Marlborough-born spatial and leather goods designer Annabel Smart has worked for an enviable number of firms including Fearon Hay, Architectus, and Melbourne’s Hecker Guthrie. HOME caught up with her to chat about establishing her own multidisciplinary Studio 11:11, and what the future holds.
HOME (H): How did you come to architecture/design?
Annabel Smart (AS): When I was young, my dad used to share an office with the late Sir Michael Fowler. Sometimes I would go there after school … Sir Michael would lend me some colouring pencils and I would watch him at his drafting table create towering buildings with his quivery lines. I think this was my first encounter with architecture and it has captured my interest ever since.
H: Now you focus on an interesting combination of interiors and leather goods, how did that start?
AS: It started out when we were working with a leather craftsman on a custom cabinet’s handles for a project. We really enjoyed working with leather as a material and so we decided to design a large tote bag to carry our plans and samples to client meetings.
H: Tell us about your Masseria House project (pictured below)?
AS: This project was a vastly proportioned new house with quite intimidating spaces. We wanted the interiors to feel inviting, tactile and homely and we think the end result achieves this. It is polished and refined but met with a raw and natural edge that gives it strength of character, as though it has always been there.
H: What keeps you busy these days?
AS: We are currently working on a range of residential projects in Auckland, Melbourne, and Wellington, and we are always collaborating with local craftspeople on little passion projects — this month it is rammed earth tables made in Titirangi.