1. Tell us a little about yourself and your journey into the design space.
At university I studied Religious Art History and Imperial Russian History, which were not my long term passion, but definitely my first steps into the decorative arts. Following graduation I travelled the world for four years – which was amazing to see contrasts in design and architecture. For me, the Middle East had the greatest impact – knowing the history of that region from university studies and actually visiting those ruins, pyramids and world heritage sites was truly surreal. I saw the frescos we studied through virtual courses tracking pilgrim routes through the Middle East – the churches that would be visited along the pilgrim route and how the architecture changed.
When I finished travelling I completed a one year design course at CATC in Melbourne and was fortunate to be invited to go to LA for an internship with an architect - Scott Mitchell Studio, following the course. From the internship I got a Design Assistant position with Thomas Hamel, which progressed to Interior Designer and Senior Interior Designer over the last nine years.
2. Can you share the processes you consider for incorporating texture in your work?
At Thomas Hamel & Associates we champion designing firstly for the client, then consider the architecture and lastly ourselves.
For an holistic approach I like to consider the architecture and what floor and wall finishes tie in with decorative soft furnishings. It’s always about textural balance.
Currently, I’m working on a project in Melbourne where we have installed aubergine trowelled plaster wallpaper, which almost looks like eel skin, in the Dining Room and an emerald jewel-toned velvet sofa across the hall in the Sitting Room. There’s quite a lot of punchy colours happening – that’s what the client is after.
In contrast, one of the Sydney projects is a monocolour interplay - which ultimately becomes a textures game. We’ve incorporated velvets, silks woven with gold thread, wools, and chenille. Velvet is always a luxe material to add in and the range of available colours means it can still be understated without looking gaudy.
Each texture provides variations in colour creating the mix of high and low. Your Moonscape texture dinnerware is going into this space.
3. Do you have any ‘go to’ materials/objects to highlight texture?
Signature textural pieces for us are sisal carpets, baskets and rattan.
Adding in ethnic woven pieces kind of neutralises the effect of an antique centrepiece. The antique becomes less intimidating - again, giving a nice balance of high and low.
4. In this issue we introduce customisable dinnerware textures available across an array of palettes. Can you share any other current projects and your choice of incorporating ‘No.19’ Moonscape dinnerware?
What we do when looking at dinnerware is not what granny did – we don’t want the full completely matching set, we like to follow the same ethos as we do with our rooms and blend components together. For example, we go to 3-4 places and consider how complimentary items mix together. We use Limoges porcelain bases because we know the particular base colour is the same across all Limoges porcelain, which means we can mix pieces with confidence.
For the dinnerware service for a Sydney project, we have chosen some Limoges pieces that have pattern and colour involved and combined this with No.19 ‘Moonscape’ pieces for a texture element. Some of the pieces are hand-painted chinoiserie with gold finishes. Others have abstract colours running through them. Pair them with No.19 Moonscape with its ‘pure texture’ and you end up with a harmonious and incredibly unique dinner service.
Moonscape is ‘quietly interesting’. We needed pieces in the service that were both ‘quieter’, but could still hold their own as a piece on the table.
5. How would you describe your current personal style in interior design?
I’ve just moved into a new apartment in Elizabeth Bay and have used an ox blood burnt red for the carpet in the main dining and living area – which I never thought I’d use. I don’t know if its lockdown or going crazy in these COVID times, but I find I’m taking bigger steps in the colour direction I never thought I would. I’m braver with colours now.
I’m adding in pieces from different cultures – more ethnic pieces. I’ve added contemporary, iconic mid-century with basic African wooden pieces in the mix. The combination feels more like a collection than a showroom. Visitors comment there’s interesting notes in every direction.
Typical of Sydneysiders, we don’t tend to host big dinner parties, but more intimate lunches and dinners. For me, it’s more about a place to perch on the balcony and look out over the harbour.
There’s quite a cool snug/TV room with the main wall completely covered in coloured newspaper – which presented 20 artists’ works from Société Gazette by Albus Lumen. There are a lot of blues in the newspaper, which have been pulled into lams and cushions. This itself becomes a big artwork and gives the room a lot of interest.
Home of Brendan Guy.
6. What is your favourite decorative piece in there at the moment?
I have these little African stools from Tanzania – they’re perfect sitting next to a chair to place a drink on. They have a lot of texture and character being carved out of a solid piece of timber with small arches through them. They’re very tribal.
Home of Brendan Guy. Captured by Mark Roper @markroperphotography
Brendan Guy's Top Four Selects
1. Mipreshus Collection - I love the faceted design of this range… it adds instant contemporary to a table top. I love the amber colour especially.
2. Adolf Loos Diamond Cut Collection - So understated and simple, yet refined and luxe.
3. Moonscape Collection - The texture of this range is perfect to mix in with a very formal set or more casual. Perfect for any occasion.
4. Eclipse Bowls - Like the Mipreshus collection, I love how the iridescent finish of this range adds contemporary to a table top