Paul Hecker and Hamish Guthrie have built a career for themselves designing some of Australia’s most famous pleasure dens. From the 1970s Miami glamour of Sydney’s Ivy, to the indulgent elegance of Bistro Guillaume in Melbourne’s Crown Casino, Hecker Guthrie’s work has a decidedly hedonistic pedigree.
But despite their well-earned reputation for creating of-the-moment temples to concerns of a more corporeal nature, it’s not hedonism that animates the practice’s work. The pair are driven by a desire to make affective spaces that have genuine meaning for the people that occupy them.
One of the first things Hecker refers to when describing his practice’s approach is the importance of layering. It’s an axiom so commonplace as to be banal, if all he were referring to were the strata of soft furnishings, artwork and objects that form the bedrock of any even halfway successful fit-out. Hecker Guthrie’s layers, though, are a much more complex confection – certainly well composed, but also hyper sensitive to the symbolic power of objects and stylistic eras, as well as their experiential and emotive potential. It is in Hecker Guthrie’s dedication to craft that these concerns find common expression.
– Excerpt of portrait by Maitiú Ward