VOGUE Living Australia - - Contents - By ALEXAN­DRA GOR­DON

In a ca­reer span­ning more than two decades, the de­signer has found sat­is­fac­tion by go­ing with her gut

There’s a longevity in what we cre­ate,” says Kirsten Stanisich, a di­rec­tor of the Syd­ney arm of SJB. “It’s im­por­tant to de­sign things that ac­tu­ally make a dif­fer­ence.” In­deed, the essence of this Aus­tralian in­te­rior de­signer and ar­chi­tect’s aes­thetic, and that of her de­sign prac­tice, is quiet in­no­va­tion but also a sense of time­less­ness. Stanisich’s ca­reer be­gan with big-bud­get hos­pi­tal­ity projects, in­clud­ing the Crown Mel­bourne casino and Syd­ney’s Es­tab­lish­ment ho­tel and bar. “Es­tab­lish­ment will al­ways be that spe­cial place for me,” she says of Justin Hemmes’s slick venue in Syd­ney’s CBD. “It was the early days. We worked hard and went out a lot. It was fun, fresh and ex­cit­ing.” An ar­chi­tec­ture grad­u­ate from the Uni­ver­sity of Mel­bourne, Stanisich joined the Mel­bourne of­fice of SJB in 1995 af­ter ac­tively pur­su­ing the de­sign prac­tice. A hand­ful of early projects in Syd­ney meant reg­u­lar travel be­tween the two cap­i­tals. “Even­tu­ally I re­alised it was about stay­ing and set­ting up the prac­tice here in Syd­ney; the busi­ness grew from there,” says Stanisich. Her in­nate tal­ent saw her quickly evolve from ar­chi­tect to in­te­rior de­signer be­fore be­ing pro­moted to as­so­ciate and then di­rec­tor in 2005. The de­signer’s ca­reer pro­gres­sion par­al­lels an evo­lu­tion in her style. New work, such as 12-Mi­cron, an ex­pan­sive 500-ca­pac­ity restau­rant and bar in Syd­ney’s Baranga­roo, is an ex­er­cise in re­straint and a marked shift from the rich colours seen in her ear­lier com­mer­cial projects. Re­cently, Stanisich ap­plied SJB’s con­tem­po­rary yet soft-edged ap­proach to her own home. It is most ev­i­dent in the kitchen, where the bench­top fea­tures paving stones and cir­cu­lar of­f­cuts of con­trast­ing mar­ble add in­ter­est to the splash­back. “We’re very much about the de­tails, and about hav­ing a good idea,” she says. “It doesn’t have to be a big state­ment.” Stanisich is in­creas­ingly en­joy­ing de­sign­ing pri­vate homes. “We’ve been work­ing on a house in Padding­ton for about four years,” she says. “I’ve re­alised what you can achieve by hav­ing time on those projects.” This length­ier ap­proach has al­lowed for an im­pres­sive num­ber of ideas; as a re­sult, the Aus­tralian In­te­rior De­sign Awards short­listed the project in both the Res­i­den­tial De­sign and Res­i­den­tial Dec­o­ra­tion cat­e­gories. In con­trast, her own house — an­other con­tender for the Res­i­den­tial De­sign award — was built in eight weeks. Stanisich is no less en­thu­si­as­tic about her work now than when she grad­u­ated. “I’m ex­cited about bou­tique de­vel­op­ments, where we’re work­ing closely with our ar­chi­tects so we can de­sign an in­te­rior that’s re­ally co­he­sive with the build­ing.” Th­ese in­clude the mul­tires­i­den­tial Hutch & Hutch project in Syd­ney’s Surry Hills and Nine Young Street, a mixed-use re­tail, com­mer­cial and res­i­den­tial apart­ment build­ing in the city’s CBD. Even af­ter 21 years, Stanisich still feels she’s grow­ing pro­fes­sion­ally. “I have much more of a gut ap­proach now than I did five years ago,” she says. “I feel sat­is­fied to do things be­cause it feels right to me.”

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clock­wise from top left: Stanisich’s newly com­pleted work on 12-Mi­cron, in Syd­ney’s Baranga­roo dis­trict. Stanisich in her own award-short­listed Redfern ter­race. Din­ing area in a pri­vate Syd­ney res­i­dence that’s short­listed for the Aus­tralian In­te­rior...

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