Behind the scenes with Domenic Alvaro

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    Behind the scenes with Domenic Alvaro

    Domenic Alvaro is a principal at Woods Bagot, Australia’s largest design firm. His work includes lifestyle, retail and hospitality destinations, and his own residential project, ‘Small House’, won the World Architecture Festival House of the Year in 2011. We talked in the spectacular setting of one of his recent designs, ‘The Gallery House’, as he reimagined its interior with his edit of 'Furniture for Urban Life'.

    Gallery House 9

    News - 30.06.2016

    LE: Thanks for taking on the role of curator here today. What does 'curating' mean to you in the context of your work?

    Domenic: I think furniture is synonymous with art and architecture. The curatorial aspect of finishing the interior environment – finding and placing the right furniture – is absolutely key. It’s about finding a balance between the architecture, interior, landscape, art and furniture, and I approach my work in that cross-disciplinary sense. It’s not just designing a building and leaving the interior to someone else.

    LE: This space has a very contemporary urban feel. What does urban living mean to you, in design terms?

    Domenic: Urban living is really about creating a sanctuary. The city provides access to everything you need and you want to be connected; but an urban home needs that sense of removal as well, and the occupants need to be able to place their art, accomodate their loved ones, imbue their interior.

    Any home has to be comfortable; to have that quality of homeliness. But for urban living it’s also got to be robust, maintenance free, timeless, and have lots of storage – lots of joinery. There can’t be any wasted space. Everything has to have purpose.

    LE: Can you tell us a bit about how you develop a vision for a project and follow that through?

    Domenic: You need to begin with a strategy for how you will deal with sight and level and orientation and those broader issues. You have to have a strong concept. The client brings their ambition to the table and you work with that. Sometimes it may be about a particular piece of art or a particular moment that they want to secure for a site. The concept should express all the things the client has brought to the brief, but ultimately I want to turn that into an experience that is gestural, grand, timeless.

    I tend to work reductively; always editing, stripping back. Not in a minimalist sense, but looking for the right balance. I really look at the interconnection between spaces; how you break down a site and make connections between levels and views. Spaces need to flow and connect.

    LE: You’ve selected some incredible pieces for this living space. How does Living Edge empower you to realise your vision?

    Domenic: What’s exciting about Living Edge, particularly in the new Sydney showroom, is that we’re able to go in and look at settings in an expansive space and play with those settings to get a real sense for how things will work in an interior. I think it’s really important that clients have that ability to plug and play and move things around and really experience the whole variety of product, because it’s there. You don’t have to rely on a catalogue, which is great.

    I’ve learnt that engaging early with Living Edge can really benefit our projects. We have an ongoing, open, collaborative relationship with all our projects from the early stages. We even edit furniture sometimes, depending on our client’s needs. We’ve been able to make a slight adjustment to the height of a piece for example, just for ergonomics, and Living Edge has made that possible by dealing directly with the manufacturers. That accessibility, and just taking things to that fine detail, is exciting. I think that's what's really enjoyable.

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