dB(A))) Internal Esquisse


(Studio Round) Rob, Michaela and Eva


dB(A) Archichessture was an internal virtual esquisse, to design a new chess board or pieces (or both). The only rules were that they needed to be (exceptional) and of the nature of dB(A). ⁠

One of our core values here at dB(A) is PLAY. The purpose of these internal design challenges is to play – to collaborate, to look at things differently, to find meaning and problem solve.

The goal was to bring chess back into play. And play back into our game. A fun internal esquisse during the lockdown period. Below is the output from this wacky, fun and compelling spin from the teams at dB(A))).

Special thanks to our very distinguished judges, Robert Nudds and Michaela Webb, from StudioRound for joining our Archichessture Esquisse.⁠ Visit the link here to see the fantastic portfolio of works by Studio Round.


1 x winner per category (you may enter both!)
2 x categories – pieces / board
3 x weeks to complete
4 x minute presentation (subject to the numbers of entries!)
5 x hours each (on the clock)

Teams could present in any format, drawn on paper, modelled digitally etc. The competition was judged on content, theme, execution and innovation. The approach could be conventional or outside the box!


dB(A))) is committed to producing the winning design. Watch this space for updates and the finished prototype

(The Queens (Champions))

Lillian Le

Biljana Lojanica

Dauntie Rutty-Muirhead

Our design, formed from the collective female experiences/desires to challenge long-standing ‘traditional’ traits, terms and attributes.  Abstractly representing strong gender-neutral concepts that have been traditionally seen as male, we use female-centric representational forms on an egalitarian, infinite board.  The form of each piece is an abstract representation of ‘the female’ narrative, often overlooked or under-represented due to the dominance of hetero-normativity.  Identifying roles having been designated more ‘masculine’, and ascribing them to our Queens chess set, we break down the societal norms and prosecute the idea that these traits are gender-neutral.

Our material and form choice invests in aesthetic sustainability.  Concrete is subverted and melded with glass, to challenge the concept of sturdy solidity, and involve organic form with natural, earth-based materials, while keeping the ideas of strength, weightlessness and fragility.


Adrian Coleiro

Elena Nentcheva

Son Nguyen

Chessellation – The game cannot start with a missing piece, however loosing chess pieces was always a big issue with players from the beginning of the game. We drew the inspiration from MC Escher’s Tessellation drawing with interlocking repetitive patterns to create a neat & compact chess set which can prevent loss of chess pieces. The chess set can be 3D Printed, or made of wood. The foldable chessboard contains slots to hold the pieces in place when the game is on. The pieces are made up of interlocking blocks, which together form rectangular boxes that can be locked inside the folded chessboard, so that nothing will fall out. The interlocking pieces are sculpted to have contrast looks & vibes that represent the opposition between the light and the dark sides, reflecting the concept of Yin & Yang.

(The Chess Exceptional Edition Team)

Chris Jones

Iris Meng

Yvonne Yu

The Coronavirus lockdown reminds us all of the tactile and communal delights of the physical world over the cold limitations of the digital. We are yearning for company, travel and the engagement of our five senses: sight, sound, hearing, touch and taste.

Chess – The Exceptional Edition is the embodiment and the celebration of those delights that we’ll not take for granted again. The pieces are exquisitely hand-carved of Australian hardwoods – heavy in the hands, expressing their role through subtle variations in form, atypical but instantly recognisable. The pieces are finished with natural washes: Japanese black for the black pieces, liming for the white. Embedding a magnet in the base of the piece enhances the sound of interaction with the piece and the timber board.

The board is similarly timber in construction, able to be folded to transport together with the pieces to your favourite chess location, be it urban, rural, local or exotic.

Engage with the world around you, engage with Chess – The Exceptional Edition.

(A Quibit Taco)

Tim Percy

David Smith


A Qubit Taco was developed from marrying two complex chess systems together to create a unique interweaving game play. This approach is used to describe complex, dynamic systems with many competing entities and interests, including politics, diplomacy and warfare. Chess is only as strong as the mind it takes to play it, the complex systems of life and chess intertwine within A Qubit Taco.

(Team Chen Tran)

Arthur Chen

Lam Tran

It is Important to pay homage to artistry ideas and acknowledge their origins while combining those elements with modern look and technology without losing key feature of each chess piece.

The Idea starts simply with by just looking at a piece of Aboriginal art, and then we asked ourselves what if we can print that artwork on a thin sheet of metal, then laser cut them in to different shape and bend them into certain way to form chess pieces.

Normally we see the chess board as a 2D element, but it could be designed as a 3D object just like architecture. By subdividing the overall volume into small cubes and articulating them, we could create positive and negative space with support of framing elements and flat base. Therefore, the chess board can also be regarded as an artwork upside down.


Johnny Xu

Yichen Yang

Introducing Chessr, a chess set that addresses the relationship between its players. Whether you are an aspiring new chess fanatic, or an experienced player. You sit, play, and collaborate. The pieces are individually crafted to exude the Decibel brand. Paying homage to the Melbourne context, the pieces are designed to explore elements of modern and simplicity.

Utilising digital fabrication methods from 3D printing, CNC to Laser Cutting. The board is cut precisely by laser in a myriad of colours. With easy assemblage and convenience of storage, Chessr is a set to not miss.


Decibel Architecture does not own any of the indigenous artworks and stock images used on this page. All rights belong to the original artist/creator. If you are the rightful owner and wish to be attributed please reach out to us.