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Axolotl Projects: Anzac Poppies, Awards


Axolotl was recently requested by Distinctive Living Design to help create a thought provoking and meaningful tribute to the ANZAC's, which was launched as part of the ANZAC day commemorations this year. The poppies were made from hand beaten steel and Axolotl accentuated this feature by applying custom finish to the petals and a textural concrete to the stems.


Axolotl continue to be at the forefront of door design and gates and garage doors are no exception. The first example below, is a series of zinc gates with a double-screen design, that provides structural integrity and security whilst maintaining a contemporary aesthetic.

The second is a textural nickel finish, applied to a garage door and entry door, that achieves consistency across the two different door materials.

View more gates and garage doors here.

Axolotl Awards

With an in-depth knowledge of design, processes and materials, Axolotl is often called upon to design and create awards that truly defy the status quo.

The NSW Creative Laureate award below, both designed and made by the Axolotl team, boasts a stunning copper warratah blossom, contrasted by the concrete base.

For over 10 years Axolotl has created the DesignEX awards, creating something new each year. This year the awards were cast in solid concrete, juxtaposed by silver and gold gilding.

For more great ideas for awards and other projects please get in touch.

Axolotl Art Projects


Contemporary art installations have always been an integral part of Axolotl. It is therefore with great pleasure that today we launch AAP - Axolotl Art Projects, a dedicated consultancy to specifically project manage commissioned artworks. 

From concept through to a fully resolved piece, AAP partners with architects, designers, developers, councils and artists to be the key liaison for any scale of project.

AAP offers a unique full-service approach to commissioning artwork and creative design solutions, yet are flexible in their level of involvement and role in the art project. Axolotl's involvement can start and finish at any point in the production spectrum, including art strategy, artist selection, concept design, design development, engineering, documentation and fabrication.

With Axolotl's unique manufacturing abilities and palette of materials in metal, concrete, glass and timber, artists have a virtually unrestricted freedom to create works that they may not have originally thought possible.

Please visit our new website to see some of the stunning existing works or contact us to find out more.

Axolotl Projects: LINK Glass


Nestled under No1 Pacific Place, Chatswood is a thoroughfare that is above the ordinary.

Axolotl was commissioned by Mirvac Special Projects, to create a back-lit glass feature wall to run the length of the walkway. Artist Pamela See was called on to create the stunning artwork that adorns the glass who then implemented our unique palette of processes to execute the artwork to full effect. 

The Axolotl 'LINK' glass features an Axolotl Copper coating bonded to frosted laminated glass and then aged with a Verdigris patina. Pamela's artwork was then carved through the metal to allow subtle blades of light to penetrate the surface. The artwork continues through to custom designed, laser cut steel gates at both ends.

This walkway is in an area that could have easily been overlooked but is now thought of as the crown jewel of the development. It’s a testimony to how thoughtful art can define an area with a distinctive character and support a positive ecology in the life that works and lives within it.

This is the second successfully completed collaboration with Pamela See and Axolotl. The other being the widely acclaimed and award winning Chinatown Kiosk, we featured last year.

Axolotl Project: Drummoyne Residence


This recently completed waterfront project in Sydney's Inner West, illustrates the creative new Axolotl coating techniques that make a statement of any entrance.

The client worked directly with our in-house design team, to select finishes and designs that complemented the natural stone and bronze elements already selected for the home. The door and side panel were finished with a contemporary lineal pattern and then coated with Treasury Bronze Pearl with a Lunar texture. Axolotl LINK glass, with a Seaweed pattern in Brown Rust, was chosen for the divider wall on the top level. It brings a soft diffused view from the lounge and a stunning feature for guests arriving from the lift. 

The results beautifully reflect the meticulous material selection and perfectly executed workmanship.


Axolotl Texture

The two entry doors displayed below, illustrate the combination of subtle or bold texture with Axolotl metals. The 3D pattern is finished in Treasury Bronze smooth pearl, the other in Black Graphite Viper.

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Ed Lippmann | Axolotl Luminaries

Each quarter Axolotl puts a series of questions to an industry 'luminary' to get an insight into both their talent and their feel for the future. This issue we introduce Ed Lippmann from Lippmann Associates. This Sydney based design firm recently completed the Boy Charlton Pool in the Domain and has won numerous RAIA awards over the years. 

What keeps you inspired?

I'm always hankering for change, never content to keep doing the same thing again and again. So fresh ideas are really crucial. I just look at my children and their spontaneity, that's what real creativity is all about.

What project do you consider to be your greatest achievement so far?

Every project tends to build on what came before and generally there's a kind of evolution occurring. So, its

difficult to say greatest. I always look forward to the next and newest challenges and achievements.

Have you ever refused to comply with a client request or design? If so, why?

In the early days I did that all the time. I was very keen to prove myself and often client's expectations were very different to what I had in mind. But good dialogue and communication was very important because even though, initially, there may be a sense that the architect is not listening, maybe, just maybe there's a better idea out there. Nowadays, clients come to expect that of me.

Are there any architects whose work encapsulates your own ideals?

There are many architects whose work I admire but Buckminster Fuller comes to mind, although not an architect, by training. But he was really a great visionary and his view of the world had such a profound influence on his designs. Houses that moved, three wheeled cars, geodesic domes to improve and protect the quality of the environment. He was an inventor, actually. I think architects should strive to be far more lateral than they sometimes become. 

Did/do you have a mentor?

There are many architects whose work has influenced me both locally and internationally. But I guess special pride and place must go to one's formative influences. I went to New York when I was 21 offering my services at Marcel Breuer's office, the great Bauhaus master. I couldn't really call Breuer a mentor as he was very old and barely active any more, but just being in his orbit was an overwhelming experience and I will always remember those days with great fondness.

Which Australian building excites you the most?

I know this is going to sound very cliche but the Sydney Opera House, of course. Let's face it there isn't anything else like it in Sydney, the world for that matter. What a spectacular site and what a great contribution to it.

What do you see as key trends over the next couple of years in domestic or commercial design? 

We will see a far greater emphasis on environmental considerations than in the past. Buildings which "breathe" rather than being hermetically sealed boxes, where the outside environment can become part of the interior. Light, air, that special ambience which comes with the sense of connection with the forces of nature. It's what Feng Shui was all about. The even more ancient Vedic science of Sthapatya Veda was even more switched onto that balance with nature. 

Which trend in architecture or design are you totally over?

That's a good question. I'd have to say Victoria or Federation style designs. They may have had relevance in

their day but they are so inappropriate in the twenty first century. Thank goodness the local councils are starting to give up on them!

Do you see a lot of development in Sydney over the next year or so?

There doesn't appear to be any major fluctuations either more or less but my work has changed significantly. I've just had a spell of designing many swimming pools and sporting complexes, some quite well known and much loved. The current workload tends to be heading into more public work, office developments and, of course still much housing. I'm looking forward to the year ahead.

Happy New Year!


2013 was a great year for Axolotl and full of firsts and finals.  

Highlights of firsts were the launch of our furniture brand Anomaly, as well as working with Grand Designs on the amazing Forest Lodge Eco House. Naturally, this is alongside all the creative and exciting projects by architects and designers which never cease to inspire. We sincerely look forward to working with you all again this year.

As for finals, we were shortlisted as one of three contenders from an international line-up to create two feature walls for Hong Kong airport. At this point in time, everything is crossed for success which will be an accolade not just for Axolotl and the many partner companies who have become part of this project, but also for Australian design and manufacturing.

The images here are of two recent projects completed late last year. This beautiful garage door has been carved with our Cortex pattern which has been coated in Bronze and naturally aged to a florentine patina, giving an authentic and commanding entry for this client.

Axolotl are the leaders in metal surface technology and offer several varied options in Rust alone, this second beautiful garage door features a naturally aged Marine Rust.

Finally, we have started the year creating profiles on Pinterest and Instagram (Axolotl & Anomaly), enabling you to save images for design inspiration and to stay in tune with what we are up to. We have also set up a new Anomaly Facebook page, and make sure to keep updated with recent Axolotl projects by liking our Axolotl Facebook page.


Whilst we are unable to disclose our design for the Hong Kong airport due to confidentiality agreements, we can let you know that it is an exciting cutting edge technology, made specifically for this project.


A Grand Idea


Every now and then a project comes along that resonates deeper into the human mind and heart. That delves into the grey area between art and design, and becomes greater than the sum of its parts.

Earlier this year, Chris Knierim and Belinda Mason, approached Axolotl to help create an entry for their home, a small terrace in Sydney's inner west. Belinda, a well know photographer, had captured an aerial shot of their home and surrounding suburbs in a helicopter, with the idea to recreate the image using Axolotl's processes.

Axolotl then carved the image into the door, replicating the fine detail of the houses, cars and trees. Finally, the door and panel was coated in an aged aluminium. The overall effect is as if the door was carved from a solid aluminium block.

What was realised is a totally unique, and personal design that celebrates the owners love of their home and family from the outside in.

It is also a wonderful example of the endless possibilities when using Axolotl processes.

The home was recently featured on the latest season of Grand Designs Australia and Axolotl was privileged to be featured on the episode. We're also excited that Axolotl House will be featured in Grand Designs magazine, in February next year.



The IDEA awards for 2013 was held in Melbourne recently. Axolotl, for the third year in a row, was again called on to make the awards for this prestigious event. The team devised a trophy hewn from Tasmanian Oak, coupled with an aged Bronze TimberLINK, applied in a geometric pattern. Axolotl would like to extend our congratulations to the IDEA Awards team and to all the winners this year.


Iain Halliday | Axolotl Luminaries

Each quarter Axolotl will put a series of questions to an industry 'luminary' to get an insight into both their talent and their feel for the future. This issue we introduce Iain Halliday from Burley Katon Halliday. This Sydney based design firm needs no introduction with its work credited with redefining Sydney’s inner city landscape.

What keeps you inspired?

Travel, magazines, books, movies and good clients. 

What project do you consider to be your greatest achievement so far?

It is hard to pick the 'greatest'. Favourites include:

  • Republic
  • Darley Street Thai
  • Bartlett Pennington House
  • Xavier Salon 1
  • Reynolds Apartment
  • Benny Yacht 

Have you ever refused to comply with a client request or design? If so, why? 

Yes but the reasons would be too complex to explain in this piece of writing, leaving us looking inflexible - a clichéd criticism that people level at architects and designers.

Are there any architects whose work encapsulates your own ideals?

There are many and their work is diverse like ours. Some architects we are particularly inspired by are:

  • Mies van der Rohe
  • Josef Hoffmann
  • Richard Neutra
  • Eero Saarinen

Did/do you have a mentor? 

Yes, George Freedman and David Katon.

Which Australian building excites you the most?

The Opera House; it is truly extraordinary still.

What do you see as key trends over the next couple of years in domestic or commercial design?

  • Increased use of moulded forms in materials such as acrylics and upholstery.
  • Increased use of strong and 'off beat' colours and finishes, and mixes of old + new furniture.
  • A greater cross-over between 'home' and 'work' environments as more people work from home and look for comfort in their work interiors combined with precision in their working interiors.

Which trend in architecture or design are you totally over?

'Chicken coop' architecture where many corrugated roof pavilions collide like a train accident.

Do you see a lot of development in Sydney over the next year or so?

Yes, I hope more and more and better and better.

Bushland Vista


A humble garage door and entry to a home located on Sydney Harbour have just been given a huge makeover thanks to the talents of Peter Campbell of Campbell BarnettGraham Day Garage Doors and Axolotl. The adventurous clients wanted to capitalise on the stunning harbour views beyond the garage property, as well as deviate from the traditional idea of a garage. 

In response, Peter devised a contemporary and multi-layered bushland image taken from trees on the property. The concept was enabled by the availability of Axolotl's unique processes and materials. First, the panels were precision cut to the design that allowed maximum visibility through, whilst concealing the customised frame. They were then applied with several layers of Axolotl Bronze in smooth, light and cast textures, to illustrate the layers of the contemporary bushland graphic.

As possible as it was, it wouldn't be true to say it was a simple project as it spanned over a year and involved in depth design discussions and meticulous planning. The efforts of the team did not go unrewarded however, as the result is an awe inspiring, captivating entry for this stunning home.

Grand Designs
Axolotl are very excited to be showcased on the next episode of Grand Designs Australia. The film crew came through earlier on this year to shoot the development of an outstanding entrance, that drove innovation in manufacturing as well as design. Grand Designs Australia episode 6 - "Forest Lodge Eco House", premiering tonight on Foxtel's Lifestyle Channel at 8.30PM.

Axolotl House + Anomaly
We have had a huge response so far for Anomaly, the pop up showroom is still open on the corner of Oxford and Palmer streets but won't be for long so be sure to head along to check out the range. We have also just updated the photo gallery's for Axolotl House thanks to the talents of Mark Donaldson of MDP, with more great shots still to come.


New Beginnings


Axolotl, and Evostyle bring you Anomaly, a new era in furniture design. Anomaly represents only the most innovative Australian design through a showcase of unique furniture, homewares and lighting.

Select Australian architects and designers have rendered raw materials of concrete, timber and metal into an exciting, original design aesthetic not previously available in the local market. What they have created has only been made possible through the unique technologies offered by both Axolotl and Evostyle, who are already regarded as pioneers in surfaces and manufacturing.

Each product is carefully finished to the meticulous standards that reflect the craftsmanship and quality that will come to be synonymous with the brand. Each piece a conceptual anomaly in its intended surprise, whilst the irregularity and unique design markings in many of the pieces intended to give each object character that is so often missing in the mass manufactured. All pieces are intentionally, and proudly, Australian designed and manufactured.

The designers selected to launch the brand include David Caon, Matthew Sheargold, Philip Chia, Adam Cornish, David Knott, Facet Studio and Ben Wahrlich. New designs by emerging and established designers in a range of design fields will follow throughout the next 12 months and beyond. 

The inaugural launch held in Darlinghurst was embraced by the local design community.  "I was very impressed with the high standard, quality, design, and manufacture. It certainly sets a tone for the international scene." said Darren Palmer."The market has been in need of this type of innovation for some time." 

To see the Anomaly range please visit the Anomaly pop up showroom – 104 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst (cnr Palmer St) until 15 November, open Monday to Friday 10-5pm. For further information on Anomaly please visit the Anomaly website at


Axolotl Concrete Kitchen


Hard lines and soft texture are the defining point for this new kitchen for a client in Sydney's North. Created using a combination of our innovative Axolotl concrete surfaces on the benchtop and splashback it's easy to see how much potential is realised when shrugging off the constraints of traditional concrete construction. 

The end result is original and simple in its execution, but exudes contemporary design in one of the most important rooms in the home. The splashback has been created by taking a single CFC sheet and bonding it with Concrete Slate in a lunar texture. The same process is used to create the bench, with the vertical surface featuring an abstract design carved directly into the MDF before the Concrete Shale is bonded. 

The simple execution of these finishes truly portray the versatility of the Axolotl Concrete range whilst retaining the beauty and integrity of solid concrete. 


Axolotl Solid


Axolotl Solid is a new extension of the Axolotl offer. Sheet metals are now able to be patinated in a variety of different colours, from verdi gris, florentine and pearl. Axolotl Solid metals, such as copper, brass, aluminium, mild steel and stainless steel are available in a variety of thicknesses and can be used where sheet metal is required in lieu of our decorative metal coatings. This range offers architects and designers the ability to specify pre-aged panels on a new build or renovation, avoiding bright and inconsistent 'fresh' metal, while ensuring the characteristics of the solid metal are retained.

The recently completed, 
Fender Katsalidis designed 4NC building in Canberra (pictured here), was a great opportunity to launch Axolotl's latest benchmark in aged metals. Axolotl was sought out to provide an aged finish on copper sheeting that was applied to the 8 metre high blades, which became the feature piece in the centre of the building. The copper theme was carried throughout the building, also being applied to several walls and ceilings. Axolotl worked alongside Lend LeaseCBS and Micos in creating a lasting impression on the Canberra landscape. 

The pre-aged copper finish works so well as it gives an established patina to new projects.  The organic nature of the ageing process enables an intended inconsistency in the panels, just as the material would do naturally if left for several years. It also works well in high traffic areas as it prevents marks such as fingerprints and offers the ability to topcoat the copper for further protection.

 A full set of samples will be shown in our next e-card, alongside our other exciting developments in glass, concrete, metal and timber.


Axolotl Custom Entry Doors.


This hand selected range of entrance doors and garage doors complement our metal coatings both in style and execution. The door above utilises our signature Doric design, which beautifully displays a graphite finish both in smooth and cast textures. Complementing this is a graphite garage door - using the same material in a pitted texture, juxtaposed by the stark white render surrounds.

Axolotl's processes make it simple to achieve a highly personalised statement entry piece by simply adding a strong aging technique or custom etched design. Or, as illustrated in the sixth image a custom made handle, coated in bronze pearl, is all that is required to set this entry feature apart.

To keep you inspired our brand new glass and concrete brochures are now available to be downloaded from our products page.

In other exciting news, Axolotl are very pleased to announce that we are setting up a factory in Dubai to service the GCC region, and will be operational from August. Please contact Dubai Metal Axolotl JV for any enquiries


Introducing Axolotl House - Corymbia


We are excited to introduce our next venture into the world of stylish living with the launch of Axolotl House in the Hunter Valley.
Corymbia is a private guesthouse set high on the hill surrounded by ancient Angophoras and Corymbias with views through Eucalypts and over the vineyards. Located only 160 kilometres or 2 hours drive north of Sydney near the township of Broke.

The homestead was hand-built over five years by one of the founding brothers of Axolotl, Kim Torma. Nestled into rocks at the high end of the 100-acre property, it is private and serene. Every adobe (mud-brick) was sourced from the property and made by hand. The mud-brick construction and meticulous carpentry are perfectly complemented by eclectic artwork, creating an ambiance which attracts many return visitors. Of course, the design is enhanced throughout with work by Axolotl.

From the moment you are welcomed with farm fresh eggs and wine, to the last glance back as you leave the property you will be under Corymbia's spell.

For more information on Corymbia please visit the Axolotl House website.


Chocolate, Concrete & Kilns.


2013 has been a busy few months so far for Axolotl, with the launch of Axolotl Timber and brand new Website, we have still managed to complete a range of exciting projects that we have added to our eclectic portfolio. 

Tiffanys have recently completed the Bondi Junction Westfield - our third Tiffany project where Axolotl have played an integral part. Working with the Tiffany design team, we produced a range of glass blades incorporating the Tiffany wheat leaf design that was executed in silver leaf and then laminated between two sheets of starphire glass. The blades majestically surround the centrepiece diamond cabinet.

The Lindt café in Sydney's CBD, designed by Rolf Ockert was another project featuring Axolotl Glass. This time using Miro curved glass, laminated with a chocolate and gold mirrored banding as seen in the image below.


The head office of Melbourne's John Holland  underwent a new fitout, with design by ‪Fu‪turespace. It boasts another great use of Axolotl concrete on the Fluted blade walls, surrounding the elevators. The space emphasises a great use of texture, soft furnishings and colour.

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Bronze Verdegris Garden Features

We were very impressed with the final result of these huge planters and water features, coated in Bronze then aged with a Florentine and Verdegris Patina. Our coatings have really transform the aesthetic of the raw GFC, to create a unique and authentic finish that seamlessly blends into the environment. 

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Warburton Art Project

Since 1993 Kiln formed glass has been an important medium of expression for Ngaanyatjarra People involved in the‪ Warburton Artist Program in the Warburton Ranges, Western Australia.

Recognising the importance of this venture, which encourages creativity in the region, we are pleased to announce that artist Warren Langley has donated one of the large glass forming kilns used by Axolotl. The Ngaanyatjarra community share a similar passion for expression in glass, and we are pleased to be a part of encouraging further development of their glass making.

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An Anomaly + Axolotl House

In line with our commitment to not just meet needs - but to create them, we will soon be launching our next venture in design - a new undertaking under a different banner, bringing a blend of contemporary and traditional materials which will really shake up the market. In parallel, we are also working on a new Axolotl retreat in the Hunter Valley which will be available as a private guesthouse. More information in upcoming e-cards.

A Great Sight


After 18 years at the forefront of innovation in the metal coatings business, we have now evolved into a world leading architectural product manufacturer. With our expansion into glass, concrete and timber and our constant commitment to innovation, we are undefined by process or product as we continue to invent surface solutions for any design challenge.

To celebrate our commitment to innovation, we are excited to announce the launch of our brand new website. Our new site will be much easier to navigate with the latest swatches and images of completed work. It will also include our blog where we can update you with our latest projects and new designs.

In other news, Axolotl are very pleased to announce that we are setting up a factory in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam commencing early April. If you would like to get in contact with us in Vietnam, you can email us at

If you'd like more information on Axolotl, contact us on: or +612 9666 1207, or visit our Showroom at 6/73 Beauchamp rd, Matraville NSW, 2036.


Sam Marshall | Axolotl Luminaries

Each quarter Axolotl puts a series of questions to an industry luminary to an insight into both their talent and their feel for the future. This issue we introduce Sam Marshall from Architect Marshall. Sam’s contemporary designs have won him numerous awards over the years, recognition for what we are sure you will agree is an enormous talent.

What keeps you inspired?

The amazing world around me, people’s ability to continue to innovate when it seems everything has been created, the optimism of the 1960’s and especially contemporary art.

What project do you consider to be your greatest achievement so far?

Having a beautiful wife and two beautiful daughters.

Have you ever refused to comply with a client request or design? If so, why?

All the time. If it wasn’t that way, clients wouldn’t employ architects.

Are there any architects whose work encapsulates your own ideals?

Many but not all in one person.

Did/do you have a mentor?

George Freeman pointed me in the right direction, opening my eyes to masterful articulation of space, light and materials, that anything is possible and to be ever creative is all important.

Which Australian building excites you the most?

Yike! I think Australia Square Tower by Harry Seidler is a cracker that will continue to last the test of time. It is elegant, well proportioned, structurally innovative, and generous and democratic like no other at street level. It gave Sydney its only public Calder sculpture, Corb tapestry and now stunning Sol Lewitt mural. It’s construction method was innovative and it also brought Nervi to Australia.

What do you see as key trends over the next couple of years in domestic or commercial design?

Demand for unique expression.

Which trend in architecture or design are you totally over?

Slats and train smash architecture.

Do you see a lot of development in Sydney over the next year or so? Property development?

Yes – it’s a great place to live.

Happy New Year 2013


After a short break we are back to work refreshed and ready to tackle all of your exciting new projects. By the end of 2012 we were able to look back on a broad range of creative projects, from multi-story corporate fit outs to hand crafted sculptures. One of the later projects was this custom feature wall for the Ministry of Sound Headquarters in Sydney’s Darlinghurst. Andrew Cliffe from The World is Round adopted our popular Doric entry door, to be used as a concrete feature wall at the reception. The surface creates a beautiful shadow play as the varied light in the room plays with the corrugated surface.

A different, but also unique project, was the featured custom glass privacy screen for a clients guest ensuite. The Axolotl design team worked very closely with the client to achieve something new for the company and offer the client their perfect fade position from translucent to clear. The finished result enables the client to enjoy an outside view while showering, yet retaining privacy.

Joseph Licciardi | Axolotl Luminaries

This issue we introduce something new. Each quarter we will put a series of questions to an industry 'luminary' to get an insight into both their talent and their feel for the future. This issue we introduce Joseph Licciardi. Joseph’s name as a designer and his products are now sought after and exported all around the world. 

With a reputation for high quality and innovation his company Vetrosystems Pty Ltd and his partners Schiavello Pty Ltd have just formed a new entity called OMVIVO which means "Conscious Living". OMVIVO encapsulates the best of both companies’ abilities and represents a new point of view on design for the international marketplace.

What keeps you inspired?

Life keeps me inspired. Being alive, enjoying and seeing things around me. Meeting people. Eating wonderful food from clever restaurateurs leave lasting impressions. Today, I really love what is happening here and the great talents this country is now bringing out. Perhaps because we are exposed to the best from the world (and the worst!) and we don’t have this sense of the super ego because it is already assumed that we are not necessarily the best! So as such we have a much more humble approach to excellence. This is in a way a reminder of human imperfection. I think one of the most beautiful things about us is our imperfections – we should be aware of it.

And of course the most important inspiration is my wife, she gives me a great impetus.

What project do you consider to be your greatest achievement so far?

This is a hard question, because I don’t look back into projects as such as a great achievement, in most cases it’s more the experience of getting through to the finish of the project or product. One thing that had a particularly great impression on me and that was when I began to learn about the malleability of glass. I used to work in the 70s creating glass furniture but the pieces mainly just used plain sheets. However in the late 80s to early 90s I was exposed to an artist in Melbourne, John Greg, who worked in forming glass. We pushed the known parameters of the time and achieved the first large pieces of toughened formed glass.

Aside from that, the next project is always the best project as far as I’m concerned. 

Have you ever refused to comply with a client request or design? If so, why?

A variety of times when I’ve been asked to reproduce someone else’s designs. Or when they want the world for no money.

Are there any architects whose work encapsulates your own ideals? 

What ideals ? My ideals keep changing, I keep learning that what was important yesterday is actually not so important today. As I grow older I suppose I’m getting a little more sensitive to values which are probably more long term, designing to create as little ‘damage’ (environmental) as possible. I read and I see and look at people around me who give me glimpses of this type of work, so really there are too many designers whose work I admire and that encapsulates some of my own ideals.

Did/do you have a mentor?

As far as aesthetic values are concerned, my manager, Laurie Carew, at George’s was a great mentor. He taught me a lot about shapes, importance of lighting, displaying something correctly which often creates 60 or 70% of the products value! If something that’s not so great is superbly displayed it sells. He also had a great sense of humour. Da Vinci was also a fantastic luminaire, he was a typical renaissance man, an incredible talent of the time. Le Corbusier’s forms are poetry. Massimo Morozzi taught me not to take things or ideas on their surface value - there is much deeper thought in design. Massimo was the inspiration behind my most successful product so far, the Washplane®. 

Which Australian building excites you the most?

I don’t know if I have ever found one building that gives me all of the things I like. I guess if it’s a large building, I would say I definitely respect the Opera House in Sydney, it’s a building that I never really liked 100% but I admire what it is and the pleasure it gives to people, that’s a great asset in a building. For a more normal building, I love what Nonda Katsalidis delivered as the Ian Potter Gallery at Melbourne University. So clever for the cost, it resolves practical issues when displaying art within parameters that were quite stringent. It’s a wonderful example of modernist principles with today’s technology.

What do you see as key trends over the next couple of years in domestic or commercial design?

Contemporary design at last has come of age, especially in the residential market. There is much more awareness to designing with the environment and people in mind. Friendly work environments are much more in vogue these days. Designs are more courteous, gentle for the everyday worker. Aside from these two main things, I’m not really the best person to ask about trends (to me design is not about trends, it’s the result of human intellect)! I do think we are much more aware these days… we don’t necessarily fall for "what’s in" as much. So many people like different things and that’s one of the great things – design is much more individualistic. In fashion today, for example, you can have 20 different directions and all of them are valid! 

Which trend in architecture or design are you totally over?

The abuse and over use of trendy materials that go beyond the real value of the material. They forget what these materials are really used for or suited to and then they just abuse it. There is nothing worse when it comes to true design. It’s sad to think that what a client gets will be in today and out tomorrow, so the lifetime of their house and the materials used are so incredibly short.

Do you see a lot of development in Melbourne over the next year or so?

Hopefully there will be some ‘down time’ soon which brings in some good sense, when there are tougher times more creative things happen… people have to work harder, be more imaginative, leaner. That’s always good. Melbourne is enjoying great times. We are practically creating two new cities at Southbank/South Melbourne and the Docklands. And there’s a lot to be done yet.