Getting to know IDEA 2021 Designer of the Year finalist Arent&Pyke

Nov 10, 2021
  • Article by Charlotte Huston

In celebration of the 2021 IDEA Awards, ADR is taking a sneak peek into the people behind the design magic. Today Juliette Arent from Arent&Pyke is centre stage.

As a Designer of the Year finalist, Arent&Pyke has four projects shortlisted in the Residential Single category with one more in the Residential – Interior Curation category.

Winners are set to be announced at the 2021 IDEA gala in Sydney in February next year.

To receive regular updates about IDEA, including details of how to enter next year, subscribe to our newsletter.

Arent&Pyke Principal Juliette Arent. Photo: Julie Adams.

Arent&Pyke is a Sydney-based design practice headed by Arent and Sarah-Jane Pyke, encompassing interior architecture and design with a unique focus on the decorative arts.

Since the formation of their practice in 2007, the duo has fine tuned their philosophy around what it means to make a space sing.

Garden house by Arent&Pyke – shortlisted in the Residential Single category.

What would winning IDEA mean to you?

As much as it sounds like a massive cliche, it really is very special just to be nominated.

We have both been on judging panels, and we know how hard it is to evaluate the different projects – appreciating there are so many different variables considered by the designers. So winning is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate with our team and the wonderful industry that we love and are honoured to be a part of.

Why did you enter?

Entering awards is a way of showing our appreciation for IDEA and our industry. It’s important to support the organisations that support us.

We’ve been entering the awards since the early days of our business and winning our first IDEA helped build our profile. It’s also a way for our team to see that all the hard work is being recognised not just by our clients, but by our peers.

Darley House by Arent&Pyke – shortlisted in the Residential Single category.

If you win, where will the trophy go?

In the studio, so that the whole team can enjoy it. It can’t hurt for our clients to catch a glimpse of it too!

How has COVID-19 affected your business?

It’s been one of those very rare times where a seismic shift has occurred across industries and borders, and our ways of working have changed forever. We can work remotely in ways we never imagined. We’re on a first-name basis with a few more apps. It’s like we’ve all taken an evolutionary leap.

Having said that, face-to-face meetings to present to clients and site visits in person will remain the best way and most enjoyable way to do our work.

Hue house by Arent&Pyke – shortlisted in the Residential – Interior Curation category.

What advice would you give to emerging designers who want to follow your path?

The world of design has opened up so dramatically since we started in the industry.

When we moved studio several years back now, we threw out pages and pages of tear-outs from magazines! There is now an abundance of inspiration online, but inspiration shouldn’t just be from a screen.

Travelling, exploring our own city, and looking at the natural world around us is equally important. Also, prioritise your interpersonal skills. Become a storyteller, so you can take clients on a journey with confidence.

Looking back, what is one thing you are proudest of?

Always a difficult question to answer. We’re proud to have built our business while our kids were very young, and we still keep some work-life balance. And we’ve built a brand that is well-loved with clients who have become dear friends.

Queens Park house by Arent&Pyke – shortlisted in the Residential Single category.

How would you describe your outlook for the future? What do you want to see for the design industry?

We have a wonderful team and every year more interesting opportunities come our way, so the adventure continues. We can plan all we like but exciting projects come along, and we find ourselves constantly re-energised.

As for the design industry, we can see the next big shift towards accountability and mindfulness with regards to sustainability. Our role is to educate our clients about good design – and that good design encompasses our impact on the planet.

La Casa Rosa by Arent&Pyke – shortlisted in the Residential Single category. Photo: Prue Ruscoe.

Explore more from the 2021 Designer of the Year finalists and other award categories on the IDEA website.

Photography: Anson Smart unless otherwise specified.

Earlier this year, ADR explored Arent&Pyke’s design process in Garden House, which responded to Polly Harbison’s architecture to create an interior that is harmonious, enhanced and entirely considered.


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