Christopher Polly struggles to pick a favourite project: “That’s a bit like choosing a favourite child!” But when pressed, he does admit that four of his most recently completed residential projects hold that special place in his heart.
“Our Cosgriff House, Elliot Ripper House, Darling Point Penthouse and Haines House are our favourite completed projects to date,” explains Christopher. “Each project provided potential to explore various ideas for individual design responses, which were brought to fruition with good clients and builders.”
These four projects have also been shortlisted for many awards, including the Australian Interior Design Awards, Houses Awards, Interior Design Excellence Awards and House & Garden Room of the Year, a feat which is made all the more impressive by the fact that Christopher is a one-man show. His firm, Christopher Polly Architect was established in late 2005, when he decided to take on a large mixed-use commercial project at Sydney Olympic Park; a job that became the catalyst for establishing an office in a full-time capacity.
Since then, he has gone on to complete commercial, hospitality and residential projects, where he is involved in the design process from architecture all the way through to landscaping. “We have a holistic detail, design and process-led approach for each project and site, entailing architecture, interior design and preliminary landscape advice. Depending on the project and client, and when requested, we also offer advice as to selection for furniture and furnishings.”
Currently, Christopher primarily works in residential, something he favours for its ability to: “allow a broader depth of opportunity to explore and test ideas.” Working on a federation house in Petersham, a 1960s brick veneer house in Woolooware and a terrace in Newtown, he has several renovations on the go, all transpiring in hugely unique ways.
“They all involve significant additions and alterations to the existing fabric of each house,” says Christopher. “The particular pattern of development in the street and the strength found in the existing individual formal qualities of a building always define the parameters for a uniquely appropriate and differentiated design response for each project.”
While Christopher does acknowledge the fact that having your own firm comes with its economic challenges, being the sole driver of each design response far outweighs any negatives. “Having autonomy in the exploration of ideas and being master of your own design direction was, and still is, the overriding benefit of having your own firm.”
With business in no way slowing down, Christopher feels very fortunate to be in his position, though it’s certainly not something that’s come easy. Rather, he sees hard work as the key to his success, and would recommend all emerging designers get their hands dirty if they want to make it in the business. “My advice would be to work extremely hard, with an unwavering commitment and focus to achieving great outcomes!”