This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

Mardi Doherty On The '80s Revival Interior

Design Eye

For our latest instalment of Design Eye, we head back to the 1980s (yes!) with expert insight from award-winning Melbourne interior designer Mardi Doherty of Doherty Design Studio.

Mardi is known for her colourful, personality-filled residential projects, which always find the perfect balance between super lux, yet relaxed and liveable style.  Lately, Mardi and her team have found much inspiration in the 1980s, with its bold colour, abstract shapes, and chunky, curvy furniture forms.

Here, Mardi shares her thoughts on this retro revival trend – and re-acquaints us with iconic French furniture brand, Ligne Roset, available exclusively at DOMO.

23rd September, 2020

Doherty Design Studio‘s Malvern Residence – a vibrant renovation of a 1980’s home. Bonnie Chair by Ligne Roset at DOMO. Photo – Derek Swalwell. Styling – Heather Nette King.

Mardi Doherty of Doherty Design Studio. Photo courtesy of Doherty Design Studio.

Mirrored walls, green carpet, sculptural, chunky furniture and ferns…80s glam all over! Photo – Derek Swalwell. Styling – Heather Nette King.

Ligne Roset’s Bonnie Chair and Sofa, designed in 1975 – available exclusively at DOMO.

The original glass atrium takes ‘light-filled’ to a whole new level. In the living room, Ligne Roset’s Togo couches create a stylish spot for teenagers to relax and curl up. Photos – Derek Swalwell. Styling – Heather Nette King.

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 23rd September 2020

‘Our choices are often bold, yet we pride ourselves on knowing where and when to be restrained in order to achieve a cohesive design.’ – Mardi Doherty

The 1980s is back, in a big way.

For celebrated interior design Mardi Doherty, this era is characterised by bold and sometimes clashing colour, striking curves and geometric forms, and chunky, sculptural furniture.

‘Popular culture became broader in the 1980s. There was a seemingly endless array of different, conflicting styles… It was okay to throw out the rulebook; in fact, it was encouraged, allowing innovative design to flourish!’ Mardi says.

Doherty Design Studio’s recent Malvern project saw the studio re-imagine a grand 1980s home in Melbourne through a contemporary lens. This meant restraint in some areas, allowing some of the home’s most prominent original features to take centre stage (central glass atrium, anyone?), whilst pushing rich colour and texture into unexpected pockets of the house – punctuated with carefully selected classic furniture, like the Bonnie chair and Togo sofa from Ligne Roset. These iconic pieces offer an authentic nod to the past – whilst also ensuring design longevity for years to come.

We’re seeing a resurgence of the 80’s trends in Australian interiors right now, what appeals to your studio most about design from this era?

Considered by some to be the brashest of architectural decades, the 1980s are now being celebrated with bravery. We love the extroversion and flamboyance of much of 1980s design.

Popular culture became broader in the 1980s. There was a seemingly endless array of different, conflicting styles that were hugely popular. There was a freedom to the ways in which people expressed themselves – this was certainly true for design, architecture and fashion. It was okay to throw out the rulebook; in fact, it was encouraged, allowing innovative design to flourish.

It’s this eclecticism and vibrancy that makes our studio so excited by this era of design!

Your recent Malvern project really leans into this ‘retro’ aesthetic, using a brave colour palette and some incredible furniture pieces – can you talk us through this project?

Our approach was grounded by a strong appreciation of context, a desire to bring new life into the space, and to meet our client’s vision for their home.

We were completely taken with the original architecture (the home was designed by Peter McIntyre in the early 1980’s) and it became a priority of ours to celebrate this as much as possible. Our challenge was to seamlessly weave two outcomes together; to simultaneously respect the past, whilst catering for the future.

We knew from the start that we wanted to be bold with colour, yet we also wanted to balance this out with a neutral base of white. A refreshed sitting room, the ‘green room’, has a vivid peacock green across all walls, bespoke cabinetry and flooring; a nod to the bold use of colour in 1980s design. Here, we incorporated iconic pieces from different eras, including the striking Bonnie armchair by Ligne Roset, designed in 1975.

The living room required more restraint for a calmer space. Thoughtfully selected furniture made for relaxed living – the PaiPai armchair and footstool by Ligne Roset was complimented by the iconic Togo armchair and sofa in indigo – inviting teenagers to relax and curl. Again, the use of bold and chunky 1970s furniture in this 1980s home feels completely at ease.

Drawing from the building’s architectural heritage our aim was to create a contemporary version of the 1980s vernacular, filtered through a modernist glamour lens. The new design is a shrine to light, art and family life…. with a touch of disco to lure a party within!

Your studio is known for its really bold choices – especially when it comes to colour! How would you describe your design aesthetic?’

Our choices are often bold, yet we pride ourselves on knowing where and when to be restrained in order to achieve a cohesive design. Being bold with colour in key rooms brings joy, and ultimately isn’t that what life is about?!

Some projects require more calm – each site is so individual. We love a collaboration too – we see so much value in bringing together a team of other designers, it always makes for an enriched result.

Ligne Roset’s ‘Bonnie’ chair (along with the iconic Togo) share a chunky, oversized and very sculptural aesthetic… what sort of space would you specify these pieces, and what other sort of furnishings would you pair them with?

Bold furniture pieces like the sculptural Bonnie chair can provide a dramatic feature to a room. It’s important to provide a generous space around each piece, consider how it’s going to be viewed (from behind or front). You also need to consider what you see ‘past’ the piece, be it a window, a wall with art or towards another space.

The Togo collection (designed in mid 1970s) looks great in rooms with large windows, as the sofa has a low profile and allows your eye to continue to the view outside.

Pieces like these can be teamed with contemporary furniture, and positioned alongside custom joinery, to celebrate the soft curves of the pieces.

What advice would you have for anyone looking to achieve a ‘retro revival’ look at home ?

From geometric, angular forms, to striking curves and varying shades of colour – there’s a lot to draw on from 1970s and 1980s design! The key here is inspiration, not re-creation. This means exercising restraint and being considered with the use of period references, and stepping back to consider these details.

Taking a motif and using at different scales, in unexpected places, or marrying it with modern materials will help achieve a contemporary look without falling into pastiche.

 

For more than 30 years, DOMO has remained Australia’s exclusive stockist of prestigious design brands from Europe, and across the globe.

With showrooms in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide, DOMO offers a curated collection of classic, contemporary indoor and outdoor furniture ranges that last a lifetime.

For more design inspiration, follow DOMO on Instagram here.

The stunning Slow Beam residence in Tasmania, designed by Hearth Studio with Murray Barker and Lauren Bamford features Ligne Roset’s distinctive 1980’s Plumy couch in electric blue, paired with a spectacular custom carpet created with Australian artist Esther Stewart! Chaise lounge and chair by Featherston from Grazia & Co. Painting by Eleanor Louise Butt. Photos – Emily Weaving.

View Comments

Similar Stories

Interiors

The Best Australian Interiors Announced!

The Australian Interior Design Awards 2020 winners are revealed.
Sasha Gattermayr

Design Eye

Jean-Pierre Biasol on The Modern Classic Interior

Award winning Melbourne designer Jean-Pierre Biasol shares his design wisdom - and introduces us to heritage Austrian brand, Wittmann, avail...

Design Eye

Kerry Phelan on The 'WOW' Factor Couch

Interior Designer Kerry Phelan of KPDO gives us the low-down on one of her favourite classic design pieces, the de Sede DS-600 sofa.

This Week

Architecture

A Colourful Extension Inspired By Clinker Bricks

Wowowa’s Presto House is a vivid and respectful addition to a 1930s art deco home made from 'clinker' bricks.
Sasha Gattermayr
  20 hours ago

Creative People

Artist and Yindjibarndi Elder Wendy Hubert On Mapping Country + Culture

Our new columnist Jirra Lulla Harvey talks to respected Yindjibarndi Elder, artist, Cultural Custodian and linguist, Wendy Hubert about Coun...
Jirra Lulla Harvey

Studio Visit

Kuku Yalanji Artist Tiarna Herczeg Creates Colourful Maps Of Country

The emerging artist shares how they found their creative voice and intuitive painting style, as their latest solo show opens in Sydney.
Christina Karras

Food

Julia's Irresistible Double Chocolate + Tahini Brownies

Is there anything more irresistible than a brownie? We think not! Especially Julia's, which come with double the chocolate, and a nutty swir...
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Homes

A Stylist + Podcaster’s Layered, Textured Seaside Home

Kerrie-Ann Jones’ renovated retro pad in Sydney’s southern beaches is a sun-drenched dream home!

Interiors

A Mediterranean-Inspired Holiday Home Right On The Water’s Edge

CLO Studios styled the interior of this new Noosa home (dubbed Sky Garden) with earthy tones and pieces by local artists.

Art

Artist Cressida Campbell Is Finally Getting The Spotlight She Deserves

A new exhibition at the NGA brings together more than 140 works from the artist's life and unique practice.

Interiors

A Green New Addition For An Ageing Edwardian Home

Brave New Eco revitalises an existing Brunswick home for multiple generations with a new extension, natural material palette and clever use

Architecture

A Compact + Colourful Extension Of A Fun Family Home

Foomann Architects replaced this Melbourne home's dated extension with a personality-filled renovation, behind a vibrant pink door!
Christina Karras

Creative People

Landscape Studio Ayus Botanical On Creating Calming + Enduring Gardens

The husband-and-wife team of Ayus Botanical share the thoughtful processes behind their lush residential and commercial projects!
Christina Karras

Shopping

8 Local Creatives Making Furniture That Doubles As Art

Meet our favourite designers and makers pushing the limits of traditional furniture with their sculptural and striking pieces!
Christina Karras

Studio Visit

Kelly Thompson’s Playful Preston Showroom Clashes Colour In The Best Way

The clever creative behind online store, Makers’ Mrkt, gives us an inside look at her fun Preston stockroom-turned-store!
Christina Karras

Architecture

The Treasure-Filled Sydney Home Of Two Global Art Collectors

House Gezellig by Studio Prineas reflects their clients’ love for modernist design principles and collection of fine art.

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life Of Costume + Production Designer, Catherine Martin

The four-time Oscar winning designer shares insights from her career working alongside husband Baz Luhrmann, and how she helped bring 'Elvis...
Christina Karras

Gardens

A Hawthorn Home Enveloped In Dreamy, Layered Gardens

This new family home is brought to life with lush gardens designed by Peachy Green – reminiscent of a flowering ‘woody meadow’!
Christina Karras

Similar Stories

Interiors

The Best Australian Interiors Announced!

The Australian Interior Design Awards 2020 winners are revealed.
Sasha Gattermayr

Design Eye

Jean-Pierre Biasol on The Modern Classic Interior

Award winning Melbourne designer Jean-Pierre Biasol shares a little of his design wisdom.

Design Eye

Kerry Phelan on The 'WOW' Factor Couch

Interior Designer Kerry Phelan of KPDO gives us the low-down on one of her favourite classic design pieces, the de Sede DS-600 sofa.

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