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Erin Lambrecht · Interior Designer + Associate, Flack Studio

Dream Job

It’s no secret that we are huge fans of local design trailblazers Flack Studio. And, although we’ve featured the brand’s effervescent founder, David Flack, on many occasions (and on film!), today we turn our attention to a lesser-known, but equally integral, member of the team: Erin Lambrecht.

While the studio’s Interior Designer and Associate might shy from any limelight, she’s highly accomplished in her own right and has a seriously impressive portfolio of projects to her name.

Today the 35-year-old shares her career trajectory, offering insights into Flack Studio’s highly collaborative design approach and divulging its ‘work hard, play hard’ philosophy.

10th August, 2018

Erin Lambrecht is an Interior Designer and Associate at Flack Studio. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

She has worked in this role since mid-2016. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

‘Design is multi-faceted, whether it’s working with my clients, nurturing the team or drawing details on a new project, you’re always designing,’ Erin tells. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

Before Flack Studio, she worked at Bates Smart, GA Group (London), KPDO, and started her own studio. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

Erin’s days encompass client meetings, client presentations, design reviews with the team, yellow tracing and more. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

Erin and David worked together at KPDO, before heading off to establish their own studios, and then reuniting. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

At Flack Studio’s HQ in Fitzroy. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

Erin and David make a site visit to examine a pretty epic staircase in-the-making! Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

Elle Murrell
Friday 10th August 2018

‘I have learned from the best, it’s now my time to impart that knowledge.’ – Erin Lambrecht.

Erin Lambrecht started at Flack Studio back in June 2016, though she has been conscientiously building her career, layer by layer, for over a decade.

The Melbournian selected her university (Monash) for its focus on the pragmatic side of interior architecture, as well as that course’s work-placement requirements. These compulsory units pushed the admittedly shy yet driven young student to get her foot in the door at respected firm Bates Smart. There, she showcased her ‘can-do’ attitude’ and all-rounder aptitude, as well as an in-touch understanding of her entry-level place in the hierarchy – she didn’t waltz in expecting the top tasks right away. This triple-threat of self-awareness, foresight, and enthusiasm led to a full-time role.

Erin soon came to realise her passion for working on hotel projects. ‘It’s the scale that interested me; there are just so many areas and facets (both physically and conceptually) to this typology, from the restaurants to room types, to the thinking behind the arrival guest experience… whether it be a beach resort or a city hotel,’ she tells. Securing a two-year Working Holiday Visa to the UK, Erin diligently researched and emailed design agencies working on hotels upon her arrival, until she was snapped up by GA Group.

Returning to Australia, Erin joined KPDO, where she first met and worked alongside (technically above!) David Flack. The two hit it off, and though they did go their separate ways to establish their own firms.  They’re now reunited at Flack Studio, delivering some of the most amazing residential, retail and café spaces you’ve seen!

The most important verb in the get-your-dream-job lexicon is…

…build!

I’ve been building my career since the very early days of studying.

Part of the Interior Architecture degree at Monash involved completing a six-week work placement. I did mine at Bates Smart, where I stayed on one day per week in my fourth year then eventually started full-time when I graduated. I worked mostly on Crown Casino projects, including the Crown Towers hotel upgrade with design mentors – Jackie Johnston and Candice Bradley, I absorbed as much knowledge as possible in these early days which sparked an interest in hotel design and led me to GA Group in London to work on many amazing hotel projects throughout Europe.

After a couple of years in London, I returned home to work at KPDO with Kerry Phelan and Associate Hugh Lane, which is where I met David Flack. I have never taken my opportunities for granted and have continued to build on the generosity of knowledge from my peers and experiences with each role.

I landed this job by…

I have known David Flack for nearly nine years, and we remained close after finishing up at KPDO; we both left at similar times to set up our own individual studios. While Dave was setting up Flack Studio, I was setting up Studio Tate with my business partner Alex Hopkins. A couple of years later, after hearing I’d parted ways with Studio Tate, Dave asked me to join the team.

A typical day for me involves…

I have a little girl Zoe (16 months) who rises early, so I’m up at the crack of dawn. My husband Tom does the morning drop-off to daycare, allowing me to be at the studio by 8am. Mornings are the best time to get on top of emails and catch builders, then I enjoy a clean run while I’m designing, I will average around six hours a day of design. Planning elevations and designing joinery, putting together finish schemes. There’s a bit of everything, pus a lot of computer work, especially involved with managing a team. In my roles, you need to be intuitive and decisive, a skill which I have worked to build over the years.

I usually have five projects in various stages of design that I’ll be managing at one time, and I will then have a further three that will be in construction and requiring fortnightly site visits.

All projects are designed by David and myself as we have a collaborative approach to our working relationship – you will find either of us at each other’s desk at any given hour. We also present most projects together; we see our time with clients is precious and they enjoy the different insights we both provide. We keep Mondays free from client meetings and I have Fridays off with Zoe, so Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays fill up with client presentations, design reviews with the team, and yellow tracing.

By the afternoon it’s my turn to pick up Zoe; so I’m out of the studio by 5.30pm.

The most rewarding part of my job is…

… too many. Design is multi-faceted, whether it’s working with my clients, nurturing the team or drawing details on a new project, you’re always designing. As an Associate of Flack Studio – I have the opportunity to focus on design development with the team. I really love the time I have with David, we both push ourselves, we’re always on the same page – whilst our individual design aesthetics are different (David is more colour, more finishes; he really pushes it, and I am saying, ‘less, less, pull back’. We meet in the middle) they complement each other beautifully and make every Flack project stronger. I have learned from the best, it’s now my time to impart that knowledge.

On the other hand, the most challenging aspect is…

…juggling. I can’t express how much I enjoy my time with my daughter Zoe and my time designing at Flack Studio. However, there is a grey zone between these two worlds that no-one tells you about, neither worlds are ever far from my mind. I guess the challenging part is that grey zone – where at times you’re not sure where you have your foot.

You just have to try to be super organised. I know that I have to be out of the door at 5-5:30am now, that I have to be a bit more diligent, structured and really stick to my plans to make having this wonderful job and also being a Mum work. I’m still refining it!

The culture of my workplace is…

Collaborative with a work hard, play hard philosophy. Design is at the forefront of what we do – the studio has a strong design support and admin team, allowing the designers to do what they do best. Both David and I enjoy bouncing ideas off each other, so input is encouraged and nurtured by everyone. We also take the team on international study tours, last year the team went to Tokyo for a week, next year I hear Paris is on the cards… I’d love to visit the Maison&Objet trade fair.

On Job Day at school, I dressed up as…

We never had job day, but now I have a little girl, I would have gone as a superhero, president or astronaut because it’s all possible for her generation.

The best piece of advice I’ve received is…

From my Mum…
‘Always do what makes you happy!’

Over the years, Flack Studio has…

…grown quite quickly, however, a key studio value is to grow better, not bigger. We’re fortunate enough to choose ‘Flack’ clients and concentrate on high-quality custom design. We’re a team of eight – with five in the design team and three in Practice Management, design support and accounts.

In the next five years, I’d like to…

…continue to build and develop my craft. There have been some previous opportunities in the studio to travel that I’ve missed out on, as my little girl is quite young; I’m looking forward to being able to travel in the future. So far, I’ve had projects based in New York, Tokyo, and Seoul and David has visited all three in my place – it’s time I get my Qantas points matching his!

I’m also looking forward to the continuation of the success of Flack Studio – we’re a little studio that punches way beyond its weight – something we’re extremely proud of.

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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. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net