Driven by Passion – Flack Studio
Fitzroy, VIC, Australia
At the heart of Flack Studio is a dynamic balance between meticulous research on the one hand and a powerful intuitive design sensibility on the other. Since Flack Studio was founded in 2014, this approach has propelled the practice on to become a veritable tour de force – an interdisciplinary design studio whose work is instantly identifiable.
Design has been an integral part of founder David Flack’s life since he was a child growing up in Central Victoria. “My passion for design started very young, my parents have a construction company so I was always around building sites and I always had a fascination for how spaces went together,” he recalls, saying that his mother always believed he would become an interior designer from a young age. “I demanded that the cubby house my dad built me was professionally painted, and I used to adapt it weekly,” he laughs.
While at the age of 11 David decided he was too old to play in a cubby house, this innate sense for design became a driving force that “we talk about as a premise for the studio, because as a designer you outlay your personality a lot in your design and the way I design has always been a form of self-expression,” he reflects. Fundamentally, Flack Studio approaches each project as an expression of personality – of the designer, and also of the client. “Ultimately, the root of what we do, and what we pride ourselves on, is delivering projects that are for our client’s personalities. We don’t talk about resale value here ever, we talk about our clients and creating spaces that are crafted for them,” David says.
Design has been an integral part of founder David Flack’s life since he was a child growing up in Central Victoria.
Intuition, curiosity and a willingness to deeply understand each client result in projects that, while each exemplifies an aesthetic that has a distinctively Flack Studio quality, are highly individual spaces tailored to the inhabitants. A residential project, therefore, becomes a revealing expression of the client’s character and the context of their life. As such, David explains, “our role is to define the brief on a more complex level. The design process is incredibly holistic, each element is integral so you can’t change one thing without it affecting everything else.” He attributes the ability to work so holistically to a ‘sixth sense’ through which he instinctively understands from the outset how space is going to look once it is completed – the design process, therefore, is one of editing, refining and bringing the client along on the journey in order to arrive at this end result.
If this inherent ‘sixth sense’ provides the unique essence of the studio’s work, it is the rigour and emphasis on research that provides the necessary structure to support the pushing of boundaries, the playfulness, and creativity for which Flack Studio has become known. “We’re a research-based studio, design is at the forefront. We don’t copy and paste anything. We’re always talking about art, we’re always talking about furniture, about architecture. Everything comes from something – there’s a provenance to everything,” David says. The library is front and centre of the presentation room, reflecting the fact that “everything is derived from books. In this world of Pinterest and blogs, you don’t get to the heart of research without books and magazines,” he explains.
“We talk about as a premise for the studio, because as a designer you outlay your personality a lot in your design and the way I design has always been a form of self-expression.”
Similarly, the materials collection is given prominence within the studio, reflecting the importance placed on devising a finely honed material palette for each project. “We wanted the material library to be the heart of the studio space, not hidden away,” David says. Materials and finishes are key to Flack Studio’s aesthetic approach, which he describes as “classic but a bit twisted. The twist might just be conflicting finishes or how we poetically put materiality together, but there’s always some point at which it’s a bit off (in a good way!).”
Again, the studio’s emphasis on research and the influence of classical design (particularly European and modernist design) are key to taking these risks and successfully producing a response that is at once coherent and unexpected. “If you really analyse our work, it is very classic in its approach. There is some structure and modernity to it, but it’s got a lot of depth and it is highly detailed – it has a lot of personality,” David reflects. This dynamic quality, that is both classic and distinctive, combined with Flack Studio’s insatiable curiosity, has been key to the evolution of what has become a genuinely multidisciplinary studio.
With Flack Studio now over five years old and a diverse, established portfolio of work behind them, plans for forays into a furniture collection, textile design and more work internationally are on the horizon. Each of these endeavours represents another creative medium through which to extend the studio’s work and deepen the exploration of the principles on which it was founded. While David is determined that the practice will remain small (the team has grown from two initially to the current staff of 10) this will only ensure that Flack Studio continues as it began – making an outsized impact through design that is grounded in research and driven by passion.