The Journal

Visual Generosity
with Hare + Klein

Despite over three decades of experience, Meryl Hare is not resting on her laurels. Instead, her studio Hare + Klein continues to push the envelope with visually generous spaces that are abundant in scale, texture and colour. We caught up with the Sydney-based interior designer ahead of the release of her second book.

You founded Hare + Klein in 1989. How would you describe Australian interior design, then and now?

There has been a seismic shift over the past thirty years. I remember being taken aback at the post-modern trend in architecture, as well as the palette of colours – pink, grey and peach – when I first arrived in Sydney! There was also a trend in mimicking European styles of design that didn’t necessarily reflect our climate and lifestyles. I think we are now confident about our creativity, and it is evident in all spheres of interior design.

What values guide your practice?

We believe in the ethos that we can enrich lives through design. We celebrate creative diversity, authentic design and originality. We are customer-centric and believe that by fostering strong partnerships with consultants, builders, artisans and suppliers, we will deliver the best outcomes for them.

You published your first book, Texture, Colour, Comfort, in 2014. Right now we’re all seeking comfort from our homes. How do you think the inclusion of tactile elements, like a rug, can affect our mood?

Rugs hold a room together. Not only do they soften sound and give comfort, they become the canvas upon which we build the elements of a room. A good choice of rug will lift the spirits!

And your second book is coming out later this year! Can you tell us a bit about it?

Hare + Klein Interior is due for release in August. It has been a labour of love! I swore I would never do another book, but our practice produces work that I am proud of and I know how much commitment and creativity is expended by our design team in each project. I have selected fourteen homes and written about the background and creative journey of each one, included sketches, floor plans and mood boards in order to give an insight into the process to the interested reader.

We’re experiencing a change of seasons right now. What textures are you drawn to in autumn/winter? What about in spring/summer?

Our choice of texture and colour is influenced more by the brief, setting and architecture – unlike fashion, our interiors need to stand up to all seasons! 

Do you have any advice about mixing and matching colours, textures and patterns?

Identify with imagery that you are drawn to and then spend time exploring the options, working with samples to create your own mood board. Don’t commit until you are really happy and confident that it reflects your identity and taste. If you are really stuck and don’t know how to begin, have a look in your wardrobe – your choice of clothes is a good reflection of what you are comfortable with. Be sure to edit out the fashion catastrophes first!

What have you found is essential in your own living space?

Comfort is essential – a combination of the elements that please all the senses.

We strongly believe in buying fewer but better things. What are your reasons for investing in quality, timeless pieces?

 I really believe that an interior should stand the test of time. I know that’s a cliché, but in this era of social media, where trends come and go with bewildering speed, it’s not possible, for the sake of the planet, to keep discarding “stuff” without realising the consequences of what we are doing. Well-designed and crafted pieces should be chosen as an investment in the future.

Where do you turn to for inspiration?

I find inspiration everywhere! It’s sometimes hard to pinpoint where an idea comes from, but I tend to draw from nature, architecture and the work of artists and artisans. I love to find beautiful and original things, and embrace them in our interiors. We recently launched HK Edit, our concept space in Woolloomooloo, where we do just that.

These are strange times, with a lot of uncertainty about the future. How do you see the role of design in shaping communities going forward?

I see the beginning of a new awareness about the importance of the home. I think we will see a new approach to design, taking our new normal into account – embracing flexibility and honing down on the basic human needs of security and comfort. I think some good will come from this.

Finally, we can’t help but ask – what’s your favourite Armadillo rug to have underfoot?

That’s a hard one – Armadillo rugs in general are a favourite, but my own pick is Ravine!

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