Interview with Hamish Guthrie of Hecker Guthrie


Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Buzz Lightyear and Woody. Some partnerships create a unique kind of magic and are so successful and enduring, they become part of popular culture. In the interior design industry, Hamish Guthrie and Paul Hecker are one such partnership, revered for their outstanding contribution to design.

The duo met in the mid-1990s while working in architect Daryl Jackson’s office and soon discovered a mutual respect and alignment of ideas. Fast forward 19 years and their multidisciplinary studio is renowned for creating spaces that go beyond the aesthetic to evoke a sense of gravitas and belonging.

On Thursday 14 November, The Design Coach is inviting you inside the inspiring world of Hecker Guthrie. At our not-to-be missed masterclass, Paul and Hamish will talk about how designers can thoughtfully create contemporary interiors in a heritage context. In the lead-up to this exciting event, Hamish chatted to us about his design ethos and reflected on his illustrious career.

Purchase tickets to Masterclass: Hecker Guthrie here.

Paul Hecker and Hamish Guthrie, founders of Hecker Guthrie. Photo courtesy of Hecker Guthrie.

TDC: You started out working with Paul in architect Daryl Jackson’s studio. How did those years set you up for a successful career?

HG: Daryl Jackson's was incredibly vibrant, energetic and prolific and there was no shortage of great projects running through the studio. Daryl had quite an intimate way of working, he brought a personal perspective to every project which gave us a good grounding in making design less about aesthetics and more about the rigour of design.

During our time there, we had an opportunity to work on the Crown Casino project. The whole world opened up because the rule book was thrown out the window. Suddenly the tool box of ideas and the palette of materials was almost limitless which fostered a great culture of innovation and intense design. It became a great testing ground in contrast to some of the more institutional, educational or commercial work we were doing. Suddenly there was this other way of exploring design in front of us.

TDC: You’ve said that designers often start their careers focussing on a particular look but with maturity it becomes less about look and more about quality and the feeling that a space evokes. Can you expand on this concept of quality over ‘surface’ style?

HG: As a new designer, you have endless opportunities to explore ideas. You’ve come out of university where you’ve been exposed to a whole plethora of design language and architecture. From there, you have to discover your style and your take on contemporary interior design. Initially, that comes from being inspired by others. With time you start to narrow down that world and distill ideas into something that makes sense to you on a more personal level. Instead of looking at the whole spectrum for inspiration, you start to gravitate towards things that are true and honest to the way you want to work. And you start to understand that you don't need to find inspiration elsewhere because you're the one who is setting a direction and inspiring other people to engage with your ideas.