Studio Visit

Adele Winteridge of Foolscap Studio

Lucy Feagins
Lucy Feagins
16th of December 2011
Plantation coffee house, designed by Foolscap Studio in collaboration with Jennifer Lowe and Brooke Thorn.  Photos - Tracey Lee Hayes
Plantation coffee house, designed by Foolscap Studio in collaboration with Jennifer Lowe and Brooke Thorn.  Photos - Tracey Lee Hayes
Plantation coffee house, designed by Foolscap Studio in collaboration with Jennifer Lowe and Brooke Thorn.  Photos - Tracey Lee Hayes

In a city where a new cafe, bar or pop-up seems to open it's doors almost weekly, it's no wonder there are so many excellent indie architecture and design studios flourishing in Melbourne too!  Hey, someone's gotta design this stuff - it's not just about the coffee! (although clearly the coffee is also integral).  One such design studio is Foolscap, founded 3 years ago by Perth-born, now Melbourne-based interior architect and multidisciplinary designer Adele Winteridge.

At just 31 Adele has a seriously impressive list of projects under her belt!  Since moving to Melbourne and launching Foolscap in 2009, her energetic little studio has grown to accommodate two full time staff working alongside Adele - architecture graduate Sian Pascale and interior design graduate Kate Archibald.  Together this tight-knit team tackle a great variety of projects including hospitality and retail fit-outs, event and pop-up design and styling, liquor license consultancy and product design.  Recent projects have included a fitout for CBD retail store Vanishing Elephant, cafe Plantation, and a brand new cafe in the city called Patricia which opened it's doors just yesterday!

I have so much admiration for independent start-ups working hard to build a business from scratch... mainly because it is just such seriously hard work!  Running a fledgling design and architecture firm demands long hours and incredible level of commitment - it's all about passion, determination and a genuine love of the job!

My hat is firmly tipped to Adele and her industrious little team... it's dynamic local studios like this that ensure that your coffee in always served with a dose of great design on the side.  And ain't that what Melbourne is all about?  Coffee and coolness.

Massive thanks to Adele for her time with this interview and all the great pics!

Adele Winteridge of Foolscap Studio.  Photo - Penny Lane.
Tell us a little about your background – what path led you to founding Foolscap ?

I always knew I would be involved in a creative field, I was one of those kids who could drift pretty deep into fantasy land and occupy myself for hours. My mother was a chef so I wanted to be a chef as well initially, untill  she made me swear to never be a chef because of the long arduous hours… I guess similar to Interior Design!!

I started studying a Bachelor of Arts degree at UWA in Perth, I took on a Fine Arts elective in the Architecture building on the architecture campus. The elective was The History and Theory to Landscape and Architecture. The elective was amazing, my favourite without a doubt. Somehow these people felt like my people. I decided to enrole in Interior Architecture at Curtin the following semester - the rest is history. I finished with a BA (Int Arch) Hons and am currently undertaking a Masters in Sustainable Development.

I worked for 2 years at a small design firm in Perth, then moved to Sydney where I worked in high end corporate fit-outs at Futurespace. I then became Program coordinator of The Interior Department at The Whitehouse Institute of Design in Sydney.  After two years of this I was moved to the new Melbourne campus. Whilst working there, I undertook some small freelance jobs and then got way too busy to do both. Foolscap was born Janurary of 2009.

Tiny Cafe in Collingwood - designed by Foolscap

Foolscap seems to take on an incredible variety of projects – from interior design to pop-ups and events to product design!  What have been some of your favourite projects/clients recently?

All our clients, without lying, have all been amazing. I attribute the practices success to the flexibility and creativity and vision of our clients.

Our newest project Patricia is a great example of this. Patricia opened in Melbourne CBD yesterday! We are really proud of the outcome as a result of our collaborative process and the relationship we have with the client Bowen Holden.

One of our first clients was our dear friend and character Michael Pham, a graphic designer turned cafe proprietor who runs Tiny in Collingwood. He was a treat to work with and a really collaborative experience.

The Doghouse is also a great example - we worked with the great team at RightAngle studio to produce a pop-up bar for clients Sapient Nitro and Drambuie. The outcome for the project was a pop up event on a rooftop in Sydney. This temporary experience lasted 3 weeks.

The Boys at Vanishing Elephant were amazing to work with too. The project was a really collaborative process to the core. The VE boys are really creative and knew what they wanted, but ultimately had complete trust in our vision.

We are very lucky!

Vanishing Elephant Melbourne store - designed by Foolscap.  Photos - Tom Blachford
Vanishing Elephant Melbourne store - designed by Foolscap.  Photos - Tom Blachford
Vanishing Elephant Melbourne store - designed by Foolscap.  Photos - Tom Blachford

How is your business structured? How many people do you employ to juggle such a great variety of work, and what significant tasks do you outsource?

I have currently have two full time staff plus me. There is a bit of ebb and flow here, and usually we hire extra staff on a contract basis.

We are lucky to share our amazing studio with Beyond The Pixels who are a branding and digital company – we work very closely with them on most of our projects, including our most recent - Patricia.  There are three of them, so in total our studio is around 8.

We generally don’t outsource anything.

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

A typical day starts with a walk into Melbourne city from North Fitzroy. I usally walk in with two of my good friends who live close by.

We stop and get coffee at Brother Baba Budan or a little café called D’marco’s, run by two italian brothers.

That said, I'll be frequenting Patricia now that it's open!

I usually have quite a few meetings daily – so I try and get the bulk of my 'heads down' work done in the morning - which frees me up for impromptu meetings that pop up everyday.

These meetings are generally with suppliers or contractors that we are working with, site visits, clients and mentors... or just general fun people!

Lunch is generally in the city – Kenzan at GPO is a favourite or Captains of Industry.

We have a weekly Monday Morning WIP where we go to a different/venue each week. It's great to get excuse to see Melbourne's new venues whilst working!

The Doghouse in Darlinghurst, Sydney - designed by Foolscap.  Photos - Maja Baska

Can you name 5 creative resources across any media which you turn to regularly for a bolt of creative inspiration?

Dezeen is a great site. Mark or Frame magazine. Selby in your place Pin Up magazine Yatzer or Trendland

Which other designers, architects or creative people are you most inspired by at the moment?

The list is TOO long!

1. Faye Toogood 2. Ilse Crawford 3. Rory Hyde (unsolicited architecture) 4. Lucy Mcrae 5. Michel Gondry 6. Robyn Boyd 7. Charles and Ray Eames 8. Peter Zumthor 9. Luis Barragan 10. Superpotato 11. Suppose 12. SANAA 13. Naruse Inokuma Architects 14. Herzog and Demeuron 15. Amber Wallace

What would be your dream creative project?

Wow I have so many of these and they change daily!

I think the key thing for me is to always be working with inspiring people who are passionate and good at what they do. Any project where I can collaborate with people at the top of their field to generate a well considered outcome.

Studio Toogood are working on a project at the moment which is pretty much my dream project. A luxurious client, a brilliant concept, venues throughout the globe, amazing collaborators – artists, artisans, musicians. I also really like projects that do not necessarily have a client – “unsolicited architecture”.

What are you looking forward to?

Starting the London Office. Working on more Product design. Opening my own venue. Catching my first tube! (surfing) Getting better at what I do.

Melbourne Questions

Your favourite Melbourne neighbourhood and why? I am pretty happy with North Fitzroy, Northcote, Footscray Melbourne city is really where it all happens though! Your favourite bookstore in Melbourne for reference books and inspiration? Architext. Where/what was the last great meal you ate in Melbourne? Izakaya Den. The Kingfish sashimi. Melbourne’s best kept secret?

Dillon Optical.

It is where I buy all my specs.

It is located down a laneway off Little Collins, up a set of stairs, a small lino floored room with a man that sits and chain smokes and plays 'words with friends' (I think he would woop my arse)

He is a legend. He has drawers of vintage glasses that can be made up to your prescription. I have a pair old Australian 'silhouettes' that are so great, I also found a pair of old Christian Diors there, and wear Diane Carloe’s from Paris.  Every time I go in there I leave having bought a new pair… a slight obsession of mine…

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