At Home with Mark Simpson

Now that we have a little more space between us and a lot more time on our hands, we figured it’s the perfect moment for everyone to get to know each other a little better.

This week we’re at home with… Mark Simpson

Designer, and the Creative Director of DesignOffice the Melbourne-based architectural and interior design practice,

In 25 words or less, describe your relationship with Tait

I am a designer, and, along with Damien Mulvihill, joint Creative Director of DesignOffice. We’ve worked with the good people at Tait over many years, most recently designing the Melbourne and Sydney showrooms.

Where are you locked down / holed up? Who with? 

In Chewton, in the Victorian Goldfields, along with my partner Max and our canine companion; B.

How are you still creating while isolating?

Damien and I are still able to spend quite a bit of our time in the studio so continue to do most of our drawing and thinking there. But, due to the inter-twined and mobile nature of our creative lives, I’m able to continue to work from here just as easily. In a slightly analogue way, a notebook and pen continue to be my preferred tools, although I am taking this opportunity to finesse my skills with the iPad pencil!  The rest of the team are all working from home so anything which improves the ease of the remote dialogue is welcome.

Are you leaning into cabin fever or ditching it for A Life Outside?

We’re very lucky up here to be on the edge of the national park so, thankfully, I can keep moving and maintain variety in my surroundings – even if its a bushwalk in a different direction to the day before!  Its fair to say that I’m not particularly good at sitting still – I still find that much of the best creative thinking comes when you are on the move so I’m making plenty of time to keep walking and cycling.

What are you surprised that you don’t miss at all and why?

I’m finding that people are being much more discerning about organising meetings.  I enjoy meeting up face to face and communicating in person, and it’s an invaluable part of our process, but its fair to say that we all end up spending time in meetings that we don’t always need to be in.  At the end of the day, the less meetings there are, the more time there is to work with the team on creative solutions and detail.

What’s the best part of your day? 

When I’m in the studio, it’s the mornings. The low autumn sun is coming in from the east and Damien and I have plenty of time (and space!) to immerse ourselves in projects.  Up here, I think it’s dusk. Starting to cook, lighting a fire (in Tait’s glorious Element fire pit of course) a glass of wine and watching the light change outside.  The colours have been amazing in the last few weeks – it feels different every day.

What have you learnt from lockdown? 

That I love travel and being on the move and that I cherish seeing (and hugging!) people in person.  As much as technology and video calls have made it easy to stay connected and creative, Im missing the timbre of human voices and the nuance of personal interactions. Its also been a good reminder of just how much I value our hospitality industry – so much of what I love about Melbourne is the diversity and quality of such a vibrant and convivial collection of cafes, restaurants and bars – the heartbeat of the street has been missing in these recent months.

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