Having previously worked with LBD Studios on the branding of his namesake design studio, Nickolas Gurtler embraced the opportunity to develop a shared creative hub, expressing a “clear synergy” between the two businesses. Housed inside a historic white-brick building on Malvern Road, the joint workspace serves as a neutral backdrop for creativity, with the white bricks extending into the interiors and paired with blonde-oak herringbone floors, calming beige tones and metallic accents.
Your studio is located inside a white-brick building in the inner-city suburb of Malvern, Melbourne. What do you love most about the area?
Nickolas Gurtler: The building was actually clad in red and brown bricks when we took over the space; for a more neutral canvas, we painted it a crisp white, both externally and internally. We love the Malvern area; it’s much more relaxed than our previous post in Cremorne. We are closer to many of our residential clients, plus it’s a fantastic neighbourhood to take a stroll to clear the mind and ponder design solutions.
How is your studio a reflection of you and your design approach?
Nickolas Gurtler: When LBD Studios and Nickolas Gurtler Office decided to share a workspace, it was because we share a penchant for sophistication, simplicity and the undeniably chic. The space reflects both of our brands through the design. It’s carefully edited and tailored to us, just like the spaces we create at Nickolas Gurtler Office and the brand architecture of LBD Studios.
Timber battens painted in Dulux ‘Puppy’ and white-washed bricks form a neutral backdrop to the space.
In what ways does the space inspire you on a daily basis?
Nickolas Gurtler: I think the space makes us feel a certain je ne sais quoi every day through the design. It embodies both the LBD Studios and Nickolas Gurtler Office brands. We feel chic and sophisticated without taking ourselves too seriously. The pieces we selected for the spaces tell stories through their forms and materials and have on occasion informed the creative direction of a project. I think, ultimately the space makes us feel like our most creative selves.
Talk us through the material palette – what atmosphere or emotions were you trying to evoke?
Nickolas Gurtler: It was important that we created a space that allowed our ideas to manifest without overwhelming our creative process, which is why we designed such a neutral space. During the creative process, we referenced artist ateliers in the Parisian district of Montparnasse. Once the home of bohemian artists before World War II, the area exudes a Parisienne sensibility.
The blonde-oak herringbone floors and white-washed brick walls offered a neutral canvas for us to work with, and we filled it with naturally beautiful materials like French bouclé, linen, raw Oregon timber, cork, raw aluminium and black-stained oak. While the materials are natural, they’ve been sculpted and hand-crafted into chic and beautiful things – a metaphor for the work of Nickolas Gurtler Office and LBD Studios. Choosing a paint colour was agonising, but in the end, we opted for Puppy by Dulux (although we decided to refer to it as “expensive beige”); it’s a complex yet calming and chic colour.
How did you go about selecting the furniture and lighting for the space?
Nickolas Gurtler: We chose pieces that reflect creativity in their craftsmanship. It felt important to incorporate some of our favourite pieces from international designers and integrate them harmoniously with those by some of our incredibly talented Australian artisans and makers. Each of the pieces were selected in a careful palette that incorporated natural materials and hand-crafted forms.
Tell us about some of your favourite pieces in the studio!
Nickolas Gurtler: The beautiful light sculpture by Jay Jermyn in the reception, which we had commissioned for the space, is a particular favourite of mine – it’s so unusual. I also love the Repose sofa from our friends at Criteria Collection: the boomerang shape and French off-white fabric are incredible. The sculptural chairs by Liam Mugavin are another standout: the raw Oregon timber is so beautifully formed into the most interesting shapes.