Aileen Sage

As architects, we believe in the transformative potential of good design.

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WHICH PROJECT MADE YOU HAPPIEST?

It was wonderful to watch visitors in Venice interacting with The Pool and smiling at the stories told in the space by the voices that shifted around from each speaker in the room. Especially after the craziness of the opening days. We always said we wanted to design an exhibition that both our kids (all under 6) and our parents (aged in their 60s and 70s) would appreciate along with our colleagues and it was great to see them all enjoy themselves in the space and take something away from the project.

This is also a project that lives beyond just the physical construction of the space in Venice. The majority of researched ‘content’ of the exhibition is in fact available outside of the space – in the book that was published for the project and launched in Australia a few months before the opening in Venice, and the radio podcasts available through ABC Radio National online. This approach has enabled us to enjoy its appreciation by a very broad spectrum of the public from as much outside of the architectural profession as within. The overwhelming response of joy, generosity and raw emotion we have received to this project – to the stories and collected imagery, as well as to the space itself – has been extremely rewarding.

‘As architects, we believe in the transformative potential of good design. Our projects are well researched, rigorous and sensitive to site and context. We aim for a timeless and durable architecture that is also playful and original in conception. We consider our approach as a form of storytelling – a way of framing a client’s brief and ambitions whilst at the same time responding to broader issues, be they social, environmental or material.

For us, architecture is not just visual. We also care about how things sound, smell and feel – the overall qualities of a space and the impact this might have on your experience of it at different times of the day, week or year.’ – Isabelle Toland and Amelia Holliday

 

WHICH ARCHITECT OR PERSON DO YOU ADMIRE AS AN INSPIRATION?

Our points of reference and inspiration are expansive and diverse – from the local to foreign, from current as well as the past and from the hyper-designed to the super-mundane. We find inspiration everywhere in our everyday lives and from the people around us. We are inspired by those that think outside of the expected to produce engaging works.

WHAT IS THE QUALITY YOU MOST ADMIRE IN A CLIENT?

Clear communication and a receptiveness to be challenged.

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER THE MOST UNDERRATED THING THAT ARCHITECTS DO?

Listen.

We then interpret the voices of many into a coherent design response to brief, site and user that contributes positively to our built environment.

NAME ONE ARCHITECTURAL DESTINATION THAT NON ARCHITECTS SHOULD SEE?

The 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale

TELL US ONE (SECRET) THING ABOUT HOW YOU DESIGN?

We talk. Over coffee, over lunch, over email, by text and via Instagram. We are always communicating and our design practice is always one in dialogue with each other, as well as with our collaborators and our clients.

WE HAVE AN IMAGE OF YOUR PROJECT, ‘THE POOL’, THE AUSTRALIAN EXHIBITION FOR THE 2016 VENICE BIENNALE. WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS PROJECT THAT MAKES IT SPECIAL AND WHAT ARE SOME OF ITS HIDDEN QUALITIES?

The Pool is a piece of Australian architecture in Venice sitting in dialogue with the new Australian Pavilion which houses it – designed by Denton Corker Marshall and opened for the 2015 Venice Art Biennale.

It’s a deceptively simple space but one that invites you in – The more you linger the more you will uncover as it is embedded with specific cultural references and associations. It is a space that can be appreciated on many levels – from the visitors who sit and watch the patterns of light on the ceiling, to those who submerge their feet, to those that listen to each of the stories in the space or read the newspaper that captures many of the stories from our research in a chair by the pool.

What inspires you, what gives you inspiration to do better?

We are inspired by the myriad of references – visual and cultural we have at our disposal. We are inundated with beautiful images everyday of people doing remarkable work, but we are equally inspired by the world directly around us – from the lanes behind our studio, to the playgrounds and parks where we take our children. We are inspired by the generosity and thoughtfulness of other creative people around us who we have known for years or met only recently. And importantly we inspire and challenge each other on a daily basis to collectively do more and do better.

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT?

Still being in business after 3 years!

WE HAVE AN IMAGE OF YOUR PROJECT, ‘THE POOL’, THE AUSTRALIAN EXHIBITION FOR THE 2016 VENICE BIENNALE. WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS PROJECT THAT MAKES IT SPECIAL AND WHAT ARE SOME OF ITS HIDDEN QUALITIES?

The Pool is a piece of Australian architecture in Venice sitting in dialogue with the new Australian Pavilion which houses it – designed by Denton Corker Marshall and opened for the 2015 Venice Art Biennale.

 


 

For further information on Aileen Sage and their projects, please visit:

Website: www.aileensage.com

Venice Biennale Exhibition Podcasts: www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/pocketdocs/features/the-pool

Purchase ‘The Pool’ book: http://www.manic.com.au/Pool-The-Architecture-Culture-and-Identity-in-Australia

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