Designing the Future

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Many architectural and design firms produce quality work, but the ability to continually create unique projects – and provide valuable advice to clients to ensure greater commercial success – comes from years of experience, paying close attention to the needs and wants of the market, and really listening to the needs and wants of your customers.

Unlike some traditional companies, the Australian-based firm of Marchese Partners International Pty Ltd dedicates itself to not only creating aesthetic and highly functional state of the art structures, but coming up with solutions to give its customers significant competitive advantages in the marketplace. An international firm of architects and interior designers with offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, San Diego and San Francisco, Marchese remains a leader in the design of multi-unit residential, seniors living, aged care, mixed-use, hotel, resort, commercial, and retail projects.

Founded in 1995 by Principal and Chairman Eugene Marchese, the company is today rated the fourth busiest practice in New South Wales in relation to volume of residential projects. Over the past 15 years, the firm has remained true to its ideals and founding principles. “We believe that everything we put out should be innovative, and we are about giving our clients a competitive edge in the marketplace,” says Mr Marchese. “To give them that, they need to be able to have a product that sets them apart from everyone else that they’re competing against, in the for-sale market in particular.”

Years ago, Eugene Marchese – along with a young architect named Steve Zappia – were working together for a design-build firm specialising in the design and construction of multi-family residential mixed-use projects in and around Sydney. In time, the two decided to branch out from that business. There was, says Mr Marchese, a need for commercially-orientated architects who were able to deliver not only beautiful and innovative architecture, but projects that were built and delivered on budget and on time. Back in the mid-Nineties, a number of Australian cities had embarked on urbanisation programs to bring people back to the centres, and Marchese was at the cusp of that movement towards inner-city and urban residential mixed-use projects.

“The consultants who were around at the time were probably not as focused on the developer market, or the needs of the developers in the market at the time,” says Mr Marchese, “so when Steve and I started out, we really wanted to address that opportunity, and so we focused our business on the private developer who wanted to have a product that had a point of difference, but was also able to deliver it at the right price, and within the right time frame. That’s really what drove our business, and our mission statement.” By targeting a number of high-profile Sydney developers in the urban housing market, Marchese Partners enjoyed tremendous success for a number of years in the urban housing market spawned by Sydney and Melbourne.

Know Your Clients

To maintain the company’s recipe for success over the years, Marchese Partners recognises the needs of its clients, often becoming part of a project long before it even reaches the drawing board. By understanding and appreciating the expectations of others, Marchese Partners can better advise its clients and create designs that are truly unique.

“I think where our success has been built is that we come up with solutions for clients that give them that competitive edge,” comments Mr Marchese. “For us to do that, we are continuously re-examining what the market wants, and what it doesn’t know it wants yet. Sometimes, people don’t know what they want until you give it to them.” The extra ingredient Marchese offers to its customers often results in its clients’ being able to command a greater per square metre rate than that of other properties on the same street. “We have a point of difference,” says Mr Marchese. “It’s not just the way the building looks, but the whole big idea of what we come up with for our clients.”

To celebrate the firm’s 15 years in business, Marchese Partners unveiled a number of new business developments and initiatives, including a new company logo, an updated website, and refreshed branding. A new office was established in Canberra, and a partnership was formalised with San Francisco-based retail design specialists Avila Design. These and many other initiatives and growth phases will lead the company into the next decade and beyond. One thing that will remain the same is the company’s stellar reputation, and commitment to high-quality, innovative designs.

At present, Marchese Partners has five senior designers in practice, who have been with the firm for an average of 12 years. Although every designer has his own style and way of doing things, concepts are underpinned by certain rationale and guidelines to create efficiency and maximise saleable area over gross building area. These and other fundamentals influence and inspire designers at the firm, who work in a series of teams and maintain the ability to create designs that are varied and unique.

“We don’t have this sort of homogenous design that runs through the practice,” says Mr Marchese. “We give our senior designers plenty of scope, so that we can do two buildings in one street, and they can look quite different, but there will be underlying factors that drive each one of those buildings. The efficiency, the saleability. The fundamental numbers are driven by a formula that we use in the business, but the architecture may be quite different.”

A Mix of Projects

From residential designs to hotels, commercial spaces to corporate interiors, Marchese designers specialise in these and other areas, and have evolved along with the growing business to create buildings that are iconic and timeless in design. Some, like the design for “Evo” submitted as an expression of interest to the Gold Coast City Council, calls for an $850 million proposal with two residential towers (101 and 70 storeys) set amongst a 7,000 square meter park. Others, like the recently completed Lucca Apartments, incorporate unique design elements like a floating timber box that encapsulates 49 residential apartments with six retail shops on the ground floor, making it a true masterpiece of modern design.

No matter the concept, the firm’s past success has benefited Marchese with an estimated 90 per cent repeat business. In addition, many of its clients have become friends over the years, with the firm working on 150 to 200 projects at various stages at any given time. “We are very involved with our clients, especially at the initial feasibility stage,” says Mr Marchese. “It is a process of investigation that drives a lot of our innovation. We’re always trying to find another way of doing it, to make a site that doesn’t work into a site that does work.”

Innovators in Senior Living

In recent years, the firm has expanded into several residential spheres, the senior living-aged care market in particular. The market is growing, and true to form, Mr Marchese and his team have devised a number of truly groundbreaking projects based on residences for the aged. “Senior living has gone from 20 per cent of our work two years ago… to now close to 40 per cent, and I would say it’s going to go to 60 per cent within two years.” Some of the firm’s designs, like the seniors living development Waterbrook Greenwich, are geared towards resort-style living. With 79 apartments, the complex features facilities like a bowling green, swimming pool, gymnasium, theatre and restaurant, all spaciously set against a series of extensively landscaped courtyard areas. The notion of old-fashioned senior homes is changing for the better, and Marchese is behind much of that change.

“There is a new paradigm emerging in how we treat that sector, how we treat the elderly, and how they live out their remaining years. It’s really starting to drive a paradigm shift in the market.” One of the emerging changes is having a mix of old and young together in intergenerational living, with activities that embrace the elderly and encourage them to participate in society and day to day activities. “This notion that we lock seniors away for the last 20 years is really passé. It has lived its life, and it needs to be re-looked at. Our concept is creating these campus-style developments, where you mix the uses, and you allow the community to come in and re-engage with the elderly, because the elderly still have a lot to offer.”

By continuously examining the needs of the marketplace, and coming up with novel ideas that benefit its many clients, Marchese Partners is assuring itself success for many years to come.

Home Automation

Call it ‘domotics,’ and you are likely to receive a blank stare, but refer to it as ‘smart home’ or ‘home automation,’ and you will get a nod of acknowledgement. For the past few years, consumers have heard the word ‘smart’ attached to countless products and services, from food and drink to snacks like popcorn and mobile phones, which no one seems to refer to as a ‘cellphone’ anymore. Yet what, exactly, constitutes ‘smart’?

July 16, 2020, 10:41 AM AEST