Holly Board and Pete Grove BoardGrove Architects Interview by Elizabeth Campbell
Can we start with a little bit of background, (both you and Pete) and why you chose to start your own studio in Melbourne? Pete and I met in London in 2007, while working for the studio, Duggan Morris Architects. It was a really inspiring and supportive place to work as critical thinking, design exploration and originality was nurtured and embraced. I moved back to Melbourne, my hometown, in 2012 and Pete followed in 2013. We worked for local design practices and academic institutions for a few years before deciding to test our learnings and experiences from our time at Duggan Morris. After many months of weekend work, we formally established our studio in 2016. How did you procure your first project? It was the week before Christmas, and we had a very good friend of ours visiting us from London. We took him on a roadtrip, down the Great Ocean Road, staying overnight at Wye River. The following day our plan was to camp at Lake Elisabeth in the Otways, but there was a reluctance from the English side of the team, outdoor dunnies and the fear of snakes were too much. We ended up driving
for hours and hours trying to find somewhere less scary to camp. We ended up in Clunes at nightfall. Given the journey and anxiety from the Brits around the possibility of camping in wild places there was a true sense of celebration when we had pitched our tent. We quickly drank through the bottles of wine we had in the car and went in search of more booze. But for anyone who knows Clunes, on a Monday night it is as dead as a doornail. However, off in the distance we could hear thumping music and the boys decided wherever there is dance music there would have to be booze. So, we went searching. Our search lead us to an abandoned goldrush-era hotel, the Club Hotel, where Pete and Mark proceeded to try and break into the party. The owner caught them in the act of trying to squeeze their way through some vertical fencing and after an awkward moment and some pleading for us to be allowed to join their staff Christmas party they brought us out champagne and we stayed drinking and talking on the pavement until the wee hours. Given the derelict appearance of the hotel I asked them in a somewhat hazy state if they needed an architect or interior designer. This client, our first, is still one of our clients today.
Architecture of place
What is the process of a project from concept to completion? In all your projects: architecture, furniture and imaginings? We use contextual references or objects to begin. The design exploration typically involves many models and sketches of opportunities. At times we develop narratives to help us explore the experiences and possibilities of spaces. We encourage clients to write briefs which talk about the type of activities or experiences they imagine helping inform more personal outcomes. We are big believers that if you give a project enough explorative time, unexpected and unique outcomes can be uncovered. We find, for us, that it's critical to have a core idea that guides the project so that as you are documenting, detailing or constructing, decisions about the direction of a detail or design can be easily determined. →
→ Right NGV Design Store pop-up for KAWS exhibition by BoardGrove Architects Photo by Haydn Cattach Boon Wurrung and Woi Wurrung Countries