Design Field Notes

Design Field Notes

Design Field Notes

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What's On

Breaking Boundaries: Australian Design

The Belle Coco Republic Interior Design Awards, year after year, demonstrate the support, encouragement and respect from both Belle and Coco Republic for the Australian interior design community.  The Awards throw a spotlight on the excellence, creativity and innovation of our local industry.

I don’t have an overall favourite entry, but I was particularly impressed by the quality of entries in this year’s Hospitality category.  I think restaurant interiors are enjoying a renaissance and it’s very exciting.  The finalists in this category were truly world class.  In the residential category I loved the clean, simple lines of Susi Leeton’s magnificent house on the Mornington Peninsula and Arent & Pyke’s winning update of a classic Sydney terrace was beautifully pitched.

Each year Australian design grows in confidence and in its own sense of identity. The fact that you can open a magazine from anywhere in the world and immediately identify an Australian interior is truly exciting.

The most significant trend I discovered throughout the judging process would have to be a spirit of experimentation, especially in the residential category.  More than ever before, interior designers are playing with colour, pattern, texture and mood to create interiors that are truly bespoke.  Australians have always been good at adapting the rules but now it feels as if we are bending them too – but in a very positive and individual way!

Most of the award finalists are reasonably well-established and that is to be expected, but each year a greater number of individual designers and design practices are represented.  New finalists in this year’s awards included Susi Leeton, SJB Interiors and Sarah Davison Interior Design.  It’s interesting too to watch designers like Pascale Gomes-McNabb add residential interiors to her acclaimed hospitality portfolio and George Livissianis establishing a reputation in the commercial and hospitality sector. Interior Designer of the Year Greg Natale’s work continues to evolve and mature.


Neale Whitaker