Founding their interior design studio, Arent & Pyke, over 10 years ago, Juliette Arent and Sarah Jane Pyke create spaces people want to live in. Seamlessly blending luxury with a distinctly lived-in quality, the Sydney-based studio believes the success of their projects all comes down to the emotional impact of a space. They pride themselves working closely with clients to tease out their unique tastes and interests, to create something that feels like home.
Juliette and Sarah Jane’s great success can be attributed to in equal parts to good taste, hard work and intuition. Their most recent accolade, is their inclusion in the shortlist for The National Gallery of Victoria’s Rigg Design Prize, the most prestigious commendation for contemporary design in the country. Alongside nine other shortlisted design studios, Arent & Pyke have created an entire purpose-built interior responding the theme, ‘Domestic Living’.
Ahead of the big reveal, we chat to Juliette and Sarah about what makes an Arent&Pyke interior, and hear them reflect on over 10 years of business.
We last featured your studio in 2016. What have you been up to since then, and what have been some career highlights over the past two years?
Sarah Jane: In 2017 the practice turned 10, and it was lovely to look back on a decade of projects and really think, what makes an Arent&Pyke interior? It confirmed what we already knew – that our work is never formulaic, or even about a particular aesthetic. The real output is emotional. The way clients connect to their homes, and the joy we can inject into their lives through the spaces we create – that’s what it’s all about.
Juliette: We want to keep the design work feeling dynamic and continually pushing our aesthetic forward. This year we coupled a trip to Salone del Mobile in Milan, with a sourcing trip to London & Paris, bringing back some incredible vintage pieces that will make their way into clients’ homes over the next few months.
For The Rigg Design Awards in 2018, you’ve been invited to design a purpose-built interior that responds to the theme of ‘Domestic Living’. What does this mean to you, and what can we expect?
J: Our practice is focused on Domestic Living in everything we do, so for the Rigg Prize we have chosen to represent the elemental nature of residential design, amplified by the installation setting.
SJ: The group of designers that the NGV curatorial team have assembled is incredible – it’s a huge honour to be among them. I can’t wait to see the way the theme has been realised by each practice. I know it’s going to be a visual feast, but I also expect to see some thoughtful and surprising interpretations of Domestic Living.
Being based in Sydney, what are you looking forward to about coming down to Melbourne to work with the NGV, and about being in the city in general?
J: To be installing our work inside the NGV feels mindbogglingly surreal to me. Sarah-Jane and I are acutely aware that this is such a unique opportunity – really a once in a lifetime chance – to express ourselves in this way, reaching an audience so far beyond any we could ever have imagined. Spending quality time in Melbourne is an added bonus! Although it is all whirling by in a blur at the moment… We’re very much looking forward to celebrating with all the participants at the opening!
SJ: It’s always a treat to work in Melbourne, and being at the NGV feels like peak-Melbourne! The urban edge of Melbourne always feels a little richer and grittier to me than Sydney. I love the mid-week energy, especially the restaurant scene, and I’m hoping to squeeze a few delicious dinners into the installation weeks too.
What’s next for you both?
J: Summer in Sydney! Time outdoors and at the beach with my loves! And of course more great projects with lovely clients. Each new project is an opportunity to delve into design and art with fresh eyes, and continually develop and explore – something I am truly grateful for.
SJ: Over the last few months I’ve grown a lot by connecting with other design practices. I had an incredible trip with a group of designers to Tokyo and Los Angeles last month (thanks to Dulux & the DIA), and our experience for the Rigg Prize feels like a celebration of our industry as whole, so I look forward to continuing to develop relationships within our extraordinary design community.
Rigg Design Prize 2018
October 12th to February 29th, 2019
Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia
Level 3, Contemporary Art & Design
Federation Square, Victoria