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Architects and Interior Designers Phillip Mathieson and Harlan Redgen together head up Redgen Mathieson, one of Australia’s leading Design Firms offering turn key properties, focusing on minimal sophisticated luxury.We spoke exclusively with the duo.




-What made you decide to become an Architect and Designer?


PM: I have an Uncle who is an architect and I grew up in a house he designed. I have early memories of visiting a building in Melbourne that he designed. A Brutalist building entirely clad in bluestone, it opened my eyes to the world of architecture and design from a young age.


HR: From a young age I have always wanted to be an Architect, I don’t think there was ever any question about it. I can’t really remember wanting to do anything else, and if it had, I’m sure it would have been design related.



-What are you currently inspired by?


PM: I am inspired by anything of quality and longevity. Although our work is very modern my inspiration can come from diverse interests such as Baroque architecture to the manipulation of proportion, to the play of light and shade.


HR: I am inspired by spaces which have a sense of calm and clarity, and spatial qualities that are meaningful and not based on fads and fashions. Personally I don’t enjoy overstated design that is singing out for attention at every corner, detail or feature. It becomes like white noise in the end, and just ends in visual fatigue. I like spaces that have interest and are dynamic as a result of the space itself, and that are easy and relaxing to be in. I enjoy fewer elements and details in a space, that are of a higher quality and have thoughtful detailing. I am not interested in the latest colours or finishes, so for me brazen ‘look at me’ Architecture or Interiors, are insecure and often pretentious. I am inspired by people who I think are talented in their fields. Most of these are from the past where architecture, interiors, furniture and landscape all co-existed in harmony as a unified environment. That’s projects like Mies van de Rohe’s Barcelona Pavillion, and John Pawson’s Nuendorf house.


I’m inspired by artists such as Carl Andre, Donald Judd and Cy Twombly.



-What projects are you currently working on?


PM: We always have an interesting mix of projects that we work on at anyone time. Currently under construction in Canberra is a large house set within extensive landscaping on a 5000m2 site. In Sydney, construction is about to commence on three apartments in Kirribilli overlooking Circular Quay and the Opera House. We have just finished conceptual design work for two new houses in Mosman, one with views across Chinaman’s Beach to the heads of Sydney Harbour. It’s always exciting to be working on new projects.


HR: We are very fortunate in that we tend to work on projects with forward thinking clients, who luckily also tend to own great sites on which to build.



-What would you say the fundamentals of a Redgen Mathieson designed residence consist of?


PM: It is important to us, that each of our projects capture a sense of purity and timelessness. Underlying all our projects is a clear planning rigour and a holistic approach to the architecture and interior. Our architecture focuses on the sensory and experiential. We are interested in the quality of space, of light and of proportion. These are the elements that enhance the lives of our clients.


HR: These days there is a tendency for someone to have their Architect, then interior designer, then their decorator, and then their landscape architect, which usually results in an incoherent mess. In our work we take a holistic approach to the entire project, encompassing architecture, interior design, furniture and landscape design. 



-Where is your all time favourite destination?


PM: I find great inspiration in Paris. Architecture, Fashion, Culture, Art and History. It is a city of unending perspectives; the gardens with their avenues of clipped trees, the colonnades of the Palais Royale or Place des Vosges. Exhilarating boulevards and the elegant smaller scaled spaces such as Place des Victoires. I love the city’s honey coloured stone.


HR: There are too many to pick from, but if I was pushed, it would probably be Spain, in particular Barcelona. 



-Where to next?


PM: We’re excited to be working on designs for a house in Greece overlooking the Ionian Sea, so I’m planning a mid year trip to Greece for a site visit.  


HR: This year I have a lot of friends turning 40 so the next destination is Ibiza for a week in July for a friends 40th birthday.



-How would you define luxury?


PM: Luxury to me is experiential, it is about how something makes you feel. It is bringing a sensory, spiritual element to daily life.


HR: I don’t believe you have to cover everything in gold for it to be luxurious. I believe in quiet luxury. I think the term and the idea of luxury has been hijacked to become something it is not. What many believe to be luxury, is now mass market. For me true luxury is having confidence to know what luxury is for you, and not simply go out and buy someone else’s idea of luxury. You see a lot of design that is trying really hard to have a ‘luxury’ look, but if the motivation is inauthentic it just ends up as something superficial, which to me is the opposite of luxury. 

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