Australian Interior Design Awards: Our Top Choices

Edsall St by Ritz & Ghougassian. Photography by Tom Blachford.

This year’s winners impressed with their commitment to a clear design identity combined with respect for an interior’s purpose, creating incredible spaces we’d all like to spend time in.
Now in their 16th year, the Australian Interior Design Awards recognise the best of the year’s design projects and the industry’s most innovative practitioners across 14 categories, including Interior Design Impact, Sustainability Advancement, Emerging Interior Design Practice and Retail Design.
Under the aegis of the Design Institute of Australia, the awards provide a fascinating insight into the work of our most innovative and cutting-edge interior designers.
And while choosing favourites from that incredible array of work is difficult, these four projects were our stand-outs.

Premier Award for Australian Interior Design

Usfin Atelier by George Livissianis
At first glance, it looks like a series of sleek refrigerators in a cool, almost laboratory-like space… but George Livissianis’s Usfin Atelier is, in fact, a hair salon, housed within the old Taubmans factory in St Peters in Sydney’s inner west. Not any old hair salon, mind you, but a “genderless hair and beauty salon, as well as an event and exhibition space”, according to the website. The jury loved Livissianis’s spare-upon-spare creation: “There’s an absolute rigour to the scheme, but it also has a flexibility that softens any hint of rigidity that would make it appear intimidating … The jury was particularly impressed by the designer’s commitment to a clear, singular idea and to the purity of execution.”

Residential Design (joint winner)

Edsall Street by Ritz & Ghougassian

Edsall St by Ritz & Ghougassian.

This home in Melbourne’s Malvern has already received lashings of praise, and it’s little wonder that architect Gilad Ritz and interior architect Jean-Paul Ghougassian received this prestigious nod for transforming a Victorian cottage into a modernist oasis. Wrapped in white masonry blocks (GB Masonry by Austral) that also form the interior walls, with cement floors and blackbutt timber dominating, Edsall Street has, according to the award jury, an “exquisitely resolved interior with a sense of simplicity and understated yet timeless material execution that highlights the space’s beautiful lines and light”.

Emerging Interior Design Practice

Pierce Widera
This nascent Melbourne practice, established in 2017 by Amy Pierce and Nat Widera, was recognised for its work across four eating and drinking hotspots in their hometown, including Shinbashi restaurant and Bicycle Thieves cafe. While each of the establishments has its own distinct vibe and ambience, the jury acknowledged the “clarity of thought and expression that’s consistent across all projects … Their creative approach is distinct and they have a clear design identity, articulated via exciting concepts and a strong aesthetic”.

Residential Decoration

Under the Tree by Arent & Pyke

Under The Tree by Arent & Pyke.

There’s a wonderful earthy sophistication to the rear extension of this nothing-special-from-the-outside weatherboard cottage in Sydney’s Annandale. The light-filled extension is a formidably interesting combination of the very robust – think sandstock bricks, bagged blockwork and polished concrete – and the very earthy, including beautifully curated objets d’art, large-scale paintings and slashes of earthy green (including a large fig tree) and ochre. The jury was more than impressed: “Every corner of every room displays a layering of lush colours and textures and the connection to the garden and natural light is what makes the interior so striking … the project is not generic – it’s a highly personalised interior that’s a unique expression of both the client and designers.”
See all of the 2019 Australian Interior Design Awards winners here.

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