We asked Sue Carr, principal of Carr, what’s driving the Melbourne apartment market in 2018.

What are some emerging themes you’re currently seeing in the Melbourne apartment development market?

Traditional zones such as bedrooms, kitchens, studies and living rooms are becoming increasingly blurred. Instead, floorplans are more flexible with multi-functional spaces reflecting how families interact.

We are also creating more spaces for privacy and intimacy. These quiet spaces allow family members an opportunity for contemplation and retreat and an escape from the activity of a busy family life.

We also place emphasis on designing effective storage to keep clutter to a minimum and allow for the changing dynamics of the space.

Have you seen a shift in client preferences in recent months?

In this complicated world, simplicity matters. It’s about considered spaces, refined detailing, rigorous attention to detail and a simplicity of function and form.

I strongly believe that less is more. I have always had a pared-back approach to design, because I believe the architecture of the interior must speak for itself.

This is demonstrated, as an example, in the dramatic, visual interplay of shadow and light on a large white wall. To me this far surpasses the idea of a multitude of artworks hung together in a collage effect.

Clean lines, well-made, timeless products are great basics for the home that will be with you for a lifetime. This can be as simple as a handmade feather duster from Germany, or a favourite well-worn leather armchair from a local furniture maker.

We are becoming more discerning, asking ourselves ‘will this last?’ We choose design that evokes an emotional response ­– product, furniture and interiors that offer us comfort and reassurance.

What sets Carr apart in the industry?

Carr offers the advantages of both small and large design firms. There is a team approach, an emphasis on immediacy and flexibility as well as access to extensive resources, all of which contribute to our provision of a superior service.

The team is dedicated to designing buildings and spaces that minimise environmental impact and optimise energy efficiency. Equally, with accuracy, efficiency and cost-effectiveness as key outcomes, Carr’s commitment to information technology places us squarely at the forefront of developments in this area.

Carr clients expect more than design; they seek projects that shape the way we think and behave; spaces that elevate quality of life; buildings that engage, immerse and surprise; and architecture and interiors that stand the test of time.

The Carr team is consistent in its creation of architecture and interiors that are considered, refined and enduring, and delivered with rigour and authenticity. It’s our mission to constantly drive change, challenge perceptions and design for the future.

How would you describe the Carr aesthetic in six words?

Considered, rigorous, engaging, authentic, enduring and refined.

As a leading designer in the luxury apartment development industry, what does a luxury home mean to you?

Quality over quantity. It’s not about trends – for me it never has been. It’s about design that make us feel great and about choices that incorporate social and environmental sustainability.

Is the desire to own a traditional house being overtaken by apartment developments which offer quality design, convenience and sustainability?

The dream to own a quarter acre block is no longer relevant for first home buyers and downsizers. People want to be closer to the action; they want premium access to amenity, lifestyle, social infrastructure, culture and transportation services.

This is why we have seen a rapid rise in apartments and townhouses over the past decade. But developers, planners, architects, designers and landscape architects must show the community how new forms of development can make a ‘better’ suburb, not just a more crowded one.

Developers need to employ architects and interior designers who design from the inside out, and not the other way around. There needs to be more of a push toward well-proportioned, beautiful interior spaces that are designed to accommodate a contemporary, modern lifestyle.

A lot of development that is currently underway has little consideration for the interior. In this Instagram/Pinterest age where it’s all about the image, many developers are choosing architecture that values form above everything else. And while this might look good, who really wants to live in a sculpture?

We want our homes to be meaningful spaces. To enable this, we need interiors that are straightforward, uncomplicated, simple. We need spaces to provide sanctuary, a sense of calm and elevate quality of life.

Carr is a regular collaborator on Kay & Burton Projects. 

Lifestyle & Design

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