Arent&Pyke celebrate A Decade In Design
Looking back on the decade past with Juliette
October 2017 marks the 10-year anniversary of Arent&Pyke studio and we couldn’t be more excited about celebrating this milestone. The past ten years has seen the Arent&Pyke team build an exceptional portfolio of diverse spaces and award-winning projects. For Arent&Pyke principals, Juliette Arent and Sarah-Jane Pyke, the passion for creating beautiful residential spaces and interiors that nurture the human condition has only grown stronger and more refined over time. Each project completed becomes a testament to the studio’s collective vision and we can’t wait to see what the next 10 years hold.
In the spirit of celebrating, we asked Juliette to share her personal project highlights and recount some of the most memorable moments from over the years.
Let’s start by looking back to your very first Arent&Pyke project, The Darling Point Apartment
Being my own apartment, this project naturally took shape over a period of time. The 30’s apartment in a Spanish-Mission style block of 4 apartments overlooked Rushcutter’s Bay, and had incredibly beautiful afternoon light. It suited a pared-back furnishing scheme of natural textures; linen, seagrass, and timber. Various vintage finds were among my favourite pieces – a brass fire cover salvaged from the apartment upstairs and a pair of cane chairs. I have always loved finding pieces that have had a previous life.
What do you think has had the greatest influence on your work?
I grew up surrounded by art and I think it is only at this point in my career that I can fully appreciate and understand the power of this influence. Both my aunt and uncle on the Arent (originally Dutch) side of the family are artists – painters, sculptors and weavers. They still to this day live in Pokolbin in the Hunter Valley, in a house they built of mud bricks that were also made by hand. The memories I have of time spent on their property in the 80s, was to be surrounded by easels, weaving looms and various sculpture materials, all set in a permanent state of modelling and manufacture. They were and still are incredibly creative. Another aunt on this side of the family (also an artist), regularly transformed her home in Avalon in luscious shades of paint. Even in the often exuberant 80s, this was startling. Her paintings would move around from room to room as they were in and out of favour and to my eye, it was as though each of the rooms of her home had been touched by the hand of a magician – the emotive and often heady mix of music, art and colour made a huge impression on me and still to this day I refer back to the feelings that were evoked during these years.
As Arent&Pyke’s first foray into hospitality, what were some of the considerations made in the design for The Alex Hotel to make guests feel at home in a transient space?
The vision for the Alex Hotel required us to embrace the patrons with a warm and familiar hug through the design. We used colour, vintage rugs and furniture pieces, shared tables, shelves filled with books, art, and objects collected by old uncle “Alex” to achieve this sense of place. All of these elements combined harmoniously to create a scene that would encourage the guests to feel at home. My personal favourite elements are the vintage rugs and custom terrazzo side tables in the communal living area.
How did you approach your first international project, the New York Apartment?
The interior we designed for this project required delivering a big personality in a relatively small space. The key pieces in the decorative scheme for this West Village pied-à-terre almost chose themselves. During our initial site visit, we discovered the apartment to be rather tired and dark, so we set about opening up the spaces and introducing warmth and magic into the space with specific pieces selected for their functional and aesthetic aspects.
Can you share with us a project you have worked on that continues to resonate with you emotionally?
The New York pied-à-terre is a really memorable project for me. During this project and while working in NYC, our client (who has now become a great friend) spoke about a possible renovation to their family home in Sydney’s Bellevue Hill. Once the New York project was complete, we embarked on their family home, which is referred to as our “Pavilion House”.
The best projects are always those that have wonderful people involved. In fact, more and more we find that a mutual respect and a meeting of minds between designer and client is what really makes a new project successful.
The Avenue was also a real labour of love for Sarah-Jane and I. We were only a team of 3-4 (including the 2 of us) at the time, so both of us were across all of the details, both in the interior architecture (architecture was by Tom Ferguson) as well as the furnishing and interior decoration. By the time this project was fully installed and ready to be photographed for our Arent&Pyke portfolio, I was at home with my newborn twins Valentina and Paloma. When the initial snaps came through from that day, I couldn’t believe it – I was seeing it with fresh eyes and I just adored it – it was so perfect for our clients and what they really wanted out of the house. Their excitement at the end of the project was the ultimate reward for us.
And it went on to win multiple awards?
Yes, The Avenue was a major milestone project for us as it won 3 awards the year after it was completed. Best Residential Project at The Australian Interior Design Awards, Residential Decoration at the Interior Design Excellence Awards as well as in the residential category at The Belle Coco Republic Interior Design awards. It was a trifecta of epic proportions for a small design studio like ours.
Over the past decade you have worked with numerous artisans, builders, architects, other designers and of course your clients, is there a particular collaboration or relationship that has stuck with you?
Collaborating with each of the designers in the Arent&Pyke design team is definitely the most rewarding. Working with Tom Ferguson over the past 10 years has been a delight, in both of his capacities, as a photographer and also architect. Photographers Anson Smart and Felix Forest have also been instrumental collaborators. Our work is primarily in private residences, so it requires an immense amount of photographer’s skill to capture the spirit of what we have aimed to achieve for each of our projects and translate this into an image.
Credits and Photography:
9 Portrait by Tom Ferguson