Phoenix Takes 5 With… StudioJLA’s Justin Loe
As part of Phoenix Tapware’s interview series with key designers, architects, builders and plumbers, we take five minutes with Justin Loe, director and founder of StudioJLA, to chat about his career, inspiration and current design trends.
Phoenix Tapware: How did you get started in Architecture?
Justin Loe: I always found myself immersed in art in my younger years, which led me to be more design-oriented when considering my studies. I studied a Bachelor of Architecture, working throughout, and gaining experience from a number of respected architects. Under the guidance of my mentors Nick Turner, ‘Turner and Associates’ and Luigi Rosseli, ‘Luigi Rosseli Architects’, I like to believe I established a good foundation for design.
What does a typical day look like for you?
My typical day is usually frantic. I like to be involved in all the on-going projects in the office, meaning that I spend a lot of time collaborating and discussing with my team about different architecture, interior and design planning and issues, through to catching up with my clients.
What are your favourite types of projects to work on?
We enjoy all size projects in domestic architecture. I think we all get a sense of joy and satisfaction here at StudioJLA from even simple alterations and additions to our larger waterfront dwellings. Regardless, I like to think that since no project is the same; being able to express our passion for design as well as challenge our creative boundaries is what makes any project great.
What do you find to be most rewarding about being an architect?
We think that the process of developing an idea for a particular project, and then seeing it come into fruition as a space that is well designed, is a rewarding experience. We feel extremely rewarded when our clients appreciate the layers of ideas as well as the challenges and constraints that make up the project.
What currently inspires you and your work?
I think to a certain degree I am interested in the natural environment, but more specifically creating beautiful spaces that not only respect their contextual surroundings but inspire living for our occupants, their friends and their family.
What is your favourite project to date that you have worked on?
Not to play favourites, I like to think that the recent Leichhardt [Sydney] project is up there. The alterations and additions project aims to be sympathetic to the scale of development of the surrounding area and be a positive contribution to the overall streetscape along Coleridge St.
The project, we believe, redevelops the existing dual occupancy into a typical side-by-side dual occupancy to allow for additional accommodation for the owner’s growing family. The development of the vacant land allows for supplement cost to reconfigure the existing dwelling to accommodate the family’s needs, which we think is achieving of what we inspire to do; to create beautiful spaces which inspire living.
What are the greatest or most important lessons you have learned along the way in your career?
I think that in architecture, it is important to develop a creative discipline that allows you to enjoy the journey in creating good design and understand that it will not always be smooth sailing along the way.
What kinds of trends are you seeing in kitchens, bathrooms and laundries?
I think we are more likely to see a consistent trend of clean and minimal style bathroom ware design with advancements looking to further accessibility of these products. I’m seeing an increase in technology already in tapware with multi-functional purposes, so we’re looking at trends that further iterate into touchless, and/or sensor-based technologies which will most likely bridge into Home Automation, or AI Systems.