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Melbourne Square Q&A: Chris McCue

- 27/09/2018

Carr Design is the talented design team behind Melbourne Square. We spoke to Chris McCue, Director of Architecture and Residential Interiors, to find out more about Melbourne Square’s design and what makes it such a unique project.

Where does the creative inspiration come from for a project?

Every project we undertake responds to a client brief - a reading of how people use the the spaces we create and the feedback our clients give us to the space we create for them.

How we each live, what we might value in the creation of space, what we see when we travel and what we want people to feel are all a set of guiding ideas and emotions that inform a direction. When working with other architects like Cox Architecture, we’re responding to the architectural direction they set to produce a cohesive design and occupant experience.

Fundamentally, the design needs to respond to a client brief and that of a potential purchaser. In this instance, for many of the purchasers at Melbourne Square, that change is the move from conventional housing to apartment living. 

Can you tell us about the Spring Collection at Melbourne Square?

The Spring Collection is a continuation of the story, with the level of design thought running consistently through the project. Each residence takes on its unique aspect and orientation to view to inform the plan layout to optimise the kitchen to view.  The apartments are then layered with the unique kitchen and bathroom design which respond to the sculptural architectural forms of the buildings within the parkland setting.

Carr Design has maintained a position as a leading design practice for more than 40 years - what does this mean for you and the team?

It gives us the confidence to focus on the important aspect of our role of design thinking, not to be swayed by fashion, which captures only a moment in time. 

The design response for any project needs to be robust and founded on principles of getting the fundamentals of space right, getting the plan to be the most efficient it can be and the daily rituals of life in an apartment facilitated in the best way. The notion of a coloured tap or brand of fitting or appliance is typically secondary to the big idea of the design proposal. 

How has your creative approach evolved over time? 

The creation of the ‘big idea’ has always driven our design thought - there aren’t many instances where we have a design response that strays too far from that first gut reaction and emotional response.  

Time has encouraged us to tease out that first idea in more detail to make it the most cohesive, developed and compelling a proposition. The deviation into different territory or testing of a multitude of ideas usually leads us back to the one we felt the most at the beginning when we were first standing on the site taking in all of the its conditions.

What is exciting about the design process for Melbourne Square? 

We have a very strong working relationship with Cox Architecture and the client team to create a masterplan for the interiors and the landscape podium that is completely aligned. It has been a true collaborative design process where each discipline came together with their own perspective on the design. 

Through workshops and design sessions, we are all in perfect alignment for how we want the development to feel and cater to the needs and ambitions of the purchasers. 

What is your favourite Southbank gem?

The integration of more green space and the further emergence of Southbank as the design hub of Melbourne gives me great pride in my home city.  

As a child, my favourite sculptures were The Vault by Ron Robertson Swan and Inge King’s Forward Surge. These two pieces still fascinate me every time I pass through Southbank, particularly the way each has been integrated within publicly accessible space.

What are the best places to eat in Southbank? 

Fatto Bar and Cantina and Saki at the Art Centre. They both exemplify everything Melbourne stands for - brilliant fresh food, a stunning waterfront location, interesting architecture and very well designed. 

What is the most beautifully designed building in Melbourne?

Walsh Street house, designed by Robin Boyd for his family and the Domain Park Flats  on Domain Road. They demonstrate the brilliance of Robin Boyd as an architect and his capacity to work across multiple scales of residential commissions. A human centric architectural approach that considers and elevates your mood as you move through never ceases to excite and amaze me. 

Where do you see Southbank in 10 years? 

Southbank is following in the footsteps of some of the most successful cities in the world.  For the Southbank precinct, the integration of extensive green space with less of a heavy presence of cars and a true focus of Southbank as an arts precinct is exciting. 

Coupled with a managed strategy for increased density, if done sensitively, which a number of these developments are focused on doing, Southbank could be as vibrant a precinct as that of Hong Kong or New York!

Melbourne is notoriously known for its sleek fashion, where’s your go-to shopping destination in Melbourne?

Nique for men and women, great staples!

Who does the best coffee in all of Melbourne? 

Without doubt, a Tom Thumb long macchiato is where I land every time, they’re right next to our office in Flinders Lane where we’re quite spoilt for coffee choice! 

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