Best of est 2018 | Top Ten Australian Designers

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    Celebrating the best of home-grown talent with our round up of top ten Australian designers for 2018.

    We’re especially proud of the melting pot that is the Australian design landscape – and feel incredibly passionate about sharing it. So much so, this year we’re debuting our first Best of Est series on our top ten Australian designers, shining a spotlight on who’s leading the design industry locally, nationally – even globally.

    Whether it’s giving insight into what they’ve learned over their career or their most recent work, these designers have been met with serious appetite (and accolades). Sue Carr, Clare Cousins, Jane Kilpatrick and Anna Skermer (formerly Pipkorn), Lucy Marczyk, Eid Goh and Albert Mo, William Smart, Jeremy Bull, Rob Mills, Paul Hecker and Hamish Guthrie, and Alexandra Donohoe have all made our list – read on to find out why.

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    “I have often been encouraged by various parties to design interiors that would appeal to the model. But it is through my belief that good design has the power to make a positive difference on the environment that surrounds it, that I have continued to rebel against fads and trends.”

    – Sue Carr

    Sue Carr

    If there’s a name to know that’s akin with Australian design, it’s Sue Carr. Since co-founding Inarc in the early seventies and later Carr Design Group of where she is now principal, Sue Carr has played a crucial role in the evolution of Australian interior design. Navigating the early days when the career path was largely unheard of, Sue has a far-reaching legacy, earning gold at the Interior Design Excellence Awards. More broadly, Sue Carr was recognised for her leadership by the Financial Review’s Westpac ‘100 Women of Influence’ 2016 event. Working humbly alongside her team, Sue promotes learning and educating; a guidance and support felt across the interior design industry.

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    “For us, sustainability is not just ecological, it’s social as well. Our studio has a particular interest in housing and projects that nurture community. We’re interested in how a commercial building can provide amenity for the local area and how housing projects can include a proportion of affordable housing.”

    – Clare Cousins

    Clare Cousins

    We’ve called Clare Cousins inimitable before and we’re not afraid to do it again. The work of the Melbourne architect and her studio of nine is nonpareil – a testament to going out on her own over a decade ago. As a designer, Clare Cousins is a modest leader and ardent collaborator. She is actively involved in the design community and feels even more passionate about the community nurtured through her work – to which she titles her profession as a service. Undertaking the Nightingale Project was a match made, as an exciting endeavour into developing thoughtful buildings, for a better city.

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    “Without a doubt our very first project – an Eildon Houseboat – is a standout favourite. Being able to transfer our skills to a new platform – a floating house on a smaller scale pushed our thinking and challenged ideas.

    – Jane Kilpatrick

    Pipkorn & Kilpatrick

    Regular readers of est will be familiar with interior design duo Anna Skermer (formerly Pipkorn) and Jane Kilpatrick of Pipkorn & Kilpatrick. Known for their laid-back, contemporary and natural approach to design, every space that these designers touch seems to catch our eye. While their projects may vary visually, their approach is always the same: “to achieve a clean, innovative, time-resistant design through consideration for detail, sustainability and our clients lifestyle”.

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    Anna Skermer (formerly Pipkorn) and Jane Kilpatrick
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    “Melbourne is an exciting place to be working now with a lot of growth and development across residential, hospitality and retail. Nexus has always had an excellent reputation in high-end, one off residential projects, and that continues to be the core work in the studio.”

    – Lucy Marczyk

    Lucy Marczyk of Nexus Designs

    Lucy Marczyk is no stranger at est. Associate & Senior Interior Designer of Nexus Designs, we’ve been lucky to have Lucy’s influence grace the pages of our magazine, pass on her travel tips from the city that never sleeps and forecast trends in Milan. Interior design runs in Lucy’s veins and no better place is it fostered than at Nexus Designs. A frontrunner in the multidisciplinary landscape since the sixties, the award-winning team continue to take on daring projects that keeps them squarely focused on the future.

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    Lucy Marczyk
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    “There is no doubt great architecture requires money (within its geographical context) but more importantly it requires humanity. We are designing it for people and their purpose. When the outcomes exceed beyond expectations they inform, educate and inspire, and for me personally it connects.”

    – Albert Mo

    Architects EAT

    Established by Albert Mo and Eid Go, Architects EAT encompasses a team of 25 designers based locally in Melbourne. While the scale and scope of their projects is often large, they are a honest and humble in going about their work – perhaps because their tip-top designs simply speak for themselves. Out of a successful collaboration, Albert and Eid have built a practice on principle not profit. Learning life lessons by getting their hands dirty, they know the value in tactility, in feeling and experiencing a design on the ground, firsthand.

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    Eid Goh and Albert Mo
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    “Appropriateness is something I really strive for now and think carefully about. I look at the people I’m working for or the area I’m working in, or the people that work in that building and I think about who they are, what they love and what they want. I try to devise a building that is appropriate to its context or the people that live and work there.”

    – William Smart

    William Smart

    With a name like William Smart, architectural brilliance is immediately inferred — and has ensued since the designer discovered this passion at a young age. In 2018, his eponymous practice Smart Design Studio celebrates 21 years of designing with flexibility and for longevity. It’s all about smart thinking for smarter designs, and a smarter future. So who better to ask to build the ‘the best house in the world’? Arguably, with all of the accolades his project Indigo Slam has earned, including the AIA Robin Boyd Award for Residential Architecture, William Smart and his team did exactly that. This year we shared William’s Sydney home and studio up for sale, and boy are we excited to see where he and his team venture to next. 

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    William Smart
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    “For me, the only clear thread between the work – aside from the process within the office which is exploratory and we hope rigorous – is that the work always has this sort of handmade sense. I try and not focus on the automation of the craft and I like things to be made by hand…”

    – Jeremy Bull

    Alexander & Co.

    One of Sydney’s most promising emerging designers, Jeremy Bull and his studio Alexander & Co. are behind many a notable local project – from hospitality institution Watson’s Bay Boutique Hotel,  the epic Sean Connelly at Dubai Opera to one of the most popular homes on est last year Iluka House. This year they leapt out of the blocks with their Rawson Street Home – featured in est magazine issue 28, and more recently their Darling Point project. With a curiosity to take on diverse, multifaceted projects and a respect for craftsmanship and materiality, Jeremy has developed a studio that goes behind responding to a brief to discover what is pivotal about a space and its identity.

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    “I think design is, for better or worse, often misconstrued about being about a style, at a surface level, and I think it comes with maturity that you’re distilling the ideas and getting back to what does make a successful space.”

    – Hamish Guthrie

    Hecker Guthrie

    When it comes to names synonymous with contemporary Australian design, Paul Hecker and Hamish Guthrie are two of the first that come to mind. As the directors of multi-disciplinary design practice Hecker Guthrie, they have carved out a reputation for thoughtful, refined spaces that you can’t help but feel drawn to. Over the past fifteen years they have been responsible for some of the best-loved (and awarded) design projects in recent memory, from The Ivy in Sydney to Piermont in Tasmania and countless residential and commercial projects in their body of work. In 2018, they added to our list of travel destinations with the Lindenderry and Michelton, two new hotel projects in regional Victoria.

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    Paul Hecker & Hamish Guthrie
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    Decus Interiors

    Decus Interiors was conceived from Director Alexandra Donohoe Church’s desire for a design platform from which to trial the unknown and untested in her work. She wanted to create a space where design could be celebrated in all of its manifestations. And aren’t we glad for that? Their work is characterised by a passion for authentic materials, refined curation and a sense of balance that combines tension and delight. In 2018, they brought us their Woollahra Home (one of our Best of Est Australian homes) and Tamarama abode both exuding the glamor, tactility and uniqueness they seem to develop in everything they touch.

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    Alexandra Donohoe
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    Rob Mills

    Rob Mills

    Exciting things are flowing from Rob Mills Architecture & Interior’s (RMA’s) office. The Melbourne-based studio create spaces for their clients that reflect the way in which they want to live; relaxed, comfortable living with a highly refined sense of style. With this approach they’ve taken out a number of awards, most recently at the World Festival of Interiors for their Armadale Residence. In 2018,  we were lucky enough to experience Rob Mill’s own Armadale Residence for ourselves and stay a night at the Ocean House not so long ago. Seeing it in the flesh has only heightened our appreciation for the firm’s work –  and looks like we have plenty to look forward to from them in the year to come.

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