On Gladstone Road is an old style brick shop front, typical of Highgate Hill and South Brisbane; contained within is a delicious slice of design creativity.
Sitting at the end of a flight of terrazzo steps we find Twofold Studio – an award-winning boutique interior design firm led by the understated, yet elegant duo of Jacque Jones and Melissa Blight.
The pair is well known in Queensland interior design and architectural circles having both worked in large commercial design firms where they did extended stints in Hong Kong, Melbourne, Darwin and Sydney at various stages in their career.
In 2012, a desire for a more balanced lifestyle and with four young children between them, Twofold Studio was born.
“We wanted to continue our careers in the design industry which we had dedicated so much of our time and learning to, but with a personal control of work-life balance,” said Jacque.
The projects that Twofold Studio has worked on are rich and varied and can include anything from colour consultation for a newly designed product or an entire interior refit.
Over the past six years their work has evolved from mostly residential projects to more of a commercial focus.
They have designed interior concepts for spas, hotel resorts, offices and last year they collaborated with studio neighbour James Davidson Architect on The Elizabeth Picture Theatre interiors.
Work is acquired through word-of-mouth, recommendation and collaborations with architecture firms. Jacque and Melissa have never advertised outside of having a website and an Instagram account.
Each year, Jacque and Melissa undertake a pro bono project such as providing design interventions for a C+K crèche or developing free workshops for State Library of Queensland’s Little Designers program.
“When we started our business, we thought it was important to take on not-for-profit projects as a way to give back to the community.
“The projects are very small but clever design solutions can make a difference to any space,” explained Jacque.
Jacque and Melissa moved to their new studio late last year. A converted one-bedroom, one-bathroom flat has been transformed; there is room for their work stations, storage shelves and meeting table.
It’s a compact but stylish space where Jacque and Melissa have purposefully retained the interior’s character. For instance, there was never a question about removing the original mid-century linoleum flooring which they both love.
Small but effective interventions are employed throughout the studio. Think white on white walls; Ray Crooke and Australian Indigenous art lithographs; and ceiling to floor sheer curtaining, cleverly partitioning their work space.
When asked about their favourite part of their new studio space the modernist meeting table gets a collective nod of approval.
“The small Alvar Aalto meeting table space is where collaborative cups of coffee and incidental meetings take place,” said Jacque. “Although it is directly next to our work space, it is a dedicated table where we can focus our attention on the task at hand, away from the screen.”
Curiously, the plethora of fabric samples, colour swatches and design publications required for their work is absent from the studio, as Jacque and Melissa access all they need online.
“We found we didn’t need to store all of the samples and technical information like we did in the past because everything is now available digitally,” said Melissa, “We order in hard samples on a project by project basis.”
Design books Twofold Studio are reading
Jacque has been continuing her reading on Modernism and has been enjoying Robin Boyd’s writings in Living in Australia – Boyd describes his design approach and vision through his own projects which are still relevant and inspirational today. She has also been reading Hot Modernism – Queensland Architecture 1945 – 1975 and researching colour through Le Corbusier’s Polychromie Architecturale.
Melissa has been inspired by Atmospheres: Architectural environments; surrounding objects the book based on a lecture given by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor. She has also enjoyed a laugh at the Peter and Jane-style picture book satire of modern art We go to the gallery by Miriam Elia.
They regularly read contemporary design magazines such as Indesign, Artichoke and Architecture Australia as well as Assemble Papers which is an online publication that explores the culture of living closer together.
Melissa has a subscription to The New Yorker and regularly wishes she was back there!