Flack Studio’s New Office Celebrates Adventurous Materiality and Respect for Art

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There’s a lot going on in the petite powder room at the Melbourne headquarters of Flack Studio. The deliberately broad materials palette includes Venetian plaster, terra-cotta, aged brass, burnished stainless steel, several types of marble, and Australian blackbutt timber. “The office is a giant, three-dimensional business card,” says David Flack, founder and principal of the multidisciplinary AD100 design and architecture firm. “It’s our way of transporting people into our world.” True to that spirit, the materials library sits just beyond the main meeting room, which is located directly off the street. “Most firms hide their library, but we put it front and center. You walk in and you’re immediately connected to what we do best—materiality.”

Design offices are typically insular worlds reserved for staff and clients, but Flack Studio makes a point of reaching out to the public. Situated in an old electroplating factory in the bustling, bohemian neighborhood of Fitzroy, the office hosts quarterly exhibitions celebrating the work of emerging Australian artists. Indeed, the entire space functions as a de facto gallery, chockablock with paintings, photography, video, sculpture, and works on paper. One of the meeting rooms, furnished with versions of a custom table and stools Flack designed for the Ace Hotel Sydney, features a wall-hanging sculpture by the late, eminent Australian artist Sydney Ball. (Flack installed a piece from the same series in the garden of singer/songwriter/actor Troye Sivan’s Melbourne home, published in AD’s May 2021 issue.) In Flack’s own office, where Afra and Tobia Scarpa’s Africa chairs surround a vintage Italian onyx-topped table, images of the French philosopher Simone Weil by the local artist duo Burchill/McCamley create a haunting apparition on the wall.

Once a month, Flack Studio opens its extensive trove of design books and other publications to the community. “The library is an amazing resource. It needs to be shared,” the designer insists. The monographs stocked on the bookshelves hint at the broad array of influences that inform the firm’s sophisticated, richly layered projects, which currently include new hotels in Fukuoka, Japan, and Melbourne, and a wide range of residential commissions, including a second home for Sivan in Los Angeles. “The office is a good testing ground for the things we design. It also acts like a showroom for our collaborators and the makers we admire,” Flack continues. “It’s all thrown together in a way that obscures what was original to the building and what we added, which is the way we like it.” flackstudio.com.au

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