Habitus: What led you to where you are?
Salvador Farrajota: The path to starting my own practice is probably like many other architects; university, work experience and registration, then attempting some private work for family and friends while still being employed full time.
I spent 10 years at Ellivo (Brisbane-based firm), starting out as a student through to becoming a registered architect. I gained experience in a variety of typologies working for a range of clients. It probably was not until my boss at the time, and mentor, approached me to help with his new family home that it clicked for me. After delivering predominately medium to large-scaled projects for many years, I felt that I needed a change and a new challenge.
What does home mean to you?
Somewhere I feel comfortable, that’s not too big but has something for everyone, and Brisbane is that for me.
How does your home reflect your passions, interests and creativity?
Brisbane is a great city. I’ve lived here for 18 years now and in the last half a dozen years in particular, I’ve seen the city develop into a vibrant and diverse place, particularly in the inner ring suburbs.
Music/art/design and the general creative scene has been growing from strength to strength in which I immerse myself in whenever I can.
How do you balance personal and professional life?
Lots of lists, managing clients’ expectations and good communication have kept life reasonably balanced. As the portfolio of work slowly grows so does our profile and I’m in the process of growing the studio.
How do you split your time between work and play?
Anything that allows me to clear my mind. Riding custom motorcycles have become a passion in recent years. The custom design aspect of motorcycles is what drew me in initially and the lifestyle, the inclusive community and travel associated with it has kept me interested.
What obstacles have you had to overcome?
It was a confidence thing for me. I knew that I would never be the best designer, so I focused on trying to become a well-rounded architect (and still working on it), particularly important as I’ve essentially been operating as a sole practitioner. Looking after your mental health is also important, I am passionate about my profession, but I don’t live to work.
What’s something you wished you had known before setting out on this career path?
There are too many to list and it’s probably impossible to fully prepare yourself for anything anyway, but if I could pass on any advice to young architects, it would be to learn as much about as many things as possible, and if you can’t get these opportunities from your job, find somewhere else where you can.
Why do you believe culture, art and design are important?
It allows us to tell the story of a place, reflect on the past and look to the future. In my opinion, art and design as a reflection of culture are undefined, anyone can participate, and anyone can learn from those who create it.