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Can Humble Gestures Create Great Change?

For Nest Architecture’s Emilio Fuscaldo the transformative power of deslgn often lies in small gestures prompted by searching questions.


November 25th, 2016


James Geer

Ten years ago Fuscaldo started Nest Architecture, joined a year later by Imogen Pullar, now senior architect on a deliberately small team. Fashion designer Lisa Gorman was an early client and has become an ongoing collaborator on more than dozen store fitouts and concessions across the country, and a widely lauded container ship pop up conceived as much as “a talking point about sustainability” as a retail outlet. She’s taught him plenty about interior detailing, particularly colour, composition and working with fabrics. He’s given her space that powerfully reflects her talents. “I went to one of her stores in Brisbane and didn’t really get a great sense of (her),” Fuscaldo recalls.

Another ongoing collaboration – with the around 400 students and staff at Melbourne University’s prestigious residential hall Ormond College – has shown Fuscaldo the power of contemporary design to democratise a conservative, hierarchical institution one gesture at a time. He’s amazed by the openness and engagement of students and philosophical about the resistance of some staff. “In any institution there’s a hierarchy,” he says. “If you change something, are you changing their status? That’s massive. That’s why it’s so much fun to be an architect. These are huge philosophical questions.”

Read more in issue #67 of Indesign magazine.
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