Principal Architect at NH Architecture, we sat down with Astrid to find our more about the work she does
Why did you decide to get into interior design and architecture?
I grew up in a family of science academics and vigorous discussions to all things science. In choosing a career path at secondary school I wanted to escape science and seek out an alternative profession. Interior Design at RMIT was outside the traditional university path at the time and far from Science. After several years working with some of the early and most influential interior design firms established in Melbourne i returned to study architecture at RMIT University.
How did you develop your personal style?
Through the influences of living overseas from an early age in England, America and Europe. We travelled back and forth between Australia and overseas and this experience gave me an insight into different ways of living and adapting to change.
Who has inspired your style?
My Family have a big influence on my style, particularly my passion for detail that interior design demands. I have fond memories of my German grandmother who was a sensational cook and dressmaker with an eye for detail and quality whilst the other a sensational knitter, home economics teacher and national croquet player with a killer instinct on the playing field!
What gets you through the day?
Every Interior brief is a challenge looking for a solution. There is huge satisfaction in solving problems in collaboration with colleagues and clients.
Are you a tea or coffee person?
What is your favourite brand at the moment?
Not one... Experimentation or the outcome of new ways of thinking interests me more than a particular brand.
Hailing from Melbourne, what is your favourite place to eat?
My neighbourhood cafes in Carlton.
What product excited you the most recently?
The new LEAN IN by Materia challenges the way we traditionally move and interact and suggests new ways of working and meeting particularly in a studio or office environment like ours. Anything that has the potential to promote communication and streamline meetings, making them more productive and enjoyable, is a big plus for me.
What colour is your favourite to work with at the moment?
Neutral..If that’s not too boring!
What do you think is the biggest challenge in the design industry today, and (if relevant) how do you overcome this issue?
So much choice. It can be challenging to narrow the options available at any one time and identify and focus on your own strengths within the practise of architecture.
What is the greatest thing you’ve learnt through your career?
Its cliché... but enjoy the moment and plan for adventure.
What methodologies, systems or routines do you have in place to make sure you are productive everyday?
I try to keep internal email to a minimum and endeavour to talk directly to colleagues and clients. Communication is the key to a more enjoyable and productive day. Dark chocolate at 3pm also helps.
What is the achievement you’re most proud of?
We were fortunate that our first home in Carlton was awarded The Royal Australian Institute of Architects highest award. The Robin Boyd Residential Building Award. It was a proud moment to be acknowledged by your peers for setting new benchmarks in residential design. As a family we’ve developed and designed our own homes over the course of 26 years, including extended family in the conversation. We’ve adapted and reviewed to suit our changing needs. And we still all talk!
Also a number of the large public building projects i have been involved in at NH Architecture have been acknowledged in the Architectural Awards program and include The Melbourne Convention Centre and Margaret Court Arena at Melbourne Park.
If you could give one piece of advice to young female designers, what would it be?
Seek out female mentors outside of the profession. They will keep you sane.