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A word from Our CEO Prof Des Laubscher

Founder of GDC in 1987 with Ingrid Leujes, Prof Des Laubscher is the guru of Design Education.

Greenside Design Center was established initially as an Interior Design College in 1987. Ingrid Leujes and Desmon Laubscher, founding members of Design Center were previously lecturers at the Technikon Witwatersrand where HE had been Head of the Interior Design Department for five years. In 1992, the liaison with the Nottingham Trent University was first established, culminating in the development of BA Honours Degree courses in Interior and Graphic Design. The Multimedia BA Honours Degree course soon followed. After a rigorous appraisal procedure, Greenside Design Center was admitted as an educational member to the International Federation of Interior Architects/Designers in September 1997 and a membership of the International Council of Graphic Design Associations followed a few months later. In 2005 GDC became the first design education institution in Africa to become members of Cumulus, a networking organisation of the top design schools in the world. The Center prides itself on its information technology hub, which we believe will keep us as leaders in design education both locally and abroad.


Des is at present Vice President of the International Council of Design (ico-D). He has just been appointed as the international coordinator for design education. In this post he heads up two working groups, research and curriculum development.


He is a Past President of the International Federation of Interior Architects/Designers (IFI) and a parliamentarian of the federation. IFI represents the interests of designers worldwide in 60 countries. Des wrote the IFI Position Paper on Social Responsible Design. He also served on the Strategic Planning Committee of IFI and received a lifetime achievement award and a fellowship from the federation at their General Assembly in Kuala Lumpur in 2014. He has attended every General Assembly of IFI since 1991 till today.


He is a Fellow and was an Executive Board Member of Design for the World, based in Barcelona, Spain, which is a multi-disciplinary organisation concerned with humanitarian aspects of design.


In 2001 he was appointed as a Visiting Professor of Design at Nottingham Trent University because of his achievements in promoting socially responsible design on an international level. His appointment was vetted by interior architects in Sweden, Denmark, Australia, Korea and Ireland.


In 2019 he became the President of the Pan Afrikan Design Institute, an organisation that seeks to unify design educators and professionals, partnering with regional and global policy makers to facilitate afrika’s socio-economic development through design.


Prof Des Laubscher is the only person in the world to have served on four international design bodies;


President and Fellow of the International Federation of Interior Architects/Designers (IFI)

  • • Fellow and Board Member of Design for the World Barcelona, Spain
  • • Vice President of the International Council of Design (ico-D)
  • • President of the Pan Afrikan Design Institute (PADI)



He is also the founder and Past President of the African Institute for the Interior Design Professions. (IID)


He has presented papers, served on panels and conducted design workshops in the following countries, USA, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Portugal, Italy, China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Ghana, Botswana and of course South Africa.


He has also been a juror for many design competitions both internationally and locally.

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