Robson Rak Architects are, as director Chris Rak calls them: “a one stop shop.” Him an interior designer and wife Kathryn Robson an architect, they bring together the skills to take a project from initial designs to the final furnishings.
“We have a holistic approach,” explains Chris. “With our clients, they don’t need to go anywhere else, we can go right down to the decoration, down to the tiny little details.”
With a fine arts background, Chris also has the skills to design and make furniture, which harps back to his love of providing a complete service. A sculptor for many years, Chris worked primarily in steel, which can now be seen through his custom-made pieces, such as tables and beds and of course, some of his signature sculptures. “There’s always some piece of furniture I’ve made in our projects,” says Chris. “Anything from a table we couldn’t find the right proportions for or an internal wall sculpture.”
A favourite of his projects and one that features his custom joinery is the Toorak Residence: “There was so much to do in this project, from designing the carpet and rugs to making all the furniture. I literally made all that because I wanted a certain look and feel and I thought it’d just be easier for me to get into my studio and build it.”
Joining forces in 2007, Chris and Kathryn see their partnership as the primary reason for success. Both bringing different strengths to the firm, they don’t believe in separating roles but blurring the confines of architecture and interiors. “There’s no separation in our work,” explains Chris. “We are constantly in each other’s boundaries which I think is important. There’s also no egos, as we are husband and wife, which makes things a lot easier. We are very much synced and in tune with the end result.”
Their partnership has the awards to prove it works, being shortlisted twice in the residential design category of this year’s Australian Interior Design Awards. They’ve also got many projects in the pipeline, undertaking a mix of new builds and renovations, always trying to push the boundaries of design.
But for Chris, it all comes down to one thing and the core quality he believes all designers need: hunger. “You need to be passionate about interior design, architecture, fine arts, in fact all of the arts equally. They all play a part, you can’t separate them, you have to be passionate about all of them.”