One Design Office (ODO) is a Melbourne-based studio working at the intersection of design and the built form to create engaging experiences. ODO collaborated with Milligram Studio on their first lighting collection and designed the Milligram store that has recently opened on Lygon St in Carlton.

Meet Jon, the Director at One Design Office.

We sat down with John to talk about what inspires his design and tips for creating an inspiring space.

We’re very excited about our Carlton store opening. As the designers, what was the inspiration behind the look of the store?

One of our favourite designers is Japanese industrial designer/architect Naoto fukasawa. In the early stages of the design for Milligram Carlton, we were inspired by his idea of 'objective thinking'; that is, we wanted to design a store that didn't impose our own design style onto Milligram's products, but one that was humble, timeless, and served as a part of the ambient environment of the brand. This drove us to design a store that acted as a consistent canvas for the retail product, rather than trying to create a loud, architectural statement. The result is a series of curved, seamless walls and forms, which serve as a soft backdrop to the vibrant product. We intentionally treated shelving as extractions out of the architectural mass, rather than imposing isolated and independent showpieces. Due to the small nature of the store and the relatively low ceiling height, an important part of the design was to use integrated lighting to create an ambient warmth and glow, illuminating the whole interior as a singular lantern.

Your offices are beautifully pared back and minimalist. What are your top tips for creating a useful and inspiring space?

Our design ethos is always founded on 'design that works' - that is, creating products, spaces, and architecture that is as functional as it is beautiful. We've never sought to create "minimalist spaces", however we often find that the spaces we design end up being simple, intentional, and pared back due to the exclusion of unnecessary objects.

We believe a useful and inspiring space needs to be one that caters for different personalities and individuals, and doesn't just impose fixed work methods. For us that means a mix of open plan space for collaboration, partitioned rooms when privacy is desired, plenty of pin-up space to facilitate the sharing of thoughts and ideas, and a mixture of intimate and expansive spaces. Another key to maintaining a functional and inspiring space is Hierarchy. This can come in the form of open desk space down to closed storage space, allowing a natural hierarchical relationship to form between a worker and their instruments/tools.

What essential tools do you have in your work space that helps with productivity? 

We're big on collaboration, so most of our office is open plan which encourages ideas to be shared, critiqued, and developed. This is one of the main reasons we've clad a lot of our office in Autex, an acoustic wall lining that serves as pin-up space for discussions and informal collaboration. We also believe that it's important to test ideas in the virtual and physical. We have a fabrication room that is decked out with a lasercutter, modelling tools, and an array of materials for us to build models, test ideas, and translate what's in the head, into a physical outcome. We can never go without the traditional Pen and Paper, however it's impossible to ignore the importance of technology. We utilise the efficiency and power of several 3D softwares to design and document our ideas for prototyping and production/construction. Another recent favourite tool has been the iPad Pro, which we've found is great for sketching ideas quickly, editing thoughts, impromptu presentations, and sending progressive ideas across to clients or collaborators.

What does a typical day for you involve?

It's safe to say that a typical day involves a mixture of planning, resolving, designing, and forecasting; which means jumping in and out of Sketchup or Solidworks, whipping up sketches on the iPad, internal meetings with project teams, impromptu discussions with the leadership team, and ongoing meetings with potential clients, existing clients and project stake holders... all whilst keeping an eye on the growing pile of emails! Every day is exciting!

What’s next for ODO?

Our passion is to use thoughtful and meaningful design to influence all spheres of daily life. Some great opportunities have recently allowed us to expand our impact into the travel and lifestyle space. We're currently designing a luggage range which is due to be released in late February 2019, and we're working with an exciting boutique hotel brand that is coming to Melbourne soon! We've also begun to expand further into Design Strategy, which allows us to bring our process and thoughts into projects from a holistic perspective, including branding, marketing, and product strategy.

Check out more of ODO here.