The Melbourne-based interior architect is in the midst of moving into a brand new studio (albeit only a few streets away from his current residence). Here, we get one of the first looks at the new digs.
David launched Flack Studio in 2014 and in the short time since he has transitioned from newcomer to an in-demand player in Australia’s design industry. The practice itself has also evolved from just David to a team of eight who recently moved into a new Fitzroy studio space designed in-house. The new space embraces Flack Studio’s hallmarks: it’s got flair, character and considered restraint but also does not take itself too seriously, it’s warm, inviting and a place with an open door policy, everyone is welcome. Working across domestic, commercial, retail and hospitality projects, Flack Studio creates spaces you want to move straight into and never leave, and after all that is the challenge of an interior architect: creating a room of one’s own.
Tell us a little bit about yourself – where did you grow up and what path led you to study interior design?
I grew up in country Victoria with a predominately sporting family. I always loved creating spaces, ‘nesting’ – my Dad made me a cubby, so I had my own space – it was the greatest gift he gave me, as that cubby gave me my voice and allowed me a space to be different.
What originally sparked your curiosity in the world of design and how did it leave a lasting impression on you?
Reading my mum’s design magazines for inspiration on how to decorate my cubby. My cubby was painted and rearranged on a monthly basis for years until the kids at school said I was too old to play in it.
You cut your teeth at KPDO (Kerry Phelan Design Office) and then worked for other local interior designers before going out on your own in 2014. How important were these experiences in nurturing your personal design sensibility and motivating you to start Flack Studio?
My experience at KPDO was instrumental to my work ethic and respect for design. I never intended to start my studio, it actually happened organically with clients calling me from referrals from friends. Having my own studio seemed impossible until one day I had one. I’m still humbled by these opportunities.
Flack Studio has emerged from newcomer to established player in Australia’s interior design and architectural scene in a few short years, what do you think it is about your approach to design that has left this indelible mark in the industry?
Delivering an impeccably detailed, finely crafted and functional product is a given at Flack Studio, I think what makes Flack Studio different is our execution and the importance of having fun. Taking ourselves too seriously undermines the creation of a warm and inviting space.
How would you describe Flack Studio in one sentence?
My favourite quote is from Annemarie Kieley from Vogue Living Australia ‘Think equal parts Gio Ponti and Vincent Van Duysen with a dash of Dame Edna and you have the Flack brand of slightly nostalgic modernism.’
What has been one of your favourite projects the studio has recently worked on?
We just completed a beautiful family home in Malvern. We have been working on this house for two years and I love the end product as much as I do the clients
What has been your absolute proudest moment of running your own business to date?
Watching my team succeed, I called the business Flack Studio so it could represent all my designers. We recently had multiple nominations across three awards programs and that was a thrill. It’s also a great moment when we hand over the keys to a Flack Studio designed home.
What is the biggest design myth you’ve come across?
Rules. There are no rules to crafting a space. There is a method and Flack Studio has strict design principles but these are usually about challenging rules and myths around design.
A typical day at work at Flack Studio involves…
Construction site visits start for all team members from 7am, we supply breakfast most days when the team all arrive into the studio. The Sonos gets turned up and regardless of a deadline, our studio is always laughing and talking design. Our clients visit regularly, so we have a rotating door of new stories and design inspiration.
Flack Studio recently moved offices to a new space design by the team. Can you tell us a little bit about this new site and the story behind it?
Our new space was custom designed for our staff and clients, we wanted a space that people enjoyed being in, our second home. It had to be warm and fun! We push our clients with colour and materiality, so the studio was designed with that in mind. When you enter Flack Studio, you know we will push you past your comfort zone of white.
What is something Flack Studio supports?
Flack Studio has recently supported a charity called Cubbies in Fitzroy, it is a safe space for predominately asylum seeker children from the neighbouring housing estates. They have recently lost funding and have had to close a few days due to these budget cuts. We have committed to raise $40,000 to re-open Wednesdays, so far we have raised $17,000 – people can find more information about cubbies and how to support them on the Flack Studio website.
The two unofficial/very official mascots of Flack Studio are your spoodles Frank and Alfred. Can you tell us how they contribute to office life, are they in charge of the office playlist?
Frank and Alfred set the tone at Flack studio. Work hard, play hard! They are also the unofficial paper shredders, taking paper out of the office bins and shredding it throughout the studio, they love doing this an hour after our cleaner leaves! Seriously it wouldn’t be Flack Studio without these two, they are in every meeting and greet every visitor with Flack Studio energy!