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Avoiding Archi-Speak With CM Studio

Studio Visit

Creating warm, simple spaces is at the heart of Sydney-based cm studio’s approach. In under six years, this young architecture and design firm has already gained a rep for understated reinvention.

Today we chat to close friends Chris Glanville and Megan Burns at their Rushcutters Bay studio – refreshingly, sans archi-speak!

12th February, 2018

Close friends and creative partners Megan Burns and Chris Glanville of architecture and design firm cm studio. Photo – Jacqui Turk for The Design Files.

Bright and airy Cranbrook project kitchen. Photo – courtesy of cm studio.

The exterior of the Oatley project, by cm studio. Photo – courtesy of cm studio.

The bathroom of their Cranbrook project. Photo – courtesy of cm studio.

And the Cranbrook project bedroom. Photo – courtesy of cm studio.

‘By the end of the design stage with all our jobs there needs to be this moment of, “I want to move into this place,”‘ says Megan. Photo – Jacqui Turk for The Design Files.

Interiors of cm studio’s Hargrave project. Photo – courtesy of cm studio.

Freya Latona
Monday 12th February 2018

‘By the end of the design stage, there needs to be this moment of, “I want to move into this place!”‘ – Megan Burns.

Chris Glanville and Megan Burns met as undergrads at Sydney University while studying architecture. Working together in small groups, they knew straight away that they had a similar approach to design, and a laidback attitude which respected, yet didn’t pedestal, their craft.

The pair both worked briefly for other architecture and design firms, before starting their own in 2012. Megan had been offered her first project (the Manly penthouse apartment of her boyfriend’s parents) and immediately brought Chris on to help, and cm studio was born!

In 2014, they won the Interior Design Excellence Award (IDEA) in the emerging designer category, having only the one project to their name. The duo didn’t even buy tickets to the event until the last minute, when they got a call from an organiser, gently suggesting they might want to be there. ‘We weren’t making money at that early stage, and were thinking, two hundred bucks for a ticket? Bugger that!’ laughs Chris.

Since then, cm studio has gained a strong following through social media and word-of-mouth. They have also attracted clients by hosting open home events that allow the public to experience their spaces in the flesh, a visual and tactile experience that doesn’t always translate in photos.

Chris and Megan aim to create ‘simple, minimalist spaces’, prioritising their natural instincts when it comes to reinventing a space. The result is a design approach which responds respectfully to the existing context of a home’s heritage and location; marrying a sense of ‘softness’ with the linearity of the modern. ‘By the end of the design stage with all our jobs there needs to be this moment of, ‘I want to move into this place,’ says Megan. ‘If we’re not convinced, then the client isn’t going to be,’ adds Chris.

Stay tuned for cm studio’s second collaboration with Project 82, released later this year.

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The Design Files acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files – we would love to hear from you.

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