Recycled materials and eco-improvements. The design trends of 2019
In this, our new monthly style column, we ask industry leaders to share their insider design and renovation tips and trend predictions. Portrait by Jiwon Kim. Interview by Elizabeth Meryment
This month we talk to Stephen and Jen Humphry of Modify, Paddington.
Stephen and Jen, what is the a design trend you feel is dominating this year?
This year we are seeing a lot of clean lines, colour and unique joinery elements. We’re also seeing more and more recycled materials, such as timber and brick. Sustainability has also become increasingly important, both with regards to building methods and practices, as well as the materials used. Solar panels and batteries, for example, are perfectly suited to our climate, and they’re easy to incorporate when designing a renovation from the outset. The use of recycled building materials reduces mining, logging, air and water pollution, as well as also hugely reducing landfill. These are all things that we need to start seriously considering in everyday life, and in industry.
Name something you've seen recently that has inspired you?
We’re very lucky that the Modify office is in the heart of Paddington, because we’re surrounded by art galleries and design outlets, offering a constant source of inspiration. The many Merivale venues popping up across Sydney are well designed and each has an individual concept, which keeps things interesting. It’s a great concept. Conversely, travelling far and wide is always a great source of inspiration. On a recent trip to Denmark we were excited to see first-hand the wealth of new ideas coming out of what some consider to be the design hub of the world.
Describe your professional style and ethic. What’s your approach to a project?
We look to practical, solution-based outcomes, listen carefully to the client brief and budget management. You need to set a stop point, always keeping an eye on the client’s budget.
What is something that your customers are wanting presently?
On a design level, an important requirement for our clients is always functional spaces. They want spaces that utilise unique design elements and an overall refined aesthetic. From an architectural point of view, iterative design scenarios allow us to explore the daily life of our clients and to generate architecture that meets their needs.
Tell us about a project you’ve been working on.
We’ve recently completed the total renovation of a rundown Paddington terrace which had a seriously impaired floorplan, rising damp and termites. Our construction crew leaves no stone unturned when working through a renovation like this. Our priority is to pay homage to the original features, while ensuring a seamless transition between new and old. We didn’t want to replace things for the sake of it, but equally, while retaining original features, we wanted to ensure the result was a long-term solution not just a quick fix. One of the key design requirements on this project was to bring light into the home as it felt dark and dingy before the renovation. The material palette used throughout was in consideration of this, and the results were absolutely fantastic.
Modify is an architecture, design and building studio based in Paddington.