Taking place every year at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), the Rigg Design Prize recognises the importance of contemporary design in Australia and this year sees interior design take centre stage. The first major presentation of interior design in the gallery’s history, the Rigg Design Prize 2018 sees ten leading Australian interior designers and decorators each create a purpose-built room in the gallery.
Exploring the theme of ‘Domestic Living,’ this year’s shortlisted designers are Amber Road, Arent & Pyke, Danielle Brustman, Flack Studio, David Hicks, Hecker Guthrie, Martyn Thompson Studio, Richards Stanisich, Scott Weston Architecture Design and The Society Inc by Sibella Court. All of the shortlist are eligible for the $30,000 triennial prize.
“The Rigg Design Prize 2018 recognises the central role that interior design plays in our lives and reflects the NGV’s commitment to elevating the cultural value of contemporary design in Australia. The participants’ concepts are thoughtful reflections of interior spaces and their ability to shift perceptions and tell personal stories of place and identity,” says NGV director Tony Ellwood AM.
We caught up with some of the shortlisted designers who gave us their top interior design tips and future predictions.
“Go to a designer that is going to listen to you and give you back solutions over and above your expectations. Don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone and go on a journey of discovery and learn to trust the professional. Let an interior designer tailor a space specifically for you and your family rather than a cookie cutter solution to appease the real estate market,” says Scott.
“I tend to present concept options from ‘modest, medium to no budget’ as a starting point to open discussion with a client and from there we develop a well resolved solution that’s a mixture of all three,” says Scott.
As for trend predictions, Scott sees sustainability as a major one. “I teach clients to be more aware of sustainability and buying quality (rather than lower cost items) that will bring joy for the rest of their lives,” says Scott who recommends sustainable forest timbers like hemlock and cedar for interior wall linings as an alternative to plasterboard that provide warmth and texture too.
“I see a move away from recessed downlights to more architectural atmospheric wall up-lighting and flexible lighting systems,” says Scott who is a big fan of terrazzo also. “Terrazzo slabs and tiles that hark back to the 1950’s add personality and warmth to domestic living spaces,” says Scott.
“Lastly, the application of printed digital technology to soft furnishings has opened a cornucopia of endless possibilities enabling cost-effective customisation while producing one-off interior design solutions that offer affordable, bespoke luxury,” says Scott.
“My top tips for interiors is always ‘less is more’ and I predict a return to custom and hand-crafted materials,” says interior designer David Hicks whose installation for the prize features his signature eclectic look created with antiques, vintage and custom-designed pieces.
Amber Road’s Yasmine Ghoniem (interior designer) and Katy Svalbe (landscape architect) created an installation for the prize called ‘Take it Outside’ that explores the idea of the outdoor room as an extension of the indoors. “Exterior and/or interior finishes don’t have to stop at the thresholds between the inside and outside of the home. Pushing and pulling interior finishes out and vice versa creates visual continuity, and in the case of small rooms that open up onto balconies or other outdoor spaces, assists in making them feel more generous,” says Katy.
As for future trends, Yasmine predicts a rise in more individual, bespoke interiors – a reflexive shift from the homogenous ‘one size fits all’ approach. “We see a welcome move away from consumerist, same-y design towards more emotionally driven interiors, which can be minimalist, yet dreamlike, even ‘romantic surrealist.’ Think authentic, soulful spaces to dream and be free and away from the pressures we face in our lives. More handmade and artisan, less brand driven although that has its place. I predict a personal dimension to the spaces we design and inhabit,” says Yasmine.
“With property purchase prices in today’s cities at an all-time high, ‘home’ for many now has a whole new meaning. For those that don’t want to tie their money up in owning bricks and mortar, there is an increasing number of built-to rent homes, including co-housing. This is opening up a whole new range of exciting design challenges and opportunities for designers,” says Katy of her future trend prediction.
The Rigg Design Prize 2018 is a free exhibition that is on display now until 24 February, 2019 at the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at Federation Square, Melbourne.