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Getting to know IDEA 2023 Institutional winner Nickolas Gurtler Office

Getting to know IDEA 2023 Institutional winner Nickolas Gurtler Office


Nickolas Gurtler Office took home the trophy for the Institutional category at the Interior Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) last month for Ocean Cosmetics.

The IDEA Institutional category is open to any interior design projects funded by a public body and/or dedicated to public care. While this year’s winner – Ocean Cosmetics – is an aesthetic medical clinic located in the beachside locale of Cottesloe in Western Australia, it reimagines the clinic experience, creating an environment akin to a luxury boutique or exclusive hotel.

Ocean Cosmetics

As someone who spent many years living in Perth, Crafted Hardwoods founder and director Geoffrey Swinbourne was excited to announce the Institutional category winner on the awards night.

“I know Cottesloe very well and I feel Nickolas captured the combination of the local environment perfectly,” he says. 

“I can see the ocean, sand and Western Australia’s dark timbers used to create a luxury environment for one of WA’s leading cosmetics companies.”

Ocean Cosmetics

From his office back in Melbourne, Nickolas Gurtler reflects on his win and the year that was.

ADR: What did it mean for you to win your category?

Nickolas Gurtler: I feel incredibly proud. I started my business eight years ago immediately after graduating from university. Seeing our studio name up there with such incredible design firms that I’ve looked up to since the beginning of my career was surreal. I’m so proud of myself, my team and feel so honoured by the win – hopefully, it’s the start of more to come! 

Ocean Cosmetics
Tell us about your winning project. What was its inspiration and how did you achieve the outcome that you did?

The inspiration came from the Thierry Mugler Angel perfume bottle. It was the first perfume bottle to truly become an object rather than just a vessel. We were inspired by the sharp angles and the soft blue colour of the glass and it evolved from there.

We also looked at some obscure sources for inspiration, as we often do, like the nautilus shell, which informed the radial floor plan.

I think this project embodied our style as a studio, but also was bold and pushed the boundaries of what this type of space typically looks like. We are thankful a client trusted us to develop such a bold design! 

Ocean Cosmetics
Ocean Cosmetics
How would you describe 2023?

A whirlwind if I’m honest! It flew by so quickly and was filled with twists and turns. We faced some challenges head on and we are so thrilled to be finishing the year on a high.

I’m really proud of some of the projects we finished this year and am very excited by the projects we have commenced for 2024.

Nickolas Gurtler Office
Ocean Cosmetics
What’s next for you? Can you share any upcoming or current projects you’re working on?

We just wrapped up a home we’ve been working on for six years in Western Australia that we are excited to share. Stay tuned for us to reveal that soon! 

We have a very busy roster of projects in 2024. We are working on quite a diverse variety of projects at the moment, including very special homes in rural Victoria and Western Australia, a commercial office in Sydney and some wellness/aesthetic medical projects in Melbourne. 

Nickolas Gurtler
Ocean Cosmetics
How do you plan to wrap up 2023?

We’ve had a very busy few weeks before we finish up on 20 December, so it’s a race to the finish line to get everything completed. I’m travelling to the US in January to visit mid-century marvels, makers and artisans to inspire myself for the year to come.

Photography by Timothy Kaye.

Get to know the IDEA 2023 Residential Interior Curation winner Simone Haag.


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