With cross-discipline collaboration and a remarkable sense of enjoyment at its core, Melbourne-based Fiona Lynch Office responds to a broad range of design briefs locally and abroad.
Daily Architecture News caught up with practice principal, Fiona Lynch, following the launch of Future Archive – an open designer resource which shares insights into sustainability and new ways of thinking – for a brief chat about business during the Covid-19 lockdown, ongoing creative inspirations for the FLO team and the upcoming Ace hotel project in Sydney – the soon-to-be realisation of a long-held dream.
DAN: Can you tell us about yourself, your practice and your approach to design?
Fiona Lynch: I studied fine art and design at RMIT and then worked with industry leaders including John Wardle Architects and Geyer Design. I founded Fiona Lynch Office in late 2013 building on more than 20 years’ experience. I love to work with clients who are looking for unique design solutions. We are fortunate to work with incredible people and I have an amazing team of talented designers who work with me every day at our Collingwood studio and [neighbouring] Work Shop gallery concept.
Our studio works across residential, commercial, retail, hospitality and hotel projects, furniture and lighting design, fine art and handcrafts. We love to collaborate with local makers, artists and artisans to create individual pieces for our clients. My approach to design is to enjoy it.
It should be an enjoyable, mindful process for everyone and with every project we are exploring new ideas, layering spaces with considered compositions, creating adaptive, beautiful interiors with nuanced, warm minimalism.
I have three kids, a husband and two dogs Moby and Doug – our new covid puppy.
DAN: What is a current or ongoing source of creative inspiration for you?
FL: In this job, every day is about trying to improve knowledge of design. We are always learning and inspiration comes from everywhere – books, exhibitions and installations, galleries, past travel experiences (and hopefully new travel experiences soon), clients and our incredible collaborative makers, including Daniel Barbera, Charles Sandford and Makiko Ryujin.
Inari Kiuru and Emma Fielden are jewellery designers exhibiting at Gallery Funaki. Their ability to work with metal is inspiring and I hope I can draw from some of their ideas in my interiors work.
DAN: Career highlight so far?
FL: IDEA Designer of the Year in 2017 and AD Germany’s Top 200 Design Influencers 2019. Project highlights include Fitzroy House, Lee Mathews James Street, Tarrawarra Museum of Art, 80 Collins, CicciaBella and Ace Hotel.
DAN: Has the covid-19 pandemic impacted the way you work or approach design?
FL: Yes, it has made my team and I realise that we can work remotely. I’m so grateful for the support of our clients over this challenging time and the resilience and adaptability of my team. We don’t plan to ever go back to how we were working before. For us, it has been a major reframing of what is important and is creating stronger outcomes for our clients. It also reinforced our existing connection to the local design community and the talented makers we work with. Their resilience and optimism is inspiring.
Our Melbourne Design Week 2020 exhibition Work Shop 4 was cut short by pandemic restrictions however it challenged us to find new ways of sharing experiences. We launched Future Archive, an open, collaboratively created resource to share our research with fellow designers about sustainable products and ways of thinking about design from Australia and around the world.
DAN: What are the most covetable objects for you at the moment?
FL: Artek Screen 100 in White by Alvar Aalto, 1936. Mae Engelgeer rug from CC Tapis. Mirror by Daniel Barbera.
DAN: What project are you most looking forward to in the future?
FL: CicciaBella with Maurice Terzini will be completed in September . I have loved every moment of working with Maurice. He is a visionary. We are also developing a new digital retail experience that brings together our furniture and lighting designs alongside works from friends and collaborators.
DAN: Sky’s the limit: what’s a dream project for you?
FL: I feel like I am working on my dream project now with Atelier Ace on their first Australian hotel. Creative, caring and authentic, the Ace team are incredibly generous and considered and have become great friends.
DAN: Finally, design-related or otherwise, can you tell us something we probably don’t know about you?
FL: When I was six my friends and I used to spy on the River House in Kew. We thought it had landed from outer space.
Follow Fiona Lynch Office on Instagram.