On the eve of our book launch we catch up with David Clark, the book’s author, to discuss with him his collaboration with Hare + Klein on ‘Texture, Colour, Comfort’ and glean his perspective on all things design.
What prompted you to be involved with the Hare + Klein book? Meryl asked me, basically. I met Meryl when she first came to Australia. I’ve always respected her attitude to design, and I’ve always liked her, which is important for a project like this.
How would you describe the book? The first thing we did was go through the images and make sure we had enough material for a good book. Luckily Meryl had been diligent about photographing the studio’s work over the years. Photographer Jenni Hare had shot many projects, and other photographers like Nick Watt and Anson Smart had recorded work too. It’s primarily a picture book with many pages of what we hope are inspiring images for readers. Overall I think it tells a sophisticated story of Australian Design. Art Director Gemma Williams added in layers and textures, like inspiration boxes, sketches, mood boards and textiles that make the book feel friendly, and help to explain the sometimes opaque process of interior design.
Can you describe your personal aesthetic? It’s only beginning to emerge. I spent many years as a magazine editor and for me it was very important to be stylistically agnostic. To be a good editor I had to appreciate and understand many different styles, tastes and creative expressions. I’m a great fan of Axel Vervoordt’s work – and Ilse Crawford’s. Both have an aesthetic that I love. I would like to say that my personal taste is for an emotional and textured minimalism, but I seem to have too much stuff for that. I’m a great lover textiles.
How has Australian design evolved over the past 15 years? Well you would hope it’s become more sophisticated and I think it has. I think the biggest change that I’ve seen is that people have become more adventurous, with colour and texture for instance. They are more prepared to take a risk where once there was a great deal of timidity and uniformity in Australian design. We’ve also really embraced living outdoors which is our great design advantage in this part of the world.
Does Australian design need support from the government and/or private sectors – to what end? Absolutely it does. Governments here have very little comprehension of the power of design to transform a culture and an economy. Italy and Britain come to mind as two nations that really have supported their design cultures, and there are many others. Enlightened thinking is needed in all sectors though. Quite simply, design has the power to transform society.
What do you think are the important considerations in residential interiors? Emotion. Our interiors are the sensual manifestation of our aesthetic selves. You’ve got to feel good in them. They have to feel human. Also, I like to remember the three rules of architecture from Vitruvius – Commodity, Firmness and Delight – which for me means that it has to fit, it has to work and it has to be beautiful.