Yes, you heard right, Ben Edwards has established a new practice and it’s everything we hoped it would be.
January 27th, 2017
It may have come as a surprise to many when Melbourne-based architect Ben Edwards announced his departure from Edwards Moore late last year. After all, the practice he established in 2009 with Juliet Moore is well regarded for its dynamic temporary and built projects, thanks in no small part to the unflinching creativity and invention of its co-founders. But anyone looking for salacious gossip needn’t bother. Edwards simply felt the time was right to branch out and set up his own new practice, the aptly named Studio Edwards, currently located in Fitzroy.
The move was solely motivated by his desire to explore new ways of working as a designer. “For me, it’s not just about a top-down way of thinking about design; it’s about connection, bringing people together and identifying alternative ways to make projects happen. What’s important is having more of an entrepreneurial way of thinking in regards to these projects, where it’s not necessarily just about having an end client,” Edwards explains.
His approach is sure to disrupt the industry’s notion of traditional roles for designers and architects, which makes for an exciting proposition. Edwards is open to new collaborations and is currently bringing together a number of Australian designers and brands to further develop his Microluxe short-stay accommodation concept, where guests enjoy a design experience during their stay and potentially beyond, with all items in the apartments for sale following check-out.
As Edwards reflects, “A culture of convergence brings these designers and brands together to create something that has market value. It’s not just about designing an interior’s fit-out, it’s about designing for business as well.” As an extension, he’s began working with designers such as Ross Didier to investigate how they can position their brand and market themselves to have greater commercial presence. It’s an unconventional route for an architect to take, however it merely affirms Edwards’ holistic design ethos and embrace of cross-disciplinary practice.
He’s also working on a couple of residential projects – one on a precarious riverfront site and the other that looks at maximising space in an existing dwelling. Yet so much of what defines Studio Edwards as an agile new model for working is ‘ideas incubation’ and the commitment of Edwards to keep questioning, keep investigating and keep learning. It’s why he places so much importance on being aware of what’s happening outside his four walls; being part of a larger network that includes designers, as well as individuals and brands working within the discovery, innovation and technology sectors. And this makes him excited about the future of Australian design and its designers: “The days of lamenting how we don’t have any work are over – it’s out there, ready to be explored and it’s up to us to make it happen.”
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