Who is Reef Design Lab?
Co-Founder David comes to RDL after successfully setting up and running three other artificial reef companies (Reef Ball Australia, Sustainable Oceans International, and Reef Arabia).
David grew up by the sea and started diving as soon as he could in 1981, working in dive centres on weekends and summers by the age of 16. He became a commercial diver in 1985, PADI instructor in 1987, and completed his BSc Oceanographic Technology in 1989 and then completed a MSc in Environmental Management in 1994.
While conducting marine research for KFUPM Research Institute in Saudi, he started building artificial reefs with French scientist Eric Charbonnel in 1991 from materials of opportunity and at the time was involved in fish surveys of steel oil platforms in the Gulf. He fell in love with the concept of providing homes for fish and witnessing their enthusiastic uptake of his creations. Ever since, he has studied how fish and other marine biota interact with artificial reefs constructed from a range of materials, including surveys to assess the performance of coastal canal estates, wrecks and concrete pipes as artificial reefs.
In 1997 he became the Australian contractor for the concrete Reef Ball™ artificial reef module (www.reefballaustralia.com.au) and has designed artificial reefs for fisheries enhancement, dredging impact mitigation, coastal protection and tourism in Bahrain, KSA, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), south-east Asia, the Caribbean, Cyprus and Australia. Reef Ball™ Australia is the trusted supplier to three state governments in Australia and the key contractor for the Middle East.
In 2007 David established Sustainable Oceans International as a reef restoration consultancy in order to advance the design of constructed reefs for impact mitigation. David believes that we can no longer just study impacts, we have to actively learn how to reverse them. SOI's projects include the design and construction of ten reefs for Bahrain fish stock enhancement with Reef Arabia, coral mitigation plans (including design of artificial reefs) for the New Doha Port (Qatar), and several high profile Saudi projects to mitigate and offset the impact of dredging on natural reefs including relocation of corals.
Since 2000, David has been an advocate for 'better design below the waterline' - designing common marine structures such as jetties, rock walls, marinas and canal estates so that they not only meet engineering specs but also maximise opportunities for nature.
He is also equally passionate about creating more natural and organic reef units for governments, engineers, developers and community groups to use and thus his partnership with Alex and RDL!
Alex finished his Bachelors of Industrial Design (Hons) at Monash University in 2013 spending his final Honours year designing and developing the MARS (modular artificial reef structure) which went on to win multiple awards, most notably the Hills Young Australian Design Award for Sustainability and the Australian James Dyson Award.He has been interested in artificial reefs for a number of years now and believes it is an area with endless possibility for industrial design. (www.alex-goad.com)
During his years at University Alex used every spare chance he could to scuba dive and document the structures of tropical and temperate reefs from around Australia, Asia, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean seas. He was fascinated by the sculptural properties of different reefs and how these shapes often dictated the inhabitants. Like anyone who dives the ocean today he began to see the damage occurring to these environments and the loss of habitat. This caused him to research marine habitat rejuvenation leading to artificial reefs and eventually a meeting with Dave.
In 2013 Alex started New Projekt Design Studio with long time friend and fellow Industrial design graduate Merric French specialising in the lighting, furniture, installation and artistic direction fields. Using a mixture of state of the art technologies and traditional skills to produce design outcomes that possess the best of both worlds the studio has completed restaurant interiors, tableware products, and work for clients such as Aesop Skincare and Sunland Group.
Alex is also a sculptor and maintains a productive sculptural practice from his Melbourne studio where he has exhibited throughout Australia winning awards including the Art Gallery Society of NSW Prize, Montalto Sculpture Competition Family Choice Prize and the Damon Courtenay Memorial Young Sculptors Prize. His sculptural practice directly influences his work for Reef Design Lab helping to maintain a creative and conceptual edge.