In conversation with Paul Hecker

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Multi-disciplinary interior design team Hecker Guthrie stand at the forefront of creating genuine interior spaces that echo a perfect blend of thoughtful ingenuity and spirited creativity.

26 July 2023

The team conscientiously nurture connections between artistry, design, and artisanal skill, striving to curate site-specific solutions that blend authentic, everyday materials with elements of the sublime and extraordinary.

Hecker Guthrie’s sophisticated and enduring designs adorn Windsor Park, Marshall White Projects‘ landmark off-the-plan development, poised to redefine luxury living in Melbourne.

We spoke to co-founder, Paul Hecker, regarding the team’s philosophy, influences, and the rising importance of the interior designer.

How would you describe Hecker Guthrie’s signature design philosophy or style that distinguishes your work in the luxury interior design market, and how has it evolved over the years?

We want to create spaces that stand the test of time – calm, warm, rational, elegant, spaces that people want to be in; “quiet” design solutions that have personality built around simple, neutral, textured palettes that suggest a timeless quality.

Time and experience have shown us that these spaces are the easiest to live in, the easiest to furnish and the easiest to personalise.

Could you elaborate on a project that holds significant personal importance to you, one that truly epitomises your creative capacities?

I would suggest that it is generally our “last” project that best represents our current thinking… each project is a springboard for the next; an evolution… we learn from each project, and bring that learning to the next, and then look at ways to improve and develop.

What strategies or methods do you use to fuel your creative inspiration? Are there any specific influences or muses that predominantly inform your designs?

At the core of what we do is create spaces that we want to be in… you can’t create convincing design solutions if you are personally ambivalent about the outcomes. 

Traditionally, we have been strongly influenced by the work of contemporary Japanese, Danish and Belgian designers, however in the last decade, or so, with the advent of the internet, our influences have become much broader… we are drawn to those designs that are singular, sculptural, inventive… 

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How do you manage to strike a harmony between functionality and aesthetics in your design approach for a space?

These two things are definitely not mutually exclusive… we always work towards creating spaces that are functional at their core, however, at the end of the day, we are there to create spaces that invite an emotional response.

We want a space to be beautiful and function as intended, most times this happens without compromising either, and sometimes it’s a juggling act… 

Are there any emerging trends in the realm of luxury interior design that you find especially exhilarating or transformative? 

We are very wary of the word “trend”, it implies “fashion” that we believe has only a very limited place in the world of luxury apartment design… we need our spaces to be desirable for a very long time. 

Certainly, the ideas that we are promoting are ideas around  “discreet” or “quiet” luxury… it’s not how much stone you use, but rather how you use stone to the best effect… it’s not how many rooms you create, but rather the scale and proportion of the rooms you create… it’s not how many “feature” lights you use, but rather the quality of the light that you create… you get the gist! 

How integral is technology in your design methodology, and how has it revolutionised your work in the luxury interior design sector? 

Generally, we use technology to augment the sensory experience, whether it’s the way we control lighting levels or the sound through the space or the ambient temperature; technology at its best enables the ability to personalise a space in a myriad of ways to enhance ambiance. 

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What are your predictions for the future trajectory of interior design, and how do you envision your contribution to its evolution? 

Over a 35-year career, it has been my pleasure to witness an evolution in the way people have increasingly placed more and more importance on their interior environment; that there is a strong correlation between a sense of wellbeing and the “design” of the space they inhabit. 

Our approach has always been “don’t tell us what you want a space to look like, but rather, how do you want to feel in a space?” 

Moving forward, the role of the interior designer will only become more important as people become more acutely aware of the need to create a space that can be an “oasis”… their own… in a world that is becoming more frenetic, muddled and “overloaded”… it sounds dystopian, but I am very happy to be involved in providing a little order and calmness out of the chaos! 

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