It hasn’t taken Sydney-based architectural firm Those Architects long to start collecting awards. Even though Benjamin Mitchell and Simon Addinall joined forces in 2012 the duo have already won the 2014 Australian Interior Design Award for Workplace Design, as well as the 2014 Australian Timber Design Award for Commercial Interior Fitout. The same project, a collaboration with End of Work, has been shortlisted for an IDEA 2014 too (winners to be announced 21 November). But the brief wasn’t without its challenges. A heritage listing for the former Metcalfe Bond Store in The Rocks, Sydney, meant that the designers weren’t able to mechanically fix into or change any of the fabric of the building. The solution was to create a fitout that in some ways mirrored the way the technology company operates - via a “cloud”. Everything was designed to float within the space - to occupy for the medium-term and be able to relocate with minimum fuss. What started out as well-thought-out design with a strong focus on the client’s needs, is now gaining recognition within the broader design community. Ben shares a little more of the back story to Those Architects.
Which five words best describe you? Bad dancer but die trying.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I actually started my career in the Royal Australian Navy serving aboard the guided missile frigate HMAS Melbourne. It set me up with some very valuable tools as I transitioned into my architecture studies at Sydney University. After studying for six years I established my own firm which recently became Those Architects when I amalgamated with my long-term friend and colleague Simon Addinall. Our studio-based practice is underpinned by collaboration and open dialogue in pursuit of quality design outcomes.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? I can think of three. Work hard, maintain your integrity and follow your instincts.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Receiving several major awards for the first project completed by the office is my proudest career achievement to date.
What’s been your best decision? To pursue a career in architecture against all the advice I was given.
Who inspires you? Many people. My partner Diana inspires me to be the best man I can be. My kids inspire me to enjoy every moment of this short life. My parents inspire me to live life by your own rules and my brother inspires me to take on a challenge when one presents itself. I’ve also got many talented friends who inspire me on a daily basis.
What are you passionate about? Life. Just so many reasons to get out of bed each day. In particular I’m passionate about rigorously pursuing my architecture career and making a meaningful contribution to the built environment both here in Australia and abroad.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Sir David Attenborough. He has an acute awareness of the natural world and our place within it.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? I’d really like to be in a position one day to act as my own client.
What are you reading? Papillon by Henri Charrière.
images courtesy of those architects; photography brett boardman