Inner City Spaces by Brad Swartz

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    We chat with Sydney architect Brad Swartz on changing the way people live in our cities with good design in small packages.

    When the home you designed for yourself takes out the Best Apartment or Unit at the 2015 House Awards, you’re definitely onto something. That’s the case for Brad Swartz and his namesake Sydney studio, who’ve paved the way for designing small and mighty places to call home.

    Brad Swartz and his team are passionate about showing a better (and more compact) way of living in our cities. The studio are focused on the most sustainable path for city development, by working within existing buildings to design spaces that are durable and timeless. Determined to take away the idea that apartment living is a ‘compromise’, their bespoke designs are all about maximising space with creative solutions. While Brad admits they’re often faced with a number of restrictions, these challenges allow for experimentation – and continued success as to how we can live stylishly at any scale.

    We were fortunate to speak with the small space specialist on leading the movement and modifying the mindset that great design – not the overall size of your space – enhances quality of life.

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    Loft House by Brad Swartz Architects

    Your practice is focused on inner city living – what do you enjoy most about working in this area?

    Brad Swartz: The people. I really enjoy working with likeminded people who have chosen quality over quantity.

    What opportunities and advantages do these inner city abodes present?

    Brad Swartz: Well actually these inner city abodes usually present more restrictions than opportunities and advantages. However, I find the more restrictions a site may have, the more important a creative solution becomes and the more value we can bring to a project.

    What key areas do you focus on to design smarter spaces?

    Brad Swartz: I think smarter spaces aren’t necessarily the ones with moving parts, but the ones which are designed to suit the way we live. I always try understand how a client lives and from there instead of coming up with some smart design that has folding parts and fits six rooms into one, I’ll try create two great rooms in two spaces.

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    Loft House by Brad Swartz Architects
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    Loft House by Brad Swartz Architects
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    Loft House by Brad Swartz Architects
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    Loft House by Brad Swartz Architects

     Can you describe your largest design influence?

    Brad Swartz: There’s not one design influence which stands out above the rest – instead I find my work is made up of a mix of influences which can vary from project to project.

    My architectural projects are influenced by some of Glenn Murcutt’s philosophies. When I do architectural projects visible on the street, I try create a project which camouflages itself in the streetscape so it just looks like it belongs. This is something Murcutt’s work is able to achieve seamlessly in the country.

    My interiors tend to be influenced by Scandinavian and Japanese design to create a sense of calmness and an escape from the busy city.

     How do you think your work caters to the future of apartment living?

    Brad Swartz: I try to design projects which challenge the perception of what it means to live in an apartment. I think for a long time Australians have viewed apartment living as a compromise. But the reality is in the future (and even now) apartment living in Australia will be the norm for most people. Our projects are trying to show that apartment living doesn’t need to be a compromise, and in fact it can be a luxury.

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    Boneca Apartment by Brad Swartz Architects
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    Boneca Apartment by Brad Swartz Architects
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    Foucart St by Brad Swartz Architects
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    Foucart St by Brad Swartz Architects
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    Foucart St by Brad Swartz Architects
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    Foucart St by Brad Swartz Architects

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