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Nicholas Gurney | Small but perfectly formed

Nicholas Gurney | Small but perfectly formed


Nicholas Gurney is shortlisted in Zenith’s Emerging Designer category at the 2017 IDEA Awards. The winners will be announced at the exclusive Gala Party on 24 November at Meat Market, Melbourne.

Nicholas Gurney was shortlisted for this year’s award on the strength of his redesign of a 27-square metre studio apartment. With a budget of less than $40,000 and a four-week construction window, the brief was for a flexible canvas for daily living. The redesign proved an exercise in modest, low cost, good quality design.

We spoke to Nicholas about his career in design.


Australian Design Review: Can you discuss the process behind the 5S apartment you entered in this year’s award?

Nicholas Gurney: My clients, for whom this would be their first home, were interested in minimalism and order. In response, we integrated the principles of the Japanese 5S methodology into the design of the space as a tool to help maintain a feeling of space and order within the micro-apartment.


ADR: What has been your proudest achievement in your career to date?

NG: Prospering in a niche

ADR: What excites or frustrates you about the current state of Australian design?

NG: I’m enthused by the thirst for design from the public and the ever-increasing interest in reducing one’s footprint. I’m also excited by fellow designers who advocate quality over quantity. I’m frustrated by sameness of style.


ADR: Where do you turn for inspiration, and who in your industry inspires you?

NG: Generally speaking, I’m inspired by opportunity. Travel is great but the high tends to wear off quickly. I obtain inspiration in my every day – mixing with clients, being enveloped in constraints and nurturing concepts. I’m inspired by designers as entrepreneurs and particularly those who mix commissions with speculation.

ADR: Can you offer us an insight into some of the challenges and highlights of establishing a practice?

NG: In my practice, the challenges and highlights are in relatively equal measure. Balancing quality and output and a squeeze on time for the re-visiting and nurturing of ideas is a constant challenge. The highlight is most definitely when your work is understood and appreciated.

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