins design award

9 October 2008

Exported Kiwi talent wins design award

Stephen with his awards and diploma

A Queenstown interior designer is flying high after recently graduating from a Sydney design course with outstanding results.

Stephen Burke, co-director of longstanding international interior design company Foster and Burke, not only received High Distinction in his Diploma of Interior Design from Sydney’s Commercial Arts Training College (CATC) but was also the first part-time student to ever win the ‘Excellence in Technical Strength and Creativity’ award.

Stephen moved from Queenstown to Australia two and a half years ago to establish the company’s Sydney office although he still returns to work on various projects.

His decision to go back to school part-time was predominantly for personal growth he says.

“Although I’ve built up sound hands-on experience and knowledge of interior design over the years, I also wanted the piece of paper to officially validate my knowledge and abilities. It had always been my aim to complete my diploma before I was 40, and I just squeaked in by a day!

“I chose CATC because it’s considered to be a leader in design education and providing excellent hands-on, industry relevant skills. I was particularly keen to learn how to use CAD (computer assisted design) because it’s becoming a vital tool for a range of interior design projects, especially commercial. Being able to tap into my tutors’knowledge and industry experience was also very beneficial.”

Stephen’s business partner Jean Foster, a longtime Queenstowner, is thrilled for him and believes their different skill sets are a real asset to the business.

“We’re so proud of Stephen. It’s hard working and studying at the same time but he has achieved outstanding results. The skills he’s developed definitely add value to Foster and Burke as a one-stop design base for residential, corporate and commercial interior design.

”Stephen’s still highly sought after for residential work but his expertise in spacial awareness, artistic flair and cost-effective practical solutions in office design and fitouts has proven extremely popular in Sydney and led to contracts in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth,” says Jean.

According to Stephen the trans-Tasman nature of their business is also contributing to its success.

“With Jean in Queenstown and me in Sydney, Foster and Burke offers a unique design solution and personalised service for Australians buying into the Queenstown market as well as clients who want the sophistication our partnership offers on both sides of the Tasman.”

For more information about Foster and Burke visit


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