Welcome to Canberra with New Best Friend

Published:  June 20, 2013
Welcome to Canberra with New Best Friend

This week we’re travelling around the country, visiting a few select cities, and having a local studio be our guide. Today we’re in Canberra with Karmin Cooper & Jacinda Jackson, otherwise known as New Best Friend.

What do you love about Canberra?
The seasons, the trees and the beautiful skyline. It doesn’t leave you feeling overwhelmed like a bigger city can.

What would you like to see done to improve it?
A bit more pride of place would be nice. It’s easy to be negative about where you live but unless you’re willing to make a change, you can get busy liking it.

What role does the place where you live play in your design practice?
We could be doing what we do anywhere and it would probably have a very similar feel. Friends, colleagues and the Internet are where we draw a lot of our inspiration. Canberra is lucky to have great support for the Arts and being involved with that gives us plenty of motivation.

What can you tell us about your local design community?
We have to admit, we could make more of an effort to be connected with our local design community. Canberra has a mix of larger and smaller scale studios, each with their own strengths and styles. We spent time in larger studios prior to starting New Best Friend; which gave us the opportunity to work with some very talented people and we maintain those connections. Collaborating with others is something we really enjoy but for us, colleagues are not only limited to Canberra.

The Australian design industry is largely centered around our major capital cities of Sydney & Melbourne. How do you think we can strengthen the ties between these cities and the rest of the country, as well as the presence of regional Australian studios on the world stage?
We don’t believe that there is a concise or straightforward way to answer this. The most important thing for us is to do good work. Our local industry suffers from the perception that good design comes from bigger cities, in fact the comment ‘very Melbourne’ or ‘very Sydney’ seems to be a popular way to describe anything new or interesting that happens in Canberra. Perhaps changing the local perception of design is a good place to start?

What is one thing a visitor must do when they visit your town?
Ride, walk or drive up to the Mt Ainslie lookout and enjoy the view. It gives you a real sense of how designed our city really is, pockets of trees and buildings, it’s beautiful. Afterwards you could grab a bike and a picnic and head to Commonwealth Park.

Take a look at the work of New Best Friend.

Head all the way up north with Zann St Pierre.
Travel a short way north-east to Newcastle with Zookraft.
Go far west to Fremantle with Hoop Studio.

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