Traveller, photographer, architect; Nick Souksamrane boasts the sort of dream CV that you’d make up if you were trying to catfish someone. But trust us when we tell you he is 100% real. While he’s the first to admit that he’s still finding his feet in the world of design, Nick has already extracted a wealth of learnings over the course of his short career. So we asked him to share a few.
Mister Wolf: First thing’s first, it’s 7am, you’re up and about of the world can wait?
Nick: I’m not a morning person! But if I am awake then, there’s probably a very strong coffee in one hand and my phone with news in the other—mostly to catch up on what’s happened overnight.
Have you always had a love of design? What led you to become an architect?
I can’t recall when I first developed a love of design, but I’ve always had a liking for simplicity, a love of putting things together and a love of photography.
From a young age I absolutely adored reading maps with beautiful graphics and basically spent all my spare time doing that. At about age 12 I started designing whole cities in my own versions of street directories. I remember there was this one particular city which filled a notebook of 96 pages… I got so detailed I drew how I imagined these cities’ buildings looked, and from there, I guess designing buildings was just a natural progression.
At about age 12 I started designing whole cities in my own versions of street directories
Where do you find your inspiration for new projects?
I’d definitely say from travelling—I try to see as much as I can. Also from getting out to see other designers’ work around town, reading and watching talks of other designers speaking about how they derived their work. I really believe the more you see and absorb, the richer your design sensibility would be and the more you have to draw upon.
Architects need to marry form with function. Do you have a process that ensures neither side of the equation suffers for the other?
No, I can’t say I do. But I do think it’s fine for form to follow function. However, form should never really dictate the function beneath… That’s my opinion anyway.
What sets a Nick Souksamrane building apart from those of other architects? How do you ensure your work is uniquely yours?
I don’t think my work is any more special than that of other architects if that’s what you’re asking—there’s just so many great architects around. I’m also still trying to find my feet as an architect as I experiment with different expressions project to project. One thing I do is strive to craft simple and subtle architecture; the complexity behind creating something perceived as simple is a challenge that I really enjoy.
How would you like to develop your craft into the future?
As mentioned earlier, I’m really still just trying to find my feet as an architect. Part of me has a love for simple and uncomplicated design, however the other part of me would like to experiment with design a little more—be a bit more bold and radical perhaps. Maybe it’s a combination of the two and a balance somewhere in between which will eventually form the essence of my work?
I think advances in technology will also play a crucial part in assisting the way we do our craft—smarter and more efficient perhaps. It should not inform the way we design, however. I could do another whole segment on that topic!
It’s 7pm on a weeknight – are you working, resting or creating?
I’m usually still in the studio working on projects at that time. I find during the day I like to discuss, collaborate and share ideas with colleagues. It is in the hours after that my head is down and where I find myself most productive—further proof I’m not a morning person!
For those readers with some time on their hands, with a love of architecture, what would you recommend they catch up on as soon as possible? What do you think might inspire them?
Again, I think travel and physically seeing the architecture would be the best way to understand works—there are lots of great examples here in Australia so we don’t have to go far. There are also lots of great talks happening. One off the top of my head is The Architect’s Bookshop (Surrey Hills) are hosting a series of free online talks called Isolation Talk Series—Adam Haddow of SJB speaks to Australian architects during these isolated times. Definitely get onto those!
Also a favourite coffee table magazine of mine is CEREAL. The magazine’s composition, photography, architecture and design content just seems so seamless. The texture and weight of paper also feels just right!
Nick’s isolation recommendations
For the architecture fan: Isolation talks by The Architect’s Bookshop
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Keen to check out Nick’s work? Head to his aesthetically pleasing Instagram—@ncik—to bask in the magnificence of his photography, which features his own architecture from time to time.