Nicole Larkin is a young Australian designer establishing a career in architecture and the arts and winning well-deserved awards and scholarships as she goes.
July 7th, 2017
Nicole Larkin, designer, furniture, architecture, installation, emerging, Sydney, up and coming
Nicole Larkin is a young Australian designer balancing two parallel career paths in architecture and the arts with award-winning success. Working on a range of projects, from hospitality and residential to installations, furniture and product design, Nicole takes a reductive approach to her design process, identifying the core idea of the concept that will inform the final outcome.
Nicole graduated from University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Design in Architecture and Master of Architecture, and has since worked at Tzannes while also developing her own body of work. In both architecture and design, Nicole’s design philosophy and process is based on understanding the essence of the design. “If you can get to the end of a project and have one simple idea that is consistent the whole way through, then it’s a strong idea and probably a good one,” Nicole says.
Outside of Tzannes, Nicole is an artist-in-residence at 107 Projects in Redfern where one of her ongoing projects is exploring what can be achieved with birch plywood through digital fabrication. She started experimenting with the concept in her final year at university and has since produced a series of sculptures and working prototypes distinctive for their conical form. “Birch plywood is essentially an industrial material used in the construction industry, but it has a softness and naturalness despite it being strong and supple,” explains Nicole.
Nicole created the birch plywood installation Dynamics in Impermanence for Sculpture by the Sea 2016, for which she was a Clitheroe Foundation Emerging Sculptor Mentorship recipient and recent winner of the Good Design Young Australian Design Award for Sustainability. Positioned on the Tamarama headland, the installation offered two distinct experiences that responded to ideas of authenticity and reproducibility. From the outside, the installation was to be photographed; from the interior, it was to be more intimately engaged with. “It’s a calm, slow process, whereas photography is a quick cinematic seductive image,” Nicole says.
Fabricating the birch plywood pieces herself adds another dimension to Nicole’s work. By working across multiple disciplines she can experiment and test her methods on small-scale pieces to understand their viability for larger scale projects as well as closing the gap between designer and fabricator.
Nicole also received a Byera Hadley Travelling Scholarship in 2016 for which she is researching ocean pools along the NSW coast. Over the course of a year Nicole will visit more than 100 ocean pools to generate a repository of drawings, surveys and 3d models that will serve as a resource for community use.
Balancing two career paths and multiple projects, Nicole takes inspiration from stimulating environments and creative people, including listening to podcasts such as The Great Discontent. “I am strong believer in what you put in is what you generate back and I try hard to put myself in environments or expose myself to different ideas. It’s a process of osmosis and it comes out in your work without knowing it,” Nicole says.
The internet never sleeps! Here's the stuff you might have missed