A TALK WITH ROBSON RAK
Photography by Christine Francis
Moved by the desire of bringing a unique and personalised holistic approach into the interior architecture field, Australian designers Kathryn Robson and Chris Rak founded their own firm in 2002. During our meeting, the couple told us about their passion for designing homes, which usually leads to create intimate relationships with clients and understand the household dynamics, their creative vision and how they deal with sustainability related issues.
How did you get passionate about architecture?
Kathryn: I sort of fell into architecture and became very passionate about it after I commenced my studies. I now love it more and more every day, and certainly after every completed project.
Chris: I came to study interior architecture after a career in the fine arts as a sculptor.
I wanted to move beyond the constraints of sculpting an object into the freedom to sculpt spaces and environments.
How did it all start with RobsonRak? When did you realise you wanted to create your own firm?
I was working as a sole practitioner and Chris was a full time employer in a firm. We realized that by working together, we could have presented a unique and personalised approach to architecture and interior design fields. Within a holistic view, we are designing at the same time the interior of a home and its built form.
How would you define your approach to architecture?
As we predominantly design homes, we try to create architectures that appear comfortable in their own skin and seamlessly integrate into the environment. But the real end game is to create a place that nourishes the user. Our aim is to realise a sanctuary, a space where to feel secure and inspired.
How do your projects develop? What kind of relationship do you engage with your clients?
Creating homes allows to develop very intimate relationships, that involve understanding the mechanics and social structure of a family and to project the living spaces in response to this. We feel honored to be given this responsibility.
Based on your experience, how is the practice of architecture and interior design changing due to the need of personalization of the modern client?
The modern client is design and tech savvy and we need to keep our practice on top of technology, materiality and trends. He wants more control to personalize the spaces and the new technology is facilitating this through lighting, sound and environment.
How do you face the tension between sustainability and urbanization in your practice?
It’s a constant juggling act. We try to approach every decision with a sustainable ethos. It’s challenging, but we always remind ourselves and our team that it’s the only way to sustain this industry into the 21st century.
What’s the most important thing to do when it comes to renovate an interior?
We love to create homes that look beautiful, but they also have to function seamlessly. While designing, we consider every aspect of the family routine: how each member moves through the living spaces, their routines and individual requirements – this may be where they put their bag and keys upon entering home, and then they carry their shopping bags into the kitchen.
Do you know Mutina? What strikes you the most about the company?
We are very familiar with Mutina. We were first introduced to the company through Mews collection by Barber & Ogersby. We fell in love with it and specified the range for many projects. Mutina’s approach seems fresh and forward thinking, and we’re constantly surprised by what they’re achieving with their amazing stable of designers.
What’s your favourite collection? Why?
Up to now, it’s been Mews. We’ve incorporated it in a wide variety of styles and periods, and it just seems to be able to integrate seamlessly.
Which is the environment that you enjoy designing the most?
The home. Is there anything else more important?