I have another Clair to thank for the introduction to the work of architect Clare Cousins. Clair Wayman, that is. She is a constant source of info on all that is good in Melbourne's design world. Well, Clare Cousins has certainly been a good tip. The architect and interior designer started her practice in 2005 and has since completed more than 200 projects, and won a few awards too. Perhaps even more interesting, though, is that Clare is passionate about making good design available to everyone. She is involved in the Australian Institute of Architect's Women's Mentoring Program and has also done pro-bono work for victims of Black Saturday, last year's Victorian bushfires.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? One of my early jobs while studying architecture was working at the The Prince, St Kilda during the construction of the hotel and Aurora Spa Retreat. It exposed me to people who highly value quality design and workmanship. I started my own architecture practice in 2005 which specialises in residential and retail design.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? You never stop learning.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Being able to provide pro-bono architectural services to a couple who lost their house on Black Saturday (Victoria’s bushfires last year). The house has finally started construction which we are very excited about.
What’s been your best decision? Starting a business of my own. You work hard and rarely switch off, however, it gives me the freedom to run the business the way that suits me, especially with a young family.
Who inspires you? My husband and daughter Ginger. They remind me of what’s important in life.
What are you passionate about? Good food and travel.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Ray Eames.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? Suburban sprawl disheartens me. I want to get more involved in trying to change the way spec housing is designed and constructed. Well-designed and sustainable housing should be available to everyone. Australia needs to foster a greater level of public education about good design particularly with housing. Bigger is not necessarily better.
What are you reading? Harvest by Meredith Kirton.
images courtesy of clare cousins; portrait james geer