Our leaders

BRIAN TOYOTA

Studio Lead

Expertise: Urban Design

  • Team leadership and mentoring
  • Urban design
  • Site design
  • Masterplanning
  • Strategic urban planning
  • Building client relationships
  • Architectural design

Brian has always had a passion for design and creating, from doodling in his school notebooks to creating some of the most iconic projects in the world. His innovative and results-driven approach to design stems from his ability to understand a client’s vision, and bring it to life.

As Design Lead, he is focused on delivering strategic and functional solutions to a broad range of challenging design projects. Having been involved large-scale design projects, Brian has the crucial skills in collaboration and communication needed to produce commercially viable outcomes for clients. His creative problem solving and artistic flair combine to produce results that deliver both clever and uniquely designed projects.

Brian believes in a holistic approach to design and strongly aligns with ML Design’s philosophy of building a creative and inclusive design studio. In his role as Associate Adjunct Professor at Bond University’s Abedian School of Architecture, he demonstrates a true passion for mentoring young designers. Brian also garners an immense sense of satisfaction from being involved in a passionate design team that is overtaken by the zeal of achieving a common goal.

He believes that great design is more about the process than the end product, and his greatest achievement is always the project he is currently working on. Brian uses his passion for design combined with emerging technologies and high-level strategies to create masterful design solutions for every project.

BRENT O’NEILL

Director | Studio Lead

Expertise: Masterplanning + Urban Design

  • Project strategy
  • Urban design
  • Site design
  • Public domain design
  • Town centre design
  • Visual assessment
  • Charrette workshop facilitation
  • Project management
  • Urban and strategic planning

Director Brent O’Neill is an urban designer and masterplanner with a focus on delivering viable, quality design outcomes. His experience in property, planning, and urban design spans over 20 years and has taught him, above anything, to constantly keep questioning, searching, and exploring. Fascinated by understanding design as a philosophy and concept, Brent sees great importance in observance and, to really understand a subject, topic, or surrounds.

As a consulting urban designer, Brent’s expertise in development spans all sectors to include masterplanning, context analysis, conceptual design, feasibility investigations, development controls, and planning approval negotiations.

To Brent, design is a personal approach to problem solving, whereas consulting is a collaborative process, a process in which you work with a range of people to achieve their aspirations. He finds true quality in an outcome that respects and responds to its surrounds and to its market, and believes few are able to achieve this better than ML Design. He takes great pride in being part of a team that has the encompassing skills to promote and adopt modern ideas on urban living and technology.

Amena Reza

Managing Director

Expertise: Business Leadership

  • Company Director
  • Strategy & Risk
  • Business Development & Marketing
  • Business Management
  • Team Management
  • Chartered Accountant

As the backbone of ML Design, Amena has been the Managing Director since 2015 and is the driving force behind the studio’s successes and its future evolution. With over 20 years’ experience in managing and leading businesses across the property, financial and not-for-profit sectors, Amena is well-placed to understand the complexities of running a design studio in ever changing market conditions.

As Managing Director, Amena strives to create a collaborative team environment within ML Design that helps deliver strategic design solutions for all clients. Through her experience, she is focused on building the studio and its people to deliver exceptional design outcomes that solve client’s problems.

Amena has a long association with the studio, and is a role model to aspiring young women in the property and development industry. Amena is proud of the team’s capability to contribute great design to clients across the globe.

STEVE CHILD

Director | Studio Lead

Expertise: Architecture

  • Due Diligence
  • Project Conceptualisation
  • Client Management, Consultation + Brief Formulation
  • Concept + Schematic Design
  • Project Management + Authorities Consultation
  • Design Development + Documentation
  • Contract & Site Administration
  • Post Occupancy Evaluation

With over 25 years’ experience in the design field, Steve has been fascinated with the idea of creating things through drawings since he was in high school. This fascination grew into a passion career that drives Steve to deliver outstanding projects across the globe.

With extensive experience across multi-residential projects right through to complicated commercial and heritage restoration projects, Steve has delivered detailed design solutions for a number of significant projects throughout Queensland, Australia and The Middle East.

With extensive experience in the management and coordination of multidisciplinary teams and stakeholders (including six years in Japan), Steve strongly resonates with ML Design’s philosophy of collaboration. Whether it’s internal collaboration, or with a client or stakeholder, he believes the design discipline needs to appreciate the importance collaboration plays in achieving ground-breaking project results.

Alongside his design work, Steve is always looking for procurement strategies that effectively accelerate the design and documentation phase in order to minimise the downtime between design and construction. Steve also has the view that projects are about much more than their façade – he believes great design is about more than just making a project aesthetically pleasing. To Steve, a successful project balances bold design with building functionality.

KENT PINEL

Director | Studio Lead

Expertise: Masterplanning, Urban Design and Architecture

  • Sports and Recreation Projects
  • Feasibility Analysis
  • Site Analysis and Sustainability
  • Project Initiation
  • Masterplanning
  • Concept Design
  • Lifestyle Developments
  • Affordable Housing
  • Defence and Government Projects
  • Environmentally Sustainable Design
  • BIM and Integrated Design

Thriving in the intricacies of construction and architecture, Kent has over 15 years’ experience in architecture, design and leading projects to success. His work is led by the philosophy that an innovative design has the power to bring people together. Kent is deeply motivated to deliver tangible results for every client through harnessing the opportunities of each project.

As Director and Design Lead, Kent challenges himself to deliver enriching and sustainable projects that provide a unique place to live, work or play. His experience ranges from large commercial projects to innovative sports and education projects – giving him the opportunity to bring a level of sustainability to each project.

With ML Design bringing together an incredible array of talent, Kent is able to mentor and inspire young designers to create designs that focus on tight-knit communities. He approaches each project with holistic ideas and innovative design solutions – believing that each project he works on is his greatest achievement.

Resonating with ML Design’s philosophy to deal with design beyond the built form, Kent is driven to become a key part of the continuing shift toward more sustainable and community-driven cities.

Nick Wheeler

Director – Melbourne

Expertise: Architecture

  • High-end Residential Design.
  • Procurement and Project Planning
  • Master Planning
  • Concept Design
  • Material Specification
  • Planning Site Overlay
  • Site Feasibility
  • Client Collaboration
  • Strategic Design Solutions

Having worked on a number of top-tier projects locally and internationally, Nick’s passion for architecture and design is rooted in his ability to understand a project’s vision and work collaboratively with the project team to bring it to life. He is consistently working to deliver spaces that meet the expectations of the occupant, and to create spaces that respond positively to the environment. Backed by over 15 years’ experience, Nick strives to create buildings that are sustainable, functional and inspiring.

Nick’s experience in architecture and design has allowed him to develop an understanding of urban context, masterplanning and site feasibility – and these skills work with his architecture expertise to help him deliver strategic design outcomes for every project. Focused on delivering solutions for complex problems, he collaborates with clients from project inception to delivery. Whether it’s a residential, mixed-use or commercial project, Nick will work to make the project’s vision a reality.

Heading up the Melbourne ML Design studio, Nick is an exceptional leader and mentor for aspiring designers. In his role, he helps nurture a wide range of talented staff – ensuring that the studio is constantly delivering strategic outcomes that surpass client expectations.

A perfect balance of passion and experience, ML Design’s leadership team is made up of individuals who inspire both our team and our clients. Their depth of industry knowledge is what drives our studio to deliver strategic design solutions that solve complex problems for our clients – now and into the future.

Aleksie Villis

Architectural Intern

Having recently graduated from the Queensland University of Technology, Aleksie Villis is passionate about broadening his understanding of architectural spaces. With Honours in his Architectural studies, Aleksie minored in Industrial Design and Human-Environment Interactions – giving him a keen interest in how the human body interacts with its surroundings. He is enthusiastic about every project he works on and is looking forward to continuing his professional development with ML Design.

Andrew Gaffney

Senior Town Planner

With over 10 years’ of town planning experience, Andrew Gaffney has worked on extensive statutory and master planning projects across South East Queensland. His experience has seen him work with a range of Local Governments and private consultants to deliver the most successful projects. Andrew is passionate about providing up-to-date information that assists during the initial and detailed design phases of a project. He has experience in providing feasibility investigations, development controls and negotiating planning approvals.

Anthony Samson

Senior Project Lead

With an extensive background in drafting and Architectural Design, Anthony is a passionate and driven Senior Project Lead at ML Design. By focusing on delivering strategic design outcomes for the client, Anthony has been an integral part of many iconic projects across Australia and internationally. His experience spans low rise commercial, hospitality, educational, multi-residential and luxury residential projects – where his expertise ensures each and every project proceeds on time and within budget. Internally, he works to create a collaborative team environment that consistently delivers innovative design solutions.

Bess Mendiola

Architectural Designer

Bess has spent over 4 years working in the architectural field both locally and internationally and has a passion for 3D Modelling, rendering and ArchiCad. With an Advanced Diploma in Building Design (Architectural) and a Certificate IV in Building Construction, Bess combines knowledge with practical experience to deliver innovative design solutions for all projects. As a member of the Building Designers Association of Victoria, Bess came in 2nd for the Best Promising Student of 2015 award.

Bobby Nicolle

Studio Manager

Bobby Nicolle is a driven and energetic senior operations specialist with over 17 years’ experience in various management, finance and operations roles across the corporate and professional sectors. With a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration, Bobby is a business leader with a proven track record for successful business management. His abilities to streamline internal systems and processes add value to all projects and project managers. Bobby is working toward bringing business and cultural change to the ML Design studio in an effort to work toward the studio’s long term strategic goals.

Brad MacDonald

Project Lead

Brad Macdonald has over 16 years’ experience working to deliver a wide range of projects locally, nationally and internationally. Brad is passionate about delivering the project’s vision through to reality, and has successfully delivered design outcomes for a number of commercial, residential and multi-purpose projects. He embodies ML Design’s emphasis on collaboration and listens and responds to stakeholder demands in order to bring a project to life.

Claudio D'Avanzo

Project Lead

Claudio D’Avanzo is a highly experienced Architect with over 9 years’ experience in Australia and 6 years in Europe – this experience combines to make him an integral part of any project. Working on luxury residential projects, hospitality and multi-residential projects, Claudio collaborates with each client every step of the way to ensure a positive outcome. He is passionate about taking the time to understand client needs and cultural contexts – qualities that help him form innovative and unique design concepts.

Eddie Chung

Chairman

Eddie Chung is a Chartered accountant and Partner of BDO, who has been providing ML Design with governance, accounting and tax advice for over 10 years. Appointed as Chairman in April 2017, Eddie brings his wealth of knowledge and experience in finance and company governance (specialising in the property and construction industry) to the ML Design Board. Eddie works hand in hand with the Managing Director and the ML Design Board to drive and implement ML’s strategic vision for the future.

Erina Tibaldi

Architectural Technician

With nearly 10 years’ industry experience, Erina Tibaldi has a keen ability to work collaboratively with design teams to produce documents from all phases of construction – from initial presentation drawings to construction documentation using full BIM capabilities. Her experience ranges from commercial and residential to retail and education. She is passionate about delivering innovative design solutions and is excited for the next stage in her career.

Jet Leong

Architectural Contractor

Jet has over 9 years’ experience and is a Registered Architect with the Royal Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA). With a Master of Architecture and Bachelor of Environmental Design, Jet has extensive experience collaborating with clients through entire projects – from inception to completion. Jet’s experience spans a number of high-profile mixed-use, residential and commercial projects where he works to deliver highly strategic design solutions. Passionate about CAD/BIM management and maintaining a high attention to detail, Jet is constantly thinking differently and innovating.

Joe Scully

Consultant

Joe has over 30 years’ experience in masterplanning and the design and delivery of various education, recreation, community and commercial projects. As a Registered Architect of the Architects Registration Board of Victoria (ARBV), Joe works to combine his industry knowledge with his ability to collaborate with clients to deliver strategic designs that meet project outcomes. Joe is passionate about delivering innovative facilities that incorporate environmentally sustainable design principles, and he strives to create buildings that focus on the outcomes for future communities.

Kathleen Kelly

Studio Manager - Melbourne

Kathleen has a Bachelor of Planning & Design and a Master of Architecture and has experience in both architecture and project management. This combination of knowledge and skills helps her work collaboratively with clients and consultants to create design solutions that exceed the client’s vision for the project. Always striving to bring the best out of people, Kathleen collaborates with the studio team to continually deliver innovative spaces that have a positive impact.

Leonie Simmonds

Accountant

With a combined 16 years’ experience in the financial services industry, Leonie’s experience in the building industry includes large private builders to commercial builders and she has been in the architecture industry for the past 6 years. Leonie has a Certificate IV in Financial Services and is a registered BAS Agent and Xero Partner. Her experience and qualifications combine with her passion for learning to make her an integral part of the ML Design team.

Matt Brabeck

Graduate Architect

With a Master of Architecture from Bond University, Matthew Brabeck combines his passion for architecture with his ability to apply practical knowledge to his design projects. He has hands-on experience in construction, due to his 7 years as a heavy metal fabricator and welder, which allows him to approach design from a unique perspective. He prides himself on his ability to apply parametric computer modelling techniques to improve proficiency across various modelling and design communication platforms.

Michael Robertson

Senior Technician

With over 10 years’ experience working with a number of distinguished architectural firms, Michael Robertson is an integral part of the ML Design studio team. His strong background in Aged Care, Hospital and Education projects give him a unique perspective on a number of project types. He has also successfully delivered solutions for residential projects – including comprehensive project documentation.

Pit Tan

Project Lead

Having been with ML Design since 2000, Pit Tan is a pivotal member of the studio team and has worked on large-scale projects across Queensland and internationally. His major projects include MacArthur Central, Rotana Hotel Park and the Villa Maria Aged Care Centre. Pit is passionate about working closely with the design and documentation of the studio’s major commercial and residential projects. With a Master of Architecture from Washington University, Pit is well-educated, highly-experienced and consistently delivers results for a number of projects.

Rara KC

Urban Designer

As an architect and urban designer/planner, Rara KC is a highly experienced and invaluable part of the ML Design studio. She has over 7 years’ experience working for the public and private sectors across the globe, including in Nepal, Hawaii and Australia. Her unique combination of experience has seen her work on a range of projects including mixed-use developments, disaster management and large-scale urban redevelopments. Rara is passionate about gaining knowledge and insights from different cultures and applying these to her urban design concepts to deliver truly innovative projects.

Stewart Handasyde

Consultant

Stewart has over 30 years’ experience designing and delivering strategic design solutions for complex projects. He has delivered many commercial, multi-residential, government, sports, leisure and defence projects both nationally and internationally. Passionate about providing cost-effective living solutions, Stewart advocates for new construction techniques and is continually implementing intelligent design concepts in a number of large-scale projects. Through collaborating closely with clients, Stewart provides strategic design solutions that also provide the best value for the project.

Tess Ingram

Receptionist

Tess is currently studying for her Diploma in Practice Management and has over 30 years’ experience in Dentistry, Administration and Customer Service. Tess’s focus is to deliver the very best administrational outcomes and valued customer services to both the internal and external stakeholders at ML Design.

Tom Grist

Graduate Architect

With a Bachelor of Design (Architectural Design) from the Queensland University of Technology, Tom Grist has extensive residential experience around Brisbane. He is a hardworking and enthusiastic addition to the ML Design team, and it’s this work ethic that allows him to collaborate effectively with all stakeholders. Tom’s experience in the design and documentation of residential projects stems from his passion to continually deliver unique design solutions. He is looking forward to continually growing his industry experience and knowledge with ML Design.

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