Paul Hecker is at a stage in his career where intuition, experience and confidence come together in a way that produces spaces where joy, comfort and charm collide. As a young designer, working in the interiors arm of architectural practices, both in Melbourne and London, it gave him the understanding of volume, orientation and materiality but it was through the example of one mentor that he learnt to trust his own innate judgement. ‘His advice, which I hold dear to this day, was to look at everything, to see the potential in everything, the joy (or lack thereof) and learn to make your own decisions around good and bad and find exciting ways to challenge the norms’, says Paul.
This approach ensures that he is open to the stimulus of travel, new designs in furniture and lighting, alternative ways of considering how a space is resolved, but ultimately, he edits, drawing on what is essential to the ethos of the practice. This is a philosophy both Paul and Hamish engender in their staff to create a practice that is open-minded, while questioning and distilling what is right for them and, in turn, their clients.
Paul, who is enthusiastic and ebullient by nature, expressed in his love of fashion and incredible eye for materiality, understands when a project requires an injection of theatre as much as when the dial is to be tuned down to calm. He understands the atmosphere that buildings with history impart and is a passionate advocate for the preservation of places of heritage value. Yet regardless of era his approach is to investigate the mix of light, colour, orientation and furnishings that, within a contemporary sensibility, contributes to a place that at its core feels good to be in.
Recently recognised by the South Australian Design Institute of Australia, marking 25 Design Icons past and present, for their contribution in the fields of interior design, furniture, manufacturing and design education, Paul now sits alongside the Hills Hoist and the Chrysler Charger as a national treasure.