An interview with Chris Mccue director of architecture, Carr

The vision of Carr is to drive change, challenge perceptions and design for the future. Through a string of highly awarded interior design projects in Australia and overseas, the studio has created extraordinary homes and spaces under the eye of its Director of Architecture, Chris McCue.

Can you share with us the inspiration behind the interior design for Malvern Collective?

Our starting point for the project was the striking vertical rhythms and ‘rib’ detail of JCB’s exterior architecture. We wanted to create a consistent visual language from the outside in. The synergy between Carr and JCB has always been strong, resulting in Malvern Collective’s unique architectural and interior design language.

You’ve also worked with Kokoda Property on a number of successful Melbourne projects.

Yes, after multiple years of working together we like to say that we understand their DNA. They’re an aspirational developer and they always look to push the boundaries of design. There’s a real focus on the practicality of spaces, craftsmanship and high-quality finishes.

What makes Malvern Collective’s residences unique?

 This development is unlike anything seen before in the precinct. The pairing of the buildings and the relationship they create is an interesting juxtaposition. The unique shape of these architectural forms has informed a collection of one-of-a-kind residences with inspired outlooks and a design aesthetic unique for Malvern, and indeed Melbourne.

Can you take us through some of the finishes you’ve selected for the interiors?

The journey begins in the ground floor lobby, where you’re enveloped by the language of the architecture in the interior space. Prismatic obscure glass offsets brushed black granite, creating a play of light and shadow.

What about the residences themselves?

 We bemoan the same sameness in the apartment market today. Instead, we want to create something unexpected, offering a selection of interesting textural palettes. The signature Malvern Collective walnut palette is warm and rich in its materiality, while for the purists, the light palette celebrates the understated simplicity of white on white.

What will the experience feel like in these spaces?

Each residence can be likened to a retreat; a warm environment that’s been carefully crafted to create a textured and layered experience, not only through the material palette, but through an architectural visual language subtly echoed in the interior details. From the overlaying table forms to the recessed drawer pulls, the details create a rich experience.

What was your approach to the shared amenity spaces?

 As a natural extension to the residences, these spaces elaborate the interior concept on a grander scale, with luxuries akin to a high-end hotel. We wanted to promote a sense of community by providing places where residents can socialise or entertain their own guests. The private dining room is one example, with a carefully curated selection of furniture and connections to an expansive terrace.

Carr has designed many private residences in prestigious suburbs including Malvern. What do you bring from these projects to your apartment spaces?

 First and foremost, our work is driven by a detailed analysis of the future resident and their specific needs. We’re also mindful to design interiors that are as relevant tomorrow as they are today. Our experience of Malvern is perhaps different to what people might expect. We see a lot of young, design-conscious professionals drawn to the Malvern neighbourhood looking for an apartment that’s timeless, but with a design edge.

What are you most proud of at Malvern Collective?

I always enjoy the process of generating that very first design response, as it’s often the one you come back to regardless of how many other variations you might produce. For Malvern Collective, what we’re working towards is an elaboration of that very first sketch; a pure concept that’s international in feel and yet totally appropriate to the local context. This is a world-class address, made for Malvern.

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