How long have you lived in Wynnum?
Thirteen years. We love it here as we don’t feel like we’re in the sprawl of Brisbane suburbs but in a relaxed, smaller place with a strong sense of community.
What was it about Wynnum that made you want to call it home?
Initially what attracted us was being close to the ocean, the Brisbane CBD and easy access to the Gateway Motorway to travel north or south.
What is your favourite cafe in Wynnum?
Frankie’s Coffee Bar is our favourite local coffee spot; for fresh and tasty food made with love, Tolerance Cuisine. There are several other great cafés in the area run by passionate locals.
What is your favourite shop in Wynnum?
Cultivate Design Co – as a designer myself, I love their design style and quality of products.
Favourite Wynnum/Lota/Manly landscape?
The waterfront – it’s wonderful to be living close to ‘the edge of things’. I think it’s about being witness to ongoing and dynamic interactions between different elements. There is always something interesting happening with the change of tides, time of day and weather. It’s an ever-changing dynamic landscape that keeps us connected to nature. Being such a visual person, I especially love the way the light changes – from cracking purple and orange cloudy sunrises over the ocean and islands, to early morning layers of soft pastels on a mirror sea, with silhouetted tidal pools and feeding wading birds; other times it can be wild teal greens, indigo sweeping rain clouds and whitecaps.
Why landscape architecture as a career?
Straight out of school I did a degree in another area of design which didn’t suit me at all; I loved design but wanted to do something more connected to nature, culture and communities. Landscape architecture is such a diverse career. It’s basically design of everything outside of buildings (and these days often inside or on them too!). It takes you to many places you may never otherwise have gone, so you get to discover and learn about our wonderfully diverse country and communities. In many ways we need to be ‘jack of all trades’ – from understanding place, the natural world we are designing in and who we are designing for, undertaking community engagement, doing design then communicating ideas to clients and community, managing budgets, coordination across all consultants, with government and finally working out how to build what you have designed. As a career Landscape Architecture has so many different facets that it definitely keeps life interesting!
What is your dream project?
Any project with a good budget and a good client! A good budget can allow us freedom to design something really interesting and different, which will provide long term benefits to the community and environment. A good client understands the value we can bring to their project, or allows us the freedom to explore this with them.
What has been your career highlight thus far?
I’ve been practicing landscape architecture for 25 years now and there have been many different and interesting types of projects I’ve worked on here and overseas – what really makes me smile is when say, a park or urban space project I have designed has been built, and I can quietly observe people using the spaces, in ways I imagined, but also often in other ways I never imagined – to me that is a successful design, one that provides opportunities for different activities but has flexibility to allow people to use it in their own way.
What inspires your design process?
It starts with a real depth of understanding and respect of site, the client and community needs. The challenge is then balancing these often diverse and competing interests and needs of the environment, culture and society.
Do you have any hidden secret talents?
Maybe one or two! I love exploring the creative process at other scales too – I paint in watercolour, acrylic and have dabbled in oils. I have also just started woodcarving.
Tell us how you find having a Wynnum-based business?
The business community here is very supportive of each other and I love being close to home and not having to waste time commuting!
For all those budding Landscape Architects out there, what piece of advice would you share?
You must gain an intricate understanding of your site and what is special about that place before doing anything else.
Learn to hand draw well. It’s a powerful tool that can hold the attention of a room, but is being lost in today’s electronic-focussed world. Anyone can drive a mouse. Putting pen to paper is a tactile, direct and human connection to the creative process; it allows quick and spontaneous exploration of ideas that are full of life.
Work out what you are good at, what you are passionate about and never lose your curiosity and thirst for knowledge. Read widely.
What’s next for you?
Tide Talks features local personalities and small businesses in the Wynnum-Manly area of Brisbane’s Bayside. We want to show off the eclectic mix of entrepreneurs, creatives and change-makers that make the area so appealing! If this reminds you of someone, please get in touch at email@example.com or contact us.