Urban Art Projects (UAP)

Design robotics for mass customisation manufacturing

Research partner

Total Project Value (AUD)

IMCRC Funding (AUD)

Start date

4 years

Brisbane-based Urban Art Projects (UAP) is a design and manufacturing company with design studios around the world that specialises in delivering public art and large creative projects.

With funding from the IMCRC, in 2017 UAP embarked on a design robotics research project in partnership with Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and RMIT University. The aim of the project is to not only reduce the cost of artworks, but also for SMEs to more easily make high-value products and help create export opportunities.

According to Urban Art Projects’ Founder and Managing Director, Matt Tobin, the IMCRC-facilitated research project was proof positive that the digital transformation of manufacturing is reinvigorating the sector.

“Industry 4.0 technologies such as the robotics we are integrating into our processes are changing manufacturing, and in turn it changes the profile of people who are attracted to manufacturing,” he said.

“The new paradigm is breaking down the traditional barriers that existed between the previously siloed teams and precipitating a shift in what skills are perceived as valuable in manufacturing.”

“Our design teams are now fully integrated with our workshop staff – you can’t tell the difference between them; we are one team and all invested in the one vision.”
For Tobin and the UAP team, the experience with the IMCRC has been a positive one.
“This is our first CRC engagement, and it has been a marked success,” he said.
“IMCRC has been incredibly supportive and knowledgeable. We felt we were in safe hands every step of the way with an organisation that truly understands industry.”
But what Tobin didn’t anticipate was the project’s profound impact on UAP’s culture that went far beyond the project’s technological advancements.
“We knew that bringing such a disruptive technology into what was a very traditional workshop environment would require some adjustment,” he said.
“Our strategy to build trust in the project and encourage collaboration within, and across, teams was to empower some of our younger team members with greater input opportunities and decision making responsibilities.”
“Through sharing and demonstrating their enthusiasm and passion, the impact was immediate and sparked a new energy for innovation across the whole team as we supported each other on our technological learning curve,” said Tobin.

Design robotics for mass customisation manufacturing

Robotic vision systems and smart software user-interfaces to streamline the process between design and custom manufacturing


The IMCRC has been a catalyst for fundamental change in our business. Without investment in these types of research partnerships, Australian industry will lose all ability to transform and the impact on our global competitiveness will be devastating.

Matthew Tobin
Founder and Managing Director,
Urban Art Projects