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Pattern Studio is in the groove

Behind the high fantasy and lighthearted whimsy of Pattern Studio’s work lies a deep consideration for functionality and detailing. Just two years into business, this unique, layered approach has garnered the studio international acclaim with an Honourable Mention at the INDE.Awards 2018.

Lily Goodwin and Josh Cain are partners in life but professionally, the pair makes up Pattern Studio, a two-year-old design practice based in Byron Bay. Goodwin studied interior architecture in Perth before landing a job at HASSELL, while Cain started out by helping build houses for friends and family before also working there too.

“That was more or less my training,” he says. “I think it helped me more than a degree because it made me hungry to learn, progress and improve – I felt I had to earn every opportunity.” After deciding to go out on their own, Goodwin and Cain began Pattern Studio. “We craved something different, a bespoke design approach,” Cain explains.

The sensibilities of the ‘bespoke’ practice they have carefully constructed is evident in their growing portfolio. From the refined, blissed-out peachy interiors for The Daily Edited’s flagships in Melbourne and Sydney, to the diverse and eclectic guest rooms of The Collectionist hotel in Camperdown, Sydney, the appeal of Pattern Studio is obvious – the interiors are certainly ‘Instaworthy’.

Yet, on closer consideration, it is clear that Goodwin and Cain offer more than a slick veneer. A hint of this is evident in the neon ‘I hope this looks good online’ sign that adorns the wall of the micro-bar in The Collectionist, a space Goodwin and Cain designed along with nine guest rooms. The glowing sentence speaks directly to the viewer, daring you to take the picture while, at the same time, gently teasing that very desire. On another level, it offers a thoughtful reflection on issues facing design and architecture today.

Goodwin and Cain are all too aware of the significance of their designs beyond their life on the screen. “Functionality isn’t necessarily something that shines through when you’re looking at a photo of an interior,” says Goodwin. “The fact that a space is much more likely to be seen as an image, than experienced in person, is a little problematic for our profession; a disproportionate emphasis can be placed on aesthetics while other factors that influence how a space feels can fall to the wayside.”

In the rooms created for The Collectionist, Pattern Studio was driven by the importance of the ‘human experience’. The project offered a number of challenges from the bones of the pre-existing building to the creation of individualised rooms. By focusing on light and materiality, the pair developed a framework that allowed for coherency and quirks. According to Goodwin, it was a fine line to toe. “We took care to conjure the right amount of surprise without getting too theme-y or crossing over into the realm of kitsch. We explored ways to create atmosphere and mood using colour and texture,” she says.

Perhaps it is a perspective gained from their Byron base – away from the hustle and bustle of city life – but both Goodwin and Cain exude a clear vision for future projects. There is, no doubt, a bigger picture in their minds, one where meaningful work that creates a lasting impact takes centre stage. “The work that I think we can do, we haven’t had the opportunity to do yet,” says Cain.

Expressing a passion for projects with more of an influence on society, Goodwin lists everything from aged care to secular religious architecture, to a collaboration with MONA’s eccentric David Walsh as desirable. “Good projects for good people for good reasons,” says Cain. “It’s about working with clients who really believe in doing something different for people.”

Portrait photography by Alisha Tinsley. The Collectionist photography by Terence Chin.

This interview originally appeared in issue #75 of Indesign magazine, the ‘Health & Wellbeing’ issue. Pattern Studio also received an Honourable Mention in the 2018 INDE.Awards – enter now to put your work on the stage across the Indo-Pacific.

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