ZETR & The Glass House
Paddington, NSW, Australia
The Local Project presents, in collaboration with Nina Maya Interiors and ZETR – The Glass House.
The Glass House, located in the inner city Sydney suburb of Paddington, is an innovative residential project by Nina Maya Interiors and a number of their favourite material suppliers, including the Sydney based ZETR, founded by Garth Elliott.
Nina Maya, from within the comfort of her own home, explains the unique design approach she adopted to transform a dilapidated traditional Sydney town house into a modern home that exudes contemporary sophistication. Nina takes us on a guided tour though her incredible home, explaining every defining element of her award winning design, from the unique use of a timber ceiling to the eye-catching staircase and water feature that work in tandem to create a tranquil environment within the home.
One of the key aspects behind Maya’s design was the use of ZETR’s range of electrical accessories. The use of these accessories perfectly complimented the luxurious interiors the Glass House through their signature minimal and refined aesthetic.
Garth Elliott, founder and director of ZETR, elaborates on how his ingenious electrical accessories are working beautifully with current design trends– a point echoed by Maya who stresses her insistence on incorporating ZETR products into her design. Ultimately the Glass House project is a narrative focused on the collaborative partnership of two of Sydney’s most innovative designers and how their partnership has created a home that sets a new standard of modern inner city living.
Garth Elliott of ZETR – Feature Interview
Garth Elliott, the founder of minimalist electrical accessories company ZETR, noticed a gap in the availability of power outlet and switch products that could maintain both the integrity and finish of newly-complete architectural work.
Having spent a number of years as an electrical contractor working alongside residential architects, Garth wanted to create a series of flush-finished outlets and switches that could blend into surfaces and act as the quiet detail in any space. Awarded ‘Best in Class’ for Product Design at the 2018 Good Design Awards and shortlisted for the 2018 INDE.Awards, we speak with Garth about how he overcame the biggest challenges in creating ZETR, what he wants to incorporate in his work going forward and what he loves most about his life in Avalon, Sydney.
Originally from Perth, Western Australia, Garth spent nearly three years prototyping two product ideas from his garage in Sydney whilst continuing to run his electrical contracting business. Having spent ten-plus years working on residential projects, Garth attributes his time working alongside architects as what led him to absorb a finessed aesthetic. It also gave him the opportunity to witness the way architects manoeuvred the placement of outlets to mitigate any detraction to their design. ‘I saw ZETR as a solution to the problem that architects and designers inevitably come across. There was room in a market dominated by mass production for a premium series of fixtures that are visually respectful to newly constructed work. Witnessing that made diving into the design process feel like a no brainer,’ he states.
‘Allocating time to simply play with materials, test concepts and get a feel for what you’re trying to do is by far the best part of the process. The unknown is the most challenging – not knowing if the product is going to turn out trimless and flush; learning how to create a system that fits with all surface types and thickness is what makes this project so unique. Currently there isn’t a system on the market that allows for the fitting to finish in this way.’ Having had no idea what he was doing when he started, Garth enjoyed the process of getting started for the opportunity to work with his hands and test how materials responded, building a greater understanding as time went on. With the building industry being so diverse, Garth reached out to many different people to get their feedback and describes their willingness to help him learn as one of the most humbling experiences to date.
But Garth tells me that going forward he is pushing for something more: sustainable manufacturing. With solutions like 3D printing on the horizon, Garth wants to create a manufacturing process that uses minimal energy and produces little waste. Electrical manufacturing regulations present an uphill industry challenge but he believes that a new industry standard could provide a long-term solution. Currently in the testing phase for a few smaller pieces, Garth hopes to be able to print 3D outlets and switches tailored to the specific needs of each architect and brief. He is currently working on a new series of outlets that will include veneer, timber, bronze, brass, and other metallic finishes and, like his current series, the pieces will continue to work with any surface material such as stone or concrete. Committed to aligning his work with what he hopes most for the world going forward – a sustainable future – Garth believes that a sustainable manufacturing model may influence others to think about the small changes they can make to support an eco-friendly world.
It is the theme of perseverance that continues to be consistent in Garth’s life. Having always enjoyed working for himself and being resourceful, Garth tells me that building ZETR is a labour of love that came from his desire to grow and seek new challenges. Looking back at his time as an electrical consultant and measuring it to the journey he is on now, I ask Garth about how he views the importance of nurturing creativity. ‘I want my kids to be creatively intelligent people’, he says. ‘I like to think that they are growing up in a space that cultivates creativity, a space that is less about the ‘degree’ and more about having an idea; most importantly, making it happen. I think the barriers between the two are closing more and more every day.’
This labour of love Garth speaks about is far greater than what he ever expected. ‘When you envision working for yourself on something you truly believe in, you often think you’ll leave work early and head out for a surf. In reality, the opposite is true. You throw your heart and soul into it because you want it to be everything it can be, to ride the opportunities that head its way and to mould your vision to reach further.’ Describing the last eight months as the most exciting time he has had in the lifespan of ZETR, Garth tells me about the meetings he has been privileged to be a part of and the people he has met. ‘There’s a lot of momentum going forward.’ he says, ‘For a small population, as a country we really do have a strong design community.’
Often waking up before sunrise, Garth and his family live on a north-facing hillside plateau in a mission-brown home overlooking the ocean and Pittwater harbour. With mornings suited best for undisrupted work, Garth tells me that the weekends are all about waking up early, enjoying coffee and croissants with his fiancé and kids and swinging by the park and beach. With the Perth beaches vivid in his mind, Garth admits that his childhood was often spent disappearing for the day and catching the surf. ‘Perth has the most incredible coastline, waves and loads of sharks. It was a really special place to grow up.’ Still surfing until this day, Garth loves his life in Avalon for its beauty and its inviting nature of easing people into the day. Citing Rukus in Newport for their breakfast bowls and the local Bistro Boulevard for its French cuisine, Garth tells me there is nothing better than a morning surf followed by a long lunch, and maybe a little social outing in the evening.