Interview with IF Architecture | Yellowtrace

Yellowtrace Interviews in Partnership with Laminex.

 

Well, well, well… What do have we here? So. Much. Awesome! First of all, I would like to make a warm welcome for our new friends who are moving in as our “roomies” for our beloved #YellowtraceInterviews. Please make some noise for Laminex, y’all! Woohoo! We are super proud to be partnering with Laminex for this regular feature series, which sees us celebrating the talent, sharing the learnings and shining the spotlight on our brilliant and diverse design community. A heartfelt thanks goes out to Laminex who’s support assists us in being able to continue to share amazing design, inspiration and invaluable lessons via these in-depth profiles.

And now for the star of today’s show – Ms Iva Foschia of IF Architecture. Oh, lordy!

I’ve only had the pleasure of meeting Iva once so far. Our encounter was very brief, having shared an extremely short car ride up the street, followed by an unfinished conversation at an intimate media preview of Jardan’s beautiful new Sydney showroom, which she designed. But despite our meeting being a brief one, I am quite certain I sensed what Iva is all about. In fact, her incredible body of work tells me all I need to know, and in person, she indeed confirmed she’s an exceptionally dedicated, passionate architect who is deeply committed to her craft and her clients. To use a Dana-ism here (cover your ears, I mean your eyes, if swear words offend you) – she is fair dinkum, really gives a shit and is fucking brilliant a what she does. Despite a pretty impressive string of major projects from a broad range of significant clients under her belt, there’s no hint of ego or bullshit there. Just really great work, a huge effort and a lot of heart delivered by a very tight team.

Iva’s interests run wide and deep, and I am in no way surprised to find out she studied psychology, and arts, prior to settling into architecture. She makes an effort to retain her curiosity, wonder and excitement for the design process, which always begins and ends in a new place. Established in 2010, her practice, IF Architecture, approaches projects by blending multiple disciplines to express a singular vision. Be it a home, a store, a restaurant or a workspace, they make it their mission to create an emotional experience of a physical space that satisfies their client’s needs and objectives, now and into the future. The team draws inspiration from a myriad of influences, including art, fashion, psychology, branding, graphic design, social and cultural trends, as well as the best examples of architecture from around the world, both historical and contemporary. Hey, that sounds a little bit like Yellowtrace, no?

Today Iva shares with us many words of wisdom, both professional and personal, and I feel proud to shine a little spotlight on someone who is well on her way to cementing herself as a key player that will define the future of the Australian design & architecture industry. A legend in the making, indeed.

 

Interview: Cutler & Co by Iva Foschia, IF Architecture | Yellowtrace

Interview: Cutler & Co by Iva Foschia, IF Architecture | Yellowtrace

Interview: Cutler & Co by Iva Foschia, IF Architecture | Yellowtrace

Interview: Cutler & Co by Iva Foschia, IF Architecture | Yellowtrace
Cutler & Co in Fitzroy, Victoria. Photography by Earl Carter.

 

+ Hello Iva, welcome to Yellowtrace and thank you for taking the time to e-chat. Could you please give us a quick introduction on yourself? When did you first decide you wanted to become an architect? And what path lead you to start your business?

I’ve always had a passion for architecture and interiors since I was a child and was drawing floor plans of houses in my project books. However it was at Monash University while undertaking an Arts Degree that I took some Architectural history subjects and was re-introduced to my passion. After completing my degree, I worked for Elenberg Fraser, Nexus Designs and Projects of Imagination over the course of 5 years. It became clear to me that I was ready to start my practice when an opportunity came my way, so IF Architecture was born!

 

Interview: Cutler & Co by Iva Foschia, IF Architecture | Yellowtrace

Interview: Cutler & Co by IF Iva Foschia, Architecture | Yellowtrace

Interview: Cutler & Co by IF Architecture | Yellowtrace

Interview: Cutler & Co by IF Architecture | Yellowtrace

Interview: Cutler & Co by IF Architecture | Yellowtrace
Cutler & Co in Fitzroy, Victoria. Photography by Earl Carter.

 

+ What is your main priority when starting projects? Is there something that is fundamental to your practice – your philosophy and your process?

We aim to always get to the truth of a project. Whatever we design, it has to have the right aesthetic and be functional and practical, but also needs to reveal its unique personality and identity.

+ How is your studio structured? i.e. How many of you work in the studio, what types of skills do you have in-house, is there anything you are outsourcing, and how many projects do you handle at any one time?

There are four of us — two designers, a financial controller/strategist and myself. I also have a business coach consulting for us. We currently have about 10 projects on the go, ranging from hospitality, residential and some boutique commercial work.

 

Interview: Marion by IF Architecture | Yellowtrace

Interview: Marion by IF Architecture | Yellowtrace

Interview: Marion by IF Architecture | Yellowtrace

Interview: Marion by IF Architecture | Yellowtrace
Marion Wine Bar in Fitzroy, Victoria. Photography by Dan Hocking.

 

+ How do you organise and manage the competing demands of modern business and life? Do you have any tip or tricks you could share with us that help you in your day to day?

We keep it pretty simple, but we do use some project management tools to keep us efficient. Harvest is used for our time tracking, project expenses, timesheets and estimating. Forecast then helps us schedule these projects and allocate resources. And our financial controller Kat has been amazing in showing us how recording and analyzing our time can have a huge impact on our viability. I was trained as an architect, not a manager, so it’s been really important for me personally to extend my skills in this way.

 

Interview: Marion by IF Architecture | Yellowtrace

Interview: Marion by IF Architecture | Yellowtrace

Interview: Marion by IF Architecture | Yellowtrace

Interview: Marion by IF Architecture | Yellowtrace

Interview: Marion by IF Architecture | Yellowtrace
Marion Wine Bar in Fitzroy, Victoria. Photography by Dan Hocking.

 

+ Although you are now quite well established, the world of design and architecture is really competitive and it can be difficult to get a break. In retrospect, what do you consider to have been a turning point in your career? Has there been one project, one client, or an important set of skills you’ve developed that has changed the course of your career?

Every project is significant, and every interaction has led from one opportunity to the next. I don’t really see any one point where it became a ‘break’ – more that I just had to make sure that I saw the potential in anything I did in order to get the best outcome for that client.

 

Interview: Jardan Sydney Showroom by IF Architecture | Yellowtrace

Interview: Jardan Sydney Showroom by IF Architecture | Yellowtrace

Interview: Jardan Sydney Showroom by IF Architecture | Yellowtrace

Interview: Jardan Sydney Showroom by IF Architecture | Yellowtrace

Interview: Jardan Sydney Showroom by IF Architecture | Yellowtrace

Interview: Jardan Sydney Showroom by IF Architecture | Yellowtrace

Interview: Jardan Sydney Showroom by IF Architecture | Yellowtrace

Interview: Jardan Sydney Showroom by IF Architecture | Yellowtrace
Jardan‘s brand new Showroom in Paddington, Sydney. Photography by Sean Fennessy.

 

+ What do you feel is the most challenging part of being an architect today? And if you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?

One thing I would love to see is a range of design industries (Architecture, Interiors, Graphic Design, Industrial etc) introduced to primary age children in the school curriculum to help them appreciate the challenges of the design process from an early age. Through their education, they will become better future clients, consumers or designers themselves who are helping write better briefs and appreciate the value of good design across the board.

 

Interview: Etta by IF Architecture | Yellowtrace

Interview: Etta by IF Architecture | Yellowtrace

Interview: Etta by IF Architecture | Yellowtrace

Interview: Etta by IF Architecture | Yellowtrace

Interview: Etta by IF Architecture | Yellowtrace

Interview: Etta by IF Architecture | Yellowtrace
Etta in Brunswick East, Melbourne. Photography by Sharyn Cairns.

 

+ What are some of your methods to stay motivated, focused and expressive? And your top 3 main sources of inspiration and references you are drawn to regularly – i.e. books, magazines, websites/ blogs etc?

Travel, travel, travel. I’m answering these questions in a café in Hong Kong right now. Its inspiring to see how other people live, how they spend the time in their day. But if I can’t travel, then design blogs, newsletters and magazines are my next best resource – they bring the rest of the world to my fingertips. Yellowtrace, Dezeen, Vogue (America), Monocle, etc. ‘How I built this’ is a fascinating podcast to hear how designers or entrepreneurs brought their ideas to life. And if I want to clear my head and start the day on a good note, a pre-work morning walk around the ‘Tan is the perfect start.

 

Interview: Attica by IF Architecture | Yellowtrace

Interview: Attica by IF Architecture | Yellowtrace

Interview: Attica by IF Architecture | Yellowtrace

Interview: Attica by IF Architecture | Yellowtrace

Interview: Attica by IF Architecture | Yellowtrace

Interview: Attica by IF Architecture | Yellowtrace
Attica in Ripponlea, Melbourne, Photography by Tom Blachford.

 

+ Who or what are some of your influences? What other designers, peers and creatives in general do you admire?

I’m lucky enough to have friends, clients and peers who have started their own businesses, are creative in their own right and who manage to maintain their vision and integrity to build their dreams – they inspire me every day. And influences… Ilse Crawford, Raf Simons, Ai Weiwei, Herzog and de Meuron, Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand, Tadao Ando, M&M Paris, Ian Schrager, Anish Kapoor, Alt Group, Fearon Hay, Knight Associates… closer to home I’d have to say Robin Boyd, Roy Grounds, The Burley-Griffins, Grant and Mary Featherston. And the current Australian practices – too many to name here!

 

Interview: Apivita by IF Architecture (Visualisation by Concrete Robot) | Yellowtrace

Interview: Apivita by IF Architecture (Visualisation by Concrete Robot) | Yellowtrace
Apivita concept store in Melbourne, Australia. Visualisation by Concrete Robot.

 

+ What advice would you give to emerging designers who want to follow your path? What was one of your biggest lessons learned since starting your practice?

Don’t hold back. If you really believe in what you want to do, what’s the worst that can happen if you go for it? A dear friend told me – ‘if it doesn’t work out, you go get another job’. It can be that simple, as your friends, family will still love and support you. Businesses fail all the time. Its not necessarily a reflection on who you are or your ability. So once I understood this and pushed my ego – and my fear of failure – out of the way, I just began. On a practical side, you have to get the right people around you from early on. You can’t do it all yourself. You may have design skills, but it doesn’t mean you automatically have business acumen. You have to keep working on it.

 

Interview: Novae Melbourne Concept by IF Architecture (Visualisation by Concrete Robot) | Yellowtrace
Novae clinic & spa concept store in Williamstown, Melbourne. Visualisation by Concrete Robot.

 

+ What’s next – can you share wit us your vision, some of your goals (and some of your current projects)?

I’d love to take on an overseas project. I’d love to create a Yoga or wellness studio. I’d love to do a hotel! My vision is to work with like-minded people to help create spaces that inspire the intended audience and complement their purpose.

 

Interview: Jardan Melbourne Showroom by IF Architecture | Yellowtrace

Interview: Jardan Melbourne Showroom by IF Architecture | Yellowtrace

Interview: Jardan Melbourne Showroom by IF Architecture | Yellowtrace
Jardan Showroom in Richmond, Melbourne. Photography by James Geer.

 

Let’s Get Real:

+ What’s the best mistake you have ever made?

Saying ‘yes’ to the wrong projects /people. The more I’ve done it, the better I’ve become at recognizing when I should say ‘no’.

+ What rules do you live by?

Treat people the way you expect to be treated. Try not to judge people – you don’t know their backstory and/or the full story.

+ Your most treasured belonging?

My apartment. Coming back to my own space every night is the most comforting and secure feeling in the world.

+ What’s one thing other people may not know about you?

I was studying at University to be a psychologist!

+ It’s not very cool, but I really like…

My partner says this could be a very long list. I’ll settle with Kimojis however I think you could probably classify them more as inappropriate.

 

Interview with IF Architecture | Yellowtrace
The lovely Iva. Photo by Jessica Lindsay.

Yellowtrace Interviews in Partnership with Laminex.

 


[Images courtesy of IF Architecture. Photography credits noted.]

 

About The Author

Dana Tomić Hughes
Founder & Editor
Google+

Dana is an award-winning interior designer living in Sydney, Australia. With an unhealthy passion for design, Dana commits to an abnormal amount of daily design research. Regular travel and attendance at premier design events, enables Dana to stay at the forefront of the design world globally. While she is super serious about design, Dana never takes herself - nor design - too seriously. Together with her life and business partner, Dana is Boss Lady at Studio Yellowtrace, specialising in Design Strategy, Creative Direction and Special Projects. The studio takes a highly conceptual and holistic approach to translating brands & ideas into places & experiences.

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