Melbourne designer raises the bar

MELBOURNE -- Designer Adele Winteridge has been busy re-imagining social spaces, transforming Australia's cultural landscape in more ways than one.

MELBOURNE -- Interior designer Adele Winteridge and her studio Foolscap have revitalised the hospitality and retail sector with a progressive design approach to social spaces.

Earlier this year, Winteridge’s design talents were recognised by the British Council who shortlisted her as a "Top 10" finalist in their Realise Your Dreams awards. Last month, Foolscap Studio was nominated in the Idea Awards "2011 Emerging Designer" category.

The 31-year-old Winteridge established Foolscap Studio in 2009 after she spent two years reshaping the design curriculum at the Whitehouse Institute of Design, helping them to achieve accreditation for their Bachelor of Design degree.

The daughter of hospitality parents, Winteridge has always had an interest in cultural spaces such as galleries, theatres, retail boutiques, cafes and restaurants.

In 2007 Winteridge made history when she joined other cultural activists to form Raise the Bar, a group which successfully lobbied for the New South Wales Government to change their restrictive liquor license laws.

Today Winteridge focuses on changing social spaces on a range of design projects, predominantly in, but not limited to, retail and hospitality. “In terms of the interiors, specifically hospitality, we focus on spaces that add value to the community,” she says.

Winteridge has led her small team to balance pragmatism with innovative thinking on projects. A prime example is Sydney’s pop-up rooftop bar, The Doghouse (pictured above), which was famously constructed in just 24 days, using borrowed and old materials.

In late 2010 Winteridge designed Melbourne's Tiny Cafe, situated in the back streets of ex-industrial Collingwood. The site comprised of an ex-laundry cupboard under a stairwell, in a very restrictive space.

Winteridge was not at all perturbed by the size. “I enjoy the challenge of working with pre-existing spaces,” she says. “We spend a lot of time sitting down with the client and working out what it is that they want, it's all part of the process."

Foolscap studio also has a history of collaboration. They recently commissioned Bendigo Pottery to create bespoke ceramics for Sixpenny, a new Sydney restaurant specialising in degustations.

This week the studio will unveil their latest work - Patricia - a new café located in Melbourne’s Central Business District. Patricia's most prominent feature is a custom-made lighting fixture by signage company Delta Neon.

“We are always trying to explore new materials or new ways of using pre-loved or old materials. We never buy anything off the shelf, we make it all," she says.

In 2012 Foolscap will be involved in a set design for the Malthouse Theatre, along with more pop-up shop, restaurant and retail design.

In future Winteridge plans to expand the practice, hoping to work with people further a field. In the meantime, she and her motley crew of designers will keep on doing what they do best - experimenting with design.

Photo: Foolscap Studio

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