Alexander &CO. has been conceived as a design agency with a charter to provide the highest quality of conceptual and strategic thinking coupled with a robust breadth of execution infrastructure.
We were lucky enough to spend five minutes getting to know the founder, Jeremy Bull to discuss their latest project Alexander House, hospitality design, furniture and much more.
JRF: Firstly, tell us a little bit about yourself and Alexander &CO?
Jeremy: I am an immigrant to Sydney, having been born and partially raised in the Middle East to Australian parents. Since my earliest memories I have been fascinated by drawing, and have done it in one form or another all my life, or at least in all my memories of it.
I was architecturally trained in Sydney, and found myself working within practices which were very focused upon Modernity. I moved from that space into a young design studio that was riding the wave of retail expansion which was happening during the end of the 2000’s.
This merged quickly into hospitality design, and I found myself with a peculiar skill-set of modernist architectural buildings and thematic hospitality interiors.
Alexander &CO. was born in 2013 from my interest in developing my own independent practice and a belief that people and culture should sit at the basis of my creative interests. We are now a team of 24, and we sit across Architectural and Interior design projects, both residential and commercial.
The practice is a development of my early experience and ongoing passion about people and culture. I am deeply passionate about building buildings, I absolutely love what I do.
We are so excited to be a part of your Alexander House project. Can you tell us about the concept behind the house and what it will be used for?
I have a personal interest in exploring ideas of a post modern, post industrial office. I see the challenge of being a human-focused practice, and the tensions this holds with traditional workplace design, and certainly also our old office model.
I have also seen that substantial and sustainable human focused practice requires a leap toward somewhat opaque working models, where the environment is able to facilitate a greater ambient health for those within it, a conscious application of sustainable principles, and a shift toward working with a high degree of flexibility and optionality.
So, Alexander House is our working prototype to test these ideas. It is the home of Alexander &CO. where our team work and our clients meet with us. It is an architectural showcase aiming to challenge preconceptions of home, land, family and work and as I mentioned above, a prototype for exploring sustainability, carbon sequestration and environmental innovation.
It is a House, which can perform as an office, like a ‘working away from home’ for our team.
Alexander House featuring our Soda Side Tables by Miniforms.
Alexander House featuring our Soda Side Tables by Miniforms.
What inspired Alexander House?
I have had lots of ideas about creating a building which can change over time as its inhabitants do, I don’t believe that most architectural projects never really finish, even the masterpieces change slowly over time. I thought then that AH could feel like an found relic, a building purpose built to age. It is filled with harvested materials which are already within the process of being repurposed, and which already have earned their relic status!
You have designed some incredible restaurants over the years. How have you noticed the industry evolving?
Thank you. I have seen our clients want to do less with their fit outs and do more with their experience. Do less, make it simpler, create less fit out, but make sure the strategy is clear, make sure the value is there for the patron, make sure the theatre of dining is still paramount to the experience.
I have seen our fit outs become more and more robust, we express the structure more, and we introduce less churn in finishes. It is a welcome change. The furnitures and lighting which naturally ages holds the brand, and the strategic planning does the work.
While we’re on that note, what’s your favourite Sydney restaurant?
Bills Bondi. So simple and ambient. Tess and I love it for its capacity to be great over and over. We never get tired of it. It never bores.
Very high on the list would also have to be Nomad. Middle Eastern/Moroccan inspired. All cooked with fire and smoke. In House charcuterie. And all dishes designed to be shared. Always a special evening.
What are your non-negotiables when specifying furniture for hospitality projects aside from the aesthetic?
Furniture gets treated terribly in F+B!. It must be fit for purpose. If it can’t wear well, we won’t specify it. The art is combining aesthetic with durability, without everything losing its scale and elegance. There is a certain practicality which comes with good F+B furniture, you would be surprised in how many ways you can break a chair, and how many ways a chair cannot fit under a table!
What is the first international city you will travel to post pandemic?
New York. With Tess.
Do you have any other creative outlets aside from interior design?
I am an obsessive reader. I read about lots of things, but mostly all non-fiction. I find the process of reading to be actually a creative process. I also obviously love architecture, and I have found developing our business and also my own personal development as a professional, parent and partner to be a work of creativity.
What is the most treasured piece of furniture you own?
I have an Artemides lamp that I dragged through Barcelona when I was 20. Tess hates it, but it sits next to our bed. It is a treasured memory of being young, broke and architecturally tortured!
Favourite clothing brand?
I pretty much live in t-shirt, jeans and boots so Saint Laurent for Boots, Nudie for Jeans. Industrie for tshirts. APC for knit wear, MJ Bale for suits.
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