March Studio, a multidisciplinary architecture practice, has been a leader in design since it was established in 2007. It has amassed a critical portfolio of completed projects that are truly individual, embrace new ideas and directions and inevitably set trends. In the latest issue of inside directors Rodney Eggleston and Anne- Laure Cavigneaux discuss their work and the underlying ideas that drive them and their team to achieve greater heights within the world of design.
inside: Since inception, March Studio has been renowned for understanding what a brand is and representing it through design. What is the process and how do you drill down into a client brief and then translate this to an interior?
Rodney Eggleston and Anne-Laure Cavigneaux: We often look to cinematography for inspiration when designing for brands. From [Jacques] Tati, [Peter] Sellers, [Georges] Mélies to [Stanley] Kubrick, via [François] Truffault, [Wong Kar] Wai and [Terry] Gilliam… In many ways what we do for these projects is like creating a short film. First we need to believe in the brand story. We conceive the dialogue with our client, imagining different scenarios and how these might play out in the space. Then, we translate the narrative into a physical environment through lighting, ambience, materials. We compose the costumer experience, and what would be the legacy of their holistic experience. The process is a story, the result is physical and material, but palpable and empirical.
What is the most important aspect of designing a new interior for a client?
To design for all, to create projects that have legacy that will stand the test of time.
Brands often get bogged down with marketing and strategies that tend to divide our community into narrow segments. We often see marketing following other creative fields like design, architecture, art, fashion, post-rationalising and dictating our habits. This philosophy creates fleeting spaces that do not last, being more wrapped in the moment of trend and fashion than making a lasting statement.
Many designers and architects say they design site and client specific, but March Studio truly creates experiential design that is constantly changing. How is this achieved?
We like to explore different design languages via varying geometries and materials. This is facilitated by our large workshop, where prototypes and experiments are produced on a daily basis. When you start to unpack the possibilities of fabrication techniques – such as folding, bending, spinning, turning, casting etc – it’s hard to imagine two projects that could look the same. Each project is an experiment that gains us a little bit more knowledge and the confidence to try something else new.
March Studio is perhaps one of the first practices to understand that branding, concept, graphics and interiors work together for a complete design outcome. What led you to explore this multidisciplinarian approach to design?
When we started out we found it a little strange that architects didn’t engage with interiors, retail or brands in Australia. It was a taboo form of work full of mostly uninspiring environments. We knew when we started that we weren’t going to design a museum as a first project! And when the GFC (global financial crisis) took hold in 2007, combined with the threat of internet shopping eradicating all forms of high street shopping, we found ourselves looking at retail as a genuine area for fresh thinking and exploration.
We have always liked a multidisciplinarian approach because it enables us full control, the ability to remain nimble and move quickly, and capture a singular, holistic endeavour.
Your projects are all so very different and individual. Which do you think have been the most successful and why?
Each project captures what we were learning and thinking about at the time, in our career. It is really hard to choose one over the other because ultimately they all only exist because of each other. We love the immediacy of retail and hospitality, but we also appreciate the time for refinement that goes into larger scale projects, houses, public buildings and the like.
Photography by Peter Bennetts and Diana Snape