Juliette Arent and Sarah-Jane Pyke established Arent&Pyke in 2007 with the desire to inject a new design spirit into people’s homes. Nine years on they have grown to a team of 12, undertaking the full scope of interior architecture and design, from major renovations and wet areas to art selection and styling. With Sarah’s background in interior architecture and Juliette’s background in interior design and fine arts there is richness to their work. But this richness runs far deeper than the look and feel of a space and is driven by their understanding of people’s daily rituals, routines and relationships and the possibilities of how they could live in a space.
“When we design someone’s living space we become quite intimate with their day-to-day experience of each other and the really important relationships they have with one another,” says Juliette. As the designers reimagine the space and replan the way it is used – as they realise its possibilities – the design process becomes not only transformative for the house but for those who live there. “Clients have dreams about how they want to live and how a space is going to change their lives and we get to be a part of that story,” Sarah adds.
This all speaks to Arent&Pyke’s mission to “help and inspire people to live a beautiful life,” which is very much influenced by the pair’s own values and how they seek to live life. “We are always referring to the way we ourselves experience life knowing there are certain things design can make easier,” they explain. “It’s not an aesthetic word necessarily; rather we’re helping people tap into beauty in life.”
This human-centred approach is well suited to a design practice focussed on residential architecture, but they have also recently added commercial and hospitality projects to their portfolio with the award-winning Alex Hotel, and with no loss of attention to creating a space that helps people feel at home. Working to the concept of “hotel as home,” the design team successfully created a space that fosters the same emotional connection as their residential projects. “It came down to the way people use the shared spaces and making them feel incredibly inviting so that people form a connection or feel at ease the minute they walk into the space,” says Juliette.
Art also plays a significant part in Arent&Pyke’s projects, adding not only to the richness of the aesthetic, but to that of life in general. “Art is important not only for how it can make a space feel but for starting a dialogue about art, the role of art in society, and the importance of having these things in our life,” says Juliette. They help clients source pieces from exhibitions and galleries and are great supporters of Artbank, through which the Alex Hotel leased a significant collection and commissioned a piece for the lobby.
In addition to their project work, the studio produces the design and lifestyle blog In/Out with interviews and content that extends upon the mission of Arent&Pyke and expresses what they, and others, think it means to live a beautiful life. And for designers Juliette and Sarah that, like everything they do, is far more than an aesthetic; it’s the “experiential and environmental notion of living a beautiful life” that they seek to create.
Photography by Anson Smart, Felix Forest, Tom Ferguson and Julie Adams.