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IDEA 2024 launches in a night of colour, cocktails and inspiring conversation with Miele and Arent&Pyke

IDEA 2024 launches in a night of colour, cocktails and inspiring conversation with Miele and Arent&Pyke


Miele’s experience centre in Chatswood became a hive of great conversation for the IDEA 2024 launch party in Sydney on Tuesday night.

As has been the tradition for 10 consecutive years, IDEA Overall Sponsor Miele hosted the annual IDEA launch event, which as always, set the tone for an exciting year of engaging and wide-ranging design conversations.

Despite a crash on the Sydney Harbour Bridge delaying the arrival of some of our guests, spirits were high and conversations about new projects, potential collaborations on guitars and dog bowls, and the right way to stack a dishwasher flowed as freely as the cocktails and wine. 

It was fantastic to see so many familiar faces of the design industry, members of Australian Design Review’s 30UNDER30 2023 cohort, and IDEA partners old and new, who came together to celebrate the launch of IDEA. 

An IDEA launch is not all about the libations and exceptional canapes that emerged continuously from Miele’s test kitchen. It’s also about being inspired by your peers and being exposed to new ideas and innovations.

This year was no different. After guests had explored Miele’s extensive range of appliances, including learning about Miele’s innovative dishwasher PowerDisk, guests were treated to a conversation between IDEA 2023 designer of the year Sarah-Jane Pyke of Arent&Pyke, and Australian Design Review’s managing editor Jessica Agoston-Cleary. 

Pyke described the kitchen as “the marketplace or the town square of the household”. 

“The kitchen is such a place of connection for a family,” she said. “It’s where so many memories are made.” 

Pyke and Agoston-Cleary discussed Arent&Pyke’s design process, surfacing design inspiration gems about how ‘SJ’ — as she’s known to friends and family — infuses the spaces she designs with heart and soul. 

“One of our key aspects is thinking about layering,” Pyke explained. “We’re thinking about layering materials, we’re thinking about light and shade, we’re thinking about different heights. It’s about creating depth in a space so that you don’t see everything there is to see in the first instance. Our spaces reveal different experiences within them at different times of the day and for different people in a family.”

Passionate, relatable and bursting with infectious creative energy, Pyke spoke about her design process and the realities of what it takes to make it in the highly competitive world of interior design. 

“When Juliette and I started Arent&Pyke over 20 years ago, we wanted to create a business that would support our lives and the lives of anybody who worked with us.  This is reflected in the hours that we work [and] the fees that we charge so that we can work the right hours, the way that we structure client interactions, and the way we look after our team, as well as all of our relationships with suppliers and partners.” 

When asked how Arent&Pyke managed to forge ahead with their bold, colourful, layered style, Pyke replied, without missing a beat: “We had a few lucky breaks in the beginning where we worked with some older clients, who are just so much more daring. They’ve seen it all before and they’ve done it all before and they don’t need to copy anyone. We presented bold concepts and they’d embrace them. Older clients are not worried about who they’re going to sell their home to. They just want to love it.”

This level of frank honesty, personal anecdotes and Agoston-Cleary’s final question about dishwasher stacking philosophies opened the door to a robust and wide-ranging audience Q and A session. 

“There are two types of dishwasher people,” Pyke declared. “Stackers and re-stackers.  I’m a re-stacker.”

Questions included, does interior design become less stressful with more time in the industry?  Pyke affirmed the industry was stressful, and no, it never gets easier. “We take it really seriously,” she told the audience. “We’re holding people’s dreams in our hands. We are taking the biggest chunk of change they’ll ever spend and we’re spending it. So we take those responsibilities really seriously.”

The opportunity that AI presented for designers was another topic for discussion. “We’re hoping that advances in AI technology are going to take a lot of the drudge out. It’s going to make things safer and quicker and more compliant, which will free us up for incredible creativity,” Pyke said.

Early bird entries for IDEA 2024 are now open until Sunday 14 April. Find out about the categories and how to enter, here.

IDEA 2024 is sponsored by Miele, Crafted HardwoodsCultForestOne, NeolithHalliday + BaillieKrostMillerKnollLaufen and Zenith.

Photo credit: Narrative Post


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