Lucy Marczyk is no stranger at est. Associate & Senior Interior Designer of Nexus Designs, we’ve been lucky to have Lucy’s influence grace the pages of our magazine, pass on her travel tips from the city that never sleeps and forecast trends in Milan. Yes, we’re big fans of her work and there’s absolutely no wondering why.
Interior design runs in Lucy’s veins and no better place is it fostered than at Nexus Designs. A frontrunner in the multidisciplinary landscape since the sixties, the award-winning team continue to take on daring projects that keeps them squarely focused on the future. Lucy has a folio you’d find hard to forget. From projects in Asia and the US, to enviable spaces to eat, shop, or sail the ocean by yacht or ferry, Lucy has a diverse range of projects under her belt. She has even worked on the Rolls-Royce Motor car showroom Melbourne! Her collaboration, vision and approach appears to have no limits. Her style is equally as indelible; always injecting her signature use of colour, materiality and form that transcends place and purpose.
We couldn’t wait to delve into what makes a designer of Lucy’s calibre tick and investigate what ignited her interest in interiors – and of course it was inevitable that we also found out what Lucy loves in our Melbourne locale.
What first inspired your interest in design and how has your career as an interior designer developed from there?
Lucy Marczyk: When I was fourteen, we moved into a new house. I distinctly remember seeing it for the first time and it instantly captured my curiosity and imagination. The house was previously owned by a shop fitter and everything in it was bespoke, with all of the ‘mod-cons’. Kitchen bench tops extended out from the walls, breakfast tables converted into movable chopping blocks. The bar was back-lit with pink neon lights, sound systems integrated within 70’s inspired cocktail cabinets, timber lined walls and bespoke 90’s-style dining and coffee tables were custom designed to match built-in joinery. The library room – ‘the blue room’ – had a floor to ceiling wall bracket system, so you could customise every wall and shelf. Not only this, there was a subterranean woodwork workshop. The whole house was a transformer; it was stylish, funky fresh and a reference for good design. This is what influenced me at sixteen to move to a high school that offered Furniture Design and other creative classes. From here, I wanted to become a chef but after an accident in a commercial kitchen, my stepfather encouraged me to look into interior design.
Do you think you have a distinct style?
Lucy Marczyk: My style is to respond to a brief and I aim for design outcomes which are personalised, innovative and holistic. My designs consider ‘FADES’: Function, Aesthetics, Durability, Economics and Safety. These are principles I learnt years ago and environmental dimensions are increasingly more important to me. I simplify a design through design language, materials and colour that results in a minimalistic aesthetic.
What impact did your previous role with Bruce Henderson Architects have on your design approach?
Lucy Marczyk: As a large architecture practice, Bruce Henderson Architects completed significant commissions including a mix of work across multi-residential, master planning, hospitality, institutional, hotels and resorts. I got exposure to receiving big briefs and how a well-operated design practice responds and delivers on these briefs. I never worked on two projects that were the same and the diversity of work influenced my approach.
You joined Nexus Designs in 2011. How has the practice changed and evolved since you joined the team?
Lucy Marczyk: For 50 years, Nexus has been agile and adapting to current markets, making important collaborative partnerships while maintaining its core values and philosophy. Melbourne is an exciting place to be working now with a lot of growth and development across residential, hospitality and retail. Nexus has always had an excellent reputation in high-end, one off residential projects, and that continues to be the core work in the studio. In the last few years we’ve used this to benefit our multi-residential clients and added a ferry, yacht and car showroom to our folio.
Nexus Designs has been leading Australian design for five decades, accumulating a long list of IDEA and AIDA nominations and awards. How does the firm continue to stay at the forefront of contemporary design?
Lucy Marczyk: Nexus invests in local and international research in current trends in furniture, fashion, hospitality, manufacturing, and construction. I admire their commitment to initiatives like sending designers to Salone del Mobile, a trade fair in Milan. I think the office being multi-disciplinary also fosters design diversity which is valuable for a creative environment and enhances design outcomes. Collaborative design is a trend now but Nexus had been doing that since ’67 and they have always encouraged their designers to invest in new ideas and be inspired by architecture, furniture design and contemporary art.
We’ve been lucky to have your industry insight featured here on est from your time spent in Milan and New York. What did you take away from your design and trend reporting and how has travel affected your creative practice?
Lucy Marczyk: To me, travel is important for gathering ideas and seeing different ways of living and working. It’s all about taking the best ideas from around the world and localizing them to our environment. This contributes to the development and advancement of good design. I am fascinated by cultures, changing technology and construction, and how this is shaping our developing city. Being multicultural in Australia allows us to integrate international ideas into our designs easily.
You’ve also worked on a number of international projects. What was it like to design spaces in locations such as Bangkok and the Hamptons? Any key differences or unexpected similarities?
Lucy Marczyk: Working in Asia, there are cultural differences in the way you do business, the way you communicate with consultants. The building regulations and planning processes are completely different. How you respond to interior design problems such as space planning and material selections in relation to climate or durability also need to be approached differently. For example, our project in Bangkok demanded an understanding of the transport culture relating to access and parking on site to maximise the arrival experience; they have tuk-tuk’s, motorsai and mini buses and a unique parking culture.
The Hamptons House presented differences in the design response relating to climate as it was a summer beach house and winter getaway house, so it is styled for both. Logistics and communication are also done differently due to distance.
Finally, what have you been working on – are there any projects that you’re particularly excited about?
Lucy Marczyk: Last year I worked on a refurbishment of a 100 ft yacht and I’ve just completed working on the Zagame Automotive Group HQ and Rolls-Royce Motor cars Melbourne showroom (with architect David Earle). Both were very challenging and rewarding projects. Our project in Thailand will also be opening later this year and we’re very excited to see that blossom.
Lucy’s insider guide to Melbourne:
Where do you live in Melbourne and what do you love most about it?
Inner city. It’s great because I can walk to almost everywhere I need to go.
Favourite places to drink? A vineyard in the Yarra Valley or somewhere on the Peninsula.
Favourite places to shop? Monolab on Toorak road in South Yarra is a fantastic shop. It has an interesting unique collection of artisan Japanese homewares. DeDeCe just reopened in Melbourne and inside is the Tom Dixon showroom filled with pieces from the clever British designer. I want one of everything .