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Iain Halliday | Axolotl Luminaries

Each quarter Axolotl will put a series of questions to an industry 'luminary' to get an insight into both their talent and their feel for the future. This issue we introduce Iain Halliday from Burley Katon Halliday. This Sydney based design firm needs no introduction with its work credited with redefining Sydney’s inner city landscape.

What keeps you inspired?

Travel, magazines, books, movies and good clients. 

What project do you consider to be your greatest achievement so far?

It is hard to pick the 'greatest'. Favourites include:

  • Republic
  • Darley Street Thai
  • Bartlett Pennington House
  • Xavier Salon 1
  • Reynolds Apartment
  • Benny Yacht 

Have you ever refused to comply with a client request or design? If so, why? 

Yes but the reasons would be too complex to explain in this piece of writing, leaving us looking inflexible - a clichéd criticism that people level at architects and designers.

Are there any architects whose work encapsulates your own ideals?

There are many and their work is diverse like ours. Some architects we are particularly inspired by are:

  • Mies van der Rohe
  • Josef Hoffmann
  • Richard Neutra
  • Eero Saarinen

Did/do you have a mentor? 

Yes, George Freedman and David Katon.

Which Australian building excites you the most?

The Opera House; it is truly extraordinary still.

What do you see as key trends over the next couple of years in domestic or commercial design?

  • Increased use of moulded forms in materials such as acrylics and upholstery.
  • Increased use of strong and 'off beat' colours and finishes, and mixes of old + new furniture.
  • A greater cross-over between 'home' and 'work' environments as more people work from home and look for comfort in their work interiors combined with precision in their working interiors.

Which trend in architecture or design are you totally over?

'Chicken coop' architecture where many corrugated roof pavilions collide like a train accident.

Do you see a lot of development in Sydney over the next year or so?

Yes, I hope more and more and better and better.