This is intentional, as one client may not share the same needs, or aesthetic intentions, as another. Michael Hogg and Greg Lamb, the co-founders of Hogg & Lamb, say their approach to architecture and design is predominantly informed by the client rather than a set style they are known for and engaged to roll out time after time.
Those two approaches form the basis of the two camps Michael calls the foxes and the hedgehogs. “The fox can adapt to any situation and make the best out of it, whereas the hedgehog has one idea of how to survive, and that’s what they do every time,” he says, aligning their studio with the foxes.
With each new ‘situation’ they are adapting to, (i.e. the client they are working with) they’ll ask the client to consider what they like, not necessarily what they need: as often the client may not know this explicitly yet. They’ll begin designing options early on with a general size and overall purpose in mind, which is usually informed by the client’s present situation and possible future evolutions. Michael and Greg use this period to refine the brief, exploring possibilities in and around it.
While this holistic approach considers the entire house, it very much zeroes in on the kitchen. “There’s an architectural idea for the house, and then we transfer that idea to the kitchen, being one of the most important rooms of the house: what is the idea of the house, and how does the kitchen reinforce that idea?” says Michael. “The benchtops aren’t made out of stone because I like stone, they’re made out of stone because the idea for the house is reinforced by using stone,” he adds by way of example.
One of their recent projects was a house for a minimalist couple and their children. Michael and Greg honoured their clients by designing the major appliances – ovens, fridges and a microwave – out of view into a butler’s pantry. Additionally, the legs of the kitchen island mirror that of the dining table, making it easily thought of as furniture. “Because of the way the island bench has been detailed, it can operate in a lot of different ways,” says Michael.
For one of their current projects, Michael and Greg have designed an outdoor shower atmosphere in the middle of the house. Accessible from one of the bedrooms, this particular shower is completely uncovered and open to the sky, although a more traditional covered shower remains an option beside it.
Across all the spaces they’ve worked on, from residences to hospitality projects and even a church, one lesson that stands out to them is to never lose sight of purpose and usability. “Things have to work functionally in order for the architectural idea to be experienced,” says Michael. Perhaps in one, single way, all their projects do share a common thread.
Hogg & Lamb
Photography by Holly Graham
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