What are the key ingredients of an incredible interior space?
Now that’s a complex question. If we are going to look beyond the essential functional arrangements, materials, performance and sustainability; an interior’s uniqueness is created through research and a reflection of client input. It sets an immersive environment – a place that invites dialogue, both specific and unique. This is always the most exciting challenge for me.
You have an amazing art collection. Can you tell us how art influences your design process?
The works I collect are by Australian contemporary artists with environmental and socio-political content. They all say something of the contemporary environment within which we live. Having said that, they are nevertheless an invitation into an imaginative world – some are noisy and some are very quiet. I think the work I have been involved, in some respects parallels this.
You’ve been renovating lately, tell us a little about your home.
My home dates circa 1970. By pure coincidence, it’s constructed using the same handmade bricks that are signature to the University of Melbourne, including the heritage component within Arts West. For Arts West, these bricks form one of the key ingredients for the Atrium, so for my own home it fed into the process of my own renovations – a great resource of research to draw from.
Tell us about an interior project you are proud of?
I’m going to list projects that are diametrically opposite for this one… Shrine of Remembrance, for its revery and Geelong Library for its celebration of community. Also, Arts West for its exuberant embrace of the power of knowledge and Monash Chancellery for its power through moderation.
Tell us something we didn’t know about Melbourne Recital Centre.
The construction of the Melbourne Recital Centre created a national supply shortage for plywood – I guess that really wouldn’t be a surprise! A more secret one might be that signatures on panels in the ceiling cavity of the Auditorium include the signature of Dame Elizabeth Murdoch – that’s really a time capsule piece – I hope I haven’t spoilt a sense of discovery for future generations for this one – it really is a secret.