11 Mar 2024

Design Quintessence’s DYNAMIC DUO

Lusia Ah Kuoi and Ian Wood

These two hard-working personalities epitomise the ethos of the Design Quintessence family. Design Quintessence has proudly nominated Lusia Ah Kuoi and Ian Wood for our ‘People’ Issue.

Lusia’s remarkable journey from running a family store in Samoa to becoming an integral part of Design Quintessence’s success story is truly inspiring.


Lusia’s unwavering commitment to personal and professional growth, demonstrated through her pursuit of education – gaining diplomas in both Business Administration and Human Resources – while balancing single parenthood, reflects her dedication to excellence. Lusia’s core values of integrity, humility, and exceptionally hard work are evident in every facet of her life, embodying with every cell the ethos that propels Design Quintessence forward. As she marks her 18th year with the company, Lusia continues to epitomise the spirit of teamwork, innovation, and positivity. Her contributions to the industry, characterised by her infectious enthusiasm and genuine empathy, make her an exemplary figure among the exceptional individuals shaping the landscape of customer experience.

Lusia’s story serves as a testament to the power of perseverance and resilience in the face of adversity. Starting off her working life as a child, where she helped out in the family’s corner store in her small village in Samoa seven days a week, has made Lusia resilient beyond measure. Her strength of character shines through, particularly during personal challenges such as her son’s battle with cancer, where her unwavering dedication to her family and work remained steadfast. Lusia’s reputation as “Mrs. Reliable” speaks volumes about her ability to deliver solutions with dependability, even under the pressures of the industry, although the phrase is, in every respect, an understatement. She exemplifies the type of individual one wants to engage with in an environment where deadlines are non-negotiable, consistently exceeding expectations and showcasing a remarkable ability to get the job done.

Of the company she works tirelessly for – Design Quintessence – Lusia says this:


“They say that you associate with people that share the same values as yourself.

DQ’s values of sense of humour, integrity, problem solving, pride and loyalty resonate with me strongly. I only hope that I have projected these values to my workmates, clients, customers and everyone that I’ve had the distinct pleasure of working with!”

That she has!

Not to be outdone (or perhaps expecting to be outdone!), the founder and director of Design Quintessence, Ian Wood, initially humbly declined his DQ colleagues’ nomination for CX Magazine’s People Issue, citing a perceived lack of impact on the industry.

However, through a series of questions, we uncovered his remarkable journey and why we affectionately refer to him as “Woody,” recognising him as well deserving of such recognition.

Delving into his story, one customer’s query stood out most: “Does your business define you?” Initially, Ian might have shrugged this off, but upon reflection, the essence of his character shines through in the company’s values. From humour to integrity, to problem-solving, maintaining exceptional standards, and fostering loyalty and trust, Ian’s admiration for the Staging and Production community resonates deeply. He acknowledges the industry’s ethos, where regardless of challenges, the show must go on, underscoring the importance of supporting these dedicated professionals. Ian confides that his greatest fear is letting people down, a testament to his commitment.

The staff at DQ can attest to Ian’s unwavering support, care, and loyalty, all rooted in these shared values. His journey began in North Sydney as Ian embarked on a traineeship with the Water Resources Commission, delving into survey drafting – an opportunity that sparked his independence and passion for learning.

Facing the prospect of relocating with government decentralisation initiatives, Ian seized a unique opportunity, taking extended leave to explore his options. It was during this time that he came upon a drafting position in a lighting company, marking his entry into the entertainment realm. Despite the initial challenges of stepping into a designer role, Ian swiftly adapted, showcasing his aptitude for rapid learning.

Ironically, his journey first led him overseas to London, where he flourished in the oil industry while continuing his drafting work. A return to Australia then ensued, prompted by his father’s illness, ultimately paving the way for the establishment of Design Quintessence.

Ian’s lifelong passion for music found resonance in DQ, offering him a bridge to the industry he admired. His profound respect for production professionals, who labour tirelessly behind the scenes, fuels his dedication. Ian recognises the immense pressure and challenges they face, and admires their unwavering commitment to ensuring a seamless execution of events. He takes pride in being part of a support network that enables these incredible productions to come to life, knowing that their efforts often go unnoticed by event attendees.

In essence, Ian Wood embodies the values of dedication, determination, and professionalism, and his deep-seated commitment to excellence make him a deserving nominee in our eyes.


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