Recognised for her artistic approach to interiors and use of materials and colour, interior designer Fiona Lynch has worked with the likes of John Wardle, Bates Smart and was co-director at Doherty Lynch before going on to establish her own practice, Fiona Lynch. Her eye for creating beautiful spaces across retail, hospitality and residential projects has seen her work featured in magazines, books and blogs throughout Australia and internationally.
Her studio’s latest work can be seen in the moody, handsome and dramatic stylings of Prix Fixe, the new ticketed restaurant endeavour by Philippa Sibley and Jason M Jones. Fiona’s recent extension into product design has also seen the release of Fields, a collection of rugs in partnership with Tretford.
The table setting at Prix Fixe (Image: Sharyn Cairns)
1. What is a current influence/source of inspiration?
My new studio is in Collingwood and I am enjoying all the great places to visit like Gertrude Contemporary one of my favorite galleries where there is always a fantastic artist to discover. Minanoie for the amazing architecture / art books and small exhibitions. I have also been learning from ceramic artist Shane Kent on a Thursday morning hand building techniques in clay at the Slow Clay studio in Keele Street. And of course I have to mention my new team who are a fantastic group of designers and architects working with me who bring new ideas into our studio each day.
2. And a past childhood influence? What early memory do you have of being aware of interiors and spaces?
River House by Peter McIntyre was behind my next door neighbour’s house. We used to play above his house pretending to be fugitives taking on the space-ship weird building. It has been very much etched into my memory and my recent rug collaboration with Tretford was inspired by the triangular forms of River House and its bold, playful use of colour.
3. If you weren’t doing what you do, what other field could you see yourself working in?
Fine art painting or cooking. I love both. However I think I have chosen my perfect career in interiors which can be linked to both these areas through product design and hospitality design. I was thrilled to be asked to design the interior of new restaurant Prix Fixe with chef Philippa Sibley. Her concept of creating different dishes inspired by themes like ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ changes each month. One of my happiest moments was the opening night dinner with our studio at Prix Fixe where Philippa told me she had created a dessert called ‘Bottom’ of Truffled honey pannacotta and poached apricot dessert that picked up on the interior finishes specified like the brass chamfer blades framing the kitchen and the apricot painted ceiling and marble.
4. Melbourne: What do you like about it?
Having travelled extensively and studied overseas I have learnt that if you are creative Melbourne is a pretty amazing place to live. Considering how far away from the rest of the world we are, we have somehow made ourselves incredibly connected and relevant in art and design.
5. What no so much?
Winter: I really think a part of me would be much happier in Sydney. The air always seems warmer / fresher up there.
6. What led you to extend your design practice into the production of the Fields rug collection?
Product design has been something I have always wanted to explore. Fields came about when the Australian agent of Tretford Gibbon Group made a rug we had designed for a private client. They thought this could be made into a collection and asked us to design it. I have always enjoyed working with craftsman and the discussion that goes into resolving ideas. We are exploring other products at present – a timber dowel pendant and wall light. And we are about to launch our second Fields rug collection called ‘Shard’.
From the Fields collection by Fiona Lynch for Tretford (Image: Derek Swalwell)
7. What’s one interior space you wish you had have designed yourself?
Robin Boyd House, Walsh Street – and I would love to go back in time and be a guest at one of their parties.
8. What is a typical workday like for you?
Coffee at Mina-no-ie with my studio to discuss and plan out the day. Emails, phone calls to clients to confirm we are not over-spending their money. Site visits. Lunch. Design review of projects. Home.
9. Last film, book or album that grabbed you?
Ricky Swallow, Bronzes, his latest scupltures in patinated bronze look like they have been made out of corrugated cardboard. They are incredibly beautiful.
10. What are you currently working on (or next?)
Two butcher shops – one in Kew and another in St Kilda. Completely different briefs and design approach. One having an industrial Japanese feel reflecting the modern approach this young butcher brings to his profession: the other playing on the butcher’s Hungarian heritage.
A number of beautiful residential projects with very different design briefs. We love the diversity and the challenges this brings as we are passionate about creating experiences that differ from the project before. A new focus will be working with key galleries on their exhibition design. Although our main focus is residential interiors we feel that extending ourselves into other areas such as product and exhibition design will help to enrich our work and keep our ideas fresh.
11. If you could change one thing about….
Caulking joinery. I have worked out details to avoid caulking, now I just have to work out a way to stop the builder with the caulking gun…
12. If you could give yourself one piece of advice to your 21 year-year old self, what would it be?
When I was 21 I was very fortunate to be offered an exchange whilst at RMIT. Artist Robert Owen, one of my lecturers, had created a link with HKU Fine Art and Design in Utrecht in The Netherlands. The College had an amazing architecture, design and art focus. I spent months visiting nearly every major gallery in Europe, many of which were designed by important architects such as Berlin’s New National Gallery by Mies van der Rohe. Whilst I was visiting these places I was able to experience art, architecture and design. So some advice would be that this time will provide an amazing resource for your future art and design work.
03 9079 2500
Hawthorn East House (Image: Gorta Yuuki)
Images at top:
1) Hawthorn East House (Image: Gorta Yuuki)
2) Finnon Glen (Image: Gorta Yuuki)
3) Grove Road House (Image: Gorta Yuuki)
4) Fiona Lynch
By Matt Hurst