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Painting The Landscape With Acre Designs

Creative People

Last month we featured a stunning contemporary beach house with such spectacular landscape architecture that we thought the people behind it deserved their own post! Meet Acre– a Fitzroy-based firm taking a holistic approach to garden design.

For Acre’s Creative Director Brett Robinson, a childhood spent exploring the beautiful Mornington Peninsula has been an undeniable influence in his (zig-zag) path to landscape architecture. We chat with Brett about his multi-disciplinary approach to landscape architecture in their fifth year of business!

14th November, 2018

The Acre Landscape Architecture team from left to right: Tari Northwood, Pip Byrne, Mitch Żurel, Brett Robinson. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

‘Blairgowrie House’ project in collaboration with Planned Living Architects. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

‘North Adelaide SA Project’ in collaboration with Nexus Design. Photo – Jonathan Van Der Knaap.

Tari Northwood and Pip Byrne in the Fitzroy studio. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Mitch Żurek looking over samples. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

‘Malvern East’ project. Photo – Urban Angles.

Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Studio details. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

‘Blairgowrie House’ project in collaboration with Planned Living Architects. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

‘Blairgowrie House’ project in collaboration with Planned Living Architects. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Miriam McGarry
Wednesday 14th November 2018

Growing up on the Mornington Peninsula with a nature reserve on his doorstep, Acre’s Creative Director Brett Robinson has always had a passion for the landscape. After training as a graphic designer, he quickly tired of ‘designing 2D business cards for accounting firms’ and returned to university to complete a masters in Landscape Architecture. From here, Acre was born, combining Brett’s design know-how with his love of the landscape.

Brett’s diverse influences are evident in both Acre’s design methodology and their finished projects. He explains, ‘we are heavily focused on traditional design methodology, and adhere to the principle that form follows function.’ For Brett and his team, the specific relationship between the site context, architecture and the client always directs the outcomes. He explains the importance of local specificity, noting ‘a formal garden on the Peninsula just isn’t smart design!’

The firm’s evolution has been one of determination and late night hours from Brett, whose business was a ‘one-man band’ in the initial years, while he continued working nine-to-five at a design firm. After a long time of burning the candle at both ends, he made the switch to full time with Acre: necessitating the quick development of skills across social media, marketing and bookkeeping. Thankfully, Brett’s 36-hour work binges are (mostly) behind him, as he now has an equally hardworking team with a shared philosophy to ‘transform each home we work on into a sanctuary and place of positivity.’

Brett emphasises the importance of his talented team, and their individual creative hobbies and interests outside of work, too. He describes, ‘these attributes mean we look at landscape a little differently, we almost paint the landscape.’ (Let’s pause and enjoy that phrase for a sweet moment!) The firm’s style is distinctive for its ‘monolithic clean architectural details, overlaid by a sense of stylised wildness.’ Acre’s designs flirt in the spaces between control and chaos, to find an elegant solution for every location.

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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.

Please email us here.