Established in 1992, Village Well grew from the eclectic community owned and managed Ross House in Flinders Lane, Melbourne, a place that has inspired many social and community enterprises. Village Well is now Australia’s leading creative Placemaking consultancy, inspiring the search for renewed meaning, purpose and pride in places.

Village Well was instrumental in the activation of Melbourne’s Flinders Lane and Degraves Street in the early 90’s, a process which successfully catalysed the transformation of other laneways and created some of the city’s iconic experiences.

Over the past two decades, Village Well has refined and developed unique processes of analysis, engagement, visioning and concept development, tapping into community potential to discover the DNA of a place that informs its future development and use. Village Well has gained an exceptional reputation for a creative and holistic approach to development and the activation of places.

Village Well has since been influential in the collaborative creation of many of Melbourne’s iconic and celebrated places across Australian cities and regional towns, along with the reimagining of admired places internationally. With expertise across a broad range of areas, we have been involved with activating small towns and main streets, mixed use developments and masterplanning, universities, markets, public spaces and shopping centres.

Who we are

  • Gilbert Rochecouste

    Founder & Managing Director

    Gilbert is recognised both nationally and internationally as a leading voice in Placemaking. He is a sought-after speaker and motivator, known for his innovative thinking, dynamic engagement processes and inspirational approach to community activation. His catalyst ideas have regenerated iconic places and enlivened many urban and rural communities. Gilbert sees the potential of Placemaking to inspire a deeper cultural and social environmental awareness and stewardship to make a difference both locally and globally. Gilbert has worked with hundreds of mainstreets, developers and businesses over the last 20 years to create more vibrant, connected and resilient communities.

  • Alisha Baker

    Principal Placemaker

    Alisha is the Principal Placemaker who has worked professionally as an urban designer, landscape architect and planner in local government and the private sector, engaging a wide range of stakeholders in meaningful conversations about their places and ways to improve them. Alisha enjoys thinking big while tackling in detail the spatial qualities, functionality and sustainability of places. Being a sensory, curious person, she loves exploring new places, meeting the locals and tasting the local cuisine.

  • Ai Ogawa

    Senior Placemaker

    Ai is a Senior Placemaker with extensive experience in public art, cultural infrastructure and urban development in Australia and Japan. Ai is passionate about community engagement and has a deep appreciation of the meaning of place and the power of people in creating and fostering it. When Ai is not Placemaking she is likely to be busy applying her creative energies to furniture making.

  • Marli Roberts

    Senior Placemaker

    Marli is a Senior Placemaker with a background in private and non-for-profit sectors as an urban planner and is passionate about how the social elements inform spatial form. Marli brings her local and international experience to Village Well, having worked as an urban planner abroad assisting in capacity building, collaborative engagement and the sustainable transformation of developing communities.

  • Marcus Dessewffy

    Senior Placemaker

    Marcus is a Senior Placemaker with a professional background in information technology and having established and managed an online retail business, Marcus is now pursuing his passion for sustainable and community development. When away from the computer, he is likely to be found undertaking urban farming, hiking or exploring around the world.

  • Prudence Blake


    Prue has recently started working as a Placemaker, building on her experience working in urban planning, strategic planning, community engagement and the adaptive re-use of heritage buildings. She has a strong background in research and is passionate about understanding the stories of place and how this can be built upon to create great places that celebrate their unique attributes. When not working, Prue is an expert at the art of flâneur and is often out exploring cities on foot. 

  • Damian Meoli


    Damian is a Placemaker having recently graduated with a Masters in Urban Planning. Damian has a keen interest in the soft infrastructure that makes our cities enjoyable and socially functional. Damian brings a diverse range of skills to the team drawing on his experiences working abroad in not-for-profit, international community development, environmental, and spatial science roles. In his spare time Damian is either rehearsing or playing a gig somewhere far from his home.

  • Elissa McMillan


    Elissa is a Placemaker with experience in urban planning, social research and community development, bringing a multidisciplinary perspective to her approach. Having worked in local government, community and private sectors, Elissa has facilitated outcomes that improve inclusion, equity and resilience with a diversity of stakeholders and communities. She is passionate about creating authentic and vibrant places that are valued and loved and contribute in a unique way to the social and built form of cities. When not in the studio, Elissa is exploring the city and travelling avidly.

  • Craig Ingrey

    Business Development Manager

    Craig has a thirty-year career in events management, theatre production design and business development within the arts, social enterprise and political arenas. With extensive experience in creating leadership and training programs, campaigning and fundraising – he has a passion for justice and wellness and creating a happy place. When not in the office he is a freelance provocateur – often on the streets absorbed in culture and seeking out the next new look.

  • Cliodhna Cooke

    Practice Manager

    Cliodhna organises and coordinates daily office operations. While also providing support to the managing director and the Placemaking team. With a background in Marketing within the design industry Cliodhna has worked in a number of small and large practices both nationally and internationally. When away from the office Cliodhna loves discovering and exploring her adopted home country of Australia.

  • Peta Fawcett

    Design Lead

    Peta has worked in the industry for over 15 years. She has worked for various studios across Melbourne and the UK, as well as teaching design at Shillington College. Peta loves anything that is new, challenging, evolving and exciting. She is an active member of the arts and design community that continues to inspire her creative instincts.