Ahead of the awards ceremony, we caught up with practice directors Kylie Dorotic and Alicia McKimm.
Australian Design Review: Can you discuss the process behind the Sum of Us project that is entered in this year’s awards?
Kylie Dorotic: Sum Of Us is a wellness centre, housing physiotherapy, yoga and pilates studios, and an in-house café. We were approached with this project by the client, and – from the initial meeting – it really felt that there was a special rapport and that we were the right fit for one another.
We collaborated with graphic design studio Pop and Pac, who created the identity and graphics behind the Sum Of Us story. We were then tasked with imagining this identity within the context of the interiors.
Alicia McKimm: Converting a residential heritage building to a health and wellbeing practice presented a number of challenges for GOLDEN to navigate throughout the design process; while navigating the complexities of planning and compliance in repurposing the use of the building.
Inspired by the concepts of transformation and connection, we honoured the heritage detail and celebrated the existing shell, rather than replacing it. Soft neutrals and sympathetic detail provide a gentle contemporary reimagining of the space. Rings of light and circular iconography mirror the movement, core and energy of the practices contained within, while an ombré blue anchors deep calm into the space.
ADR: What have been your proudest achievements in your careers to date?
KD: Building and sustaining a boutique studio over the past four years, that is uncompromising in its drive to produce beautiful projects.
AM: The broad mix of projects that we’ve amassed within our folio feels like a huge achievement. Each project is a unique response to the client, brief and site. As a result, they all feel distinctly individual; with a common thread being the high level of detail and execution.
ADR: What excites or frustrates you about the current state of Australian design?
KD: Australian designers bring a level of energy and passion that’s unrivalled; that’s so inspiring.
AM: The internet has rapidly grown to provide a huge source of inspiration to designers – from following people on Instagram to international blogs. That connectedness means that we often are all looking at the same thing. The challenge is to ensure that you foster a unique design handwriting and that your projects are driven by one big idea, rather than replicating a series of Pinterest trends.
ADR: Where do you turn for inspiration, and who in your industry inspires you?
KD: The authenticity and timelessness of designers Piero Lissoni, John Pawson and Ilse Crawford continue to greatly influence me. I find travel inspiring, with the well-designed functionality of Palm Springs architecture and the functionality of Japanese modernism being two discoveries that I found creatively invigorating.
AM: Carlo Scarpa’s materiality, Marcio Kogan’s bold refinement, and the emotive level to Ilse Crawford’s work are all a huge inspiration.
ADR: Can you give us a little insight into the work you do?
AM: GOLDEN produces bespoke interiors, with an emphasis on high attention to detail and timelessness. We work across all sectors, from high-end residential to multi-residential, hospitality, retail and commercial.
ADR: What are you working on currently, or looking forward to working on?
KD: We currently have a range of projects on the GOLDEN drawing board. We’re working alongside architecture practice Seidler Group on a beautiful, high-end home in Brighton. The collaboration between the client and design team has been really strong, and we’re excited to see the outcome.
AM: We’ve created a unique and exciting concept for a new yoga studio and café. Our client currently owns a progressive studio and is branching out into a new location. We’re also designing a large hospitality space to sit at the base of a hospital. It’s been a unique challenge to create a space that feels welcoming and comfortable in a generally uncomfortable environment. We’ve just completed the schematic design, and are looking forward to the project commencing construction in early 2018.
ADR: What led you to a career in design?
AM: I have a creative but very logical mind. Growing up and in my school days, I really enjoyed the balance between split interests in art and design, as well as maths. Moving into a career in interior design felt like a natural step to suit both of my interests.
KD: I’ve always been creative – I have a background in visual arts and have always had a passion for sculpture and design. I knew I wanted a career and thought interior design would be a good medium for me to explore how people interact with volume and space. I completed a degree in interior design and never looked back.
ADR: Can you tell us a little about some of the challenges and highlights of establishing a practice?
KD: The biggest challenge of establishing a design practice is learning the practical skills of running a business when your core skillset is in design.
AM: We’re heading into our fifth year and GOLDEN has had many highlights. We try to always celebrate the wins, no matter how big or small. A recent highlight was winning ‘Best Overall Restaurant’ at the Restaurant and Bar Design Awards in London for The Penny Drop.