Architect -
Designer Nickolas Gurtler
Construction -
Photography Timothy Kaye

Nickolas Gurtler On Restrained Glamour and Designing For Distinction

In Nickolas Gurtler’s veins, the essence of design courses like a timeless river. From his grandmother’s early mastery of interior aesthetics, long before it bore that distinguished title, to his mother’s penchant for arranging furniture in the various homes they inhabited during his upbringing, the Gurtler family’s heritage is woven deeply into the tapestry of artistry.

For Nickolas, destiny called with a whisper, though not without a few detours through life’s serendipitous avenues. “I momentarily wandered off the path,” Nickolas muses, recounting a chapter spent embellishing the narratives of luxury fashion houses as a visual maestro—arguably, not far removed from the realm of interior design. Gucci and Chanel were mentioned in his repertoire, but Nickolas, unwavering in his intent, found his way back to his core passion and returned to university to finish what he started.

We’re always trying to push the boundaries, push the client out of their comfort zone and into something they never knew they wanted

 At the ambitious age of 25, Nickolas started a new chapter— Nickolas Gurtler Office —a multi-disciplinary practice of designers, architects, and stylists based in Melbourne. Eight years later, the Gurtler name is a staple in Australia, being nominated for Emerging Design Practice in the Australian Interior Design Awards 2021, and is quickly gaining momentum internationally, with Nickolas working on projects in the United States of America right now. 

In client collaborations, Nickolas employs a nuanced approach. Rather than inquiring about their foremost preferences, his initial question probes their aversions. “While people often grasp their likes, the uncharted territory of dislikes gives us a broader design canvas,” he notes, unlocking untapped creative potential.

“People come to us because they like what we do,” Nickolas shares, who has no shortage of projects and clients in the works.
Being a small team, Nickolas Gurtler Office excels at providing a personalised one-on-one experience. “I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the concept of timelessness, and I’ve come to the conclusion that good design is forever.”

“Our attention to detail sets us apart from larger firms. I’ll admit I’m a bit of a perfectionist; I tend to dwell on the tiniest details for perhaps more hours than I should. It’s why I steer clear of hourly billing,” he jokes.

Nickolas likens his design philosophy to the artistry of Belgium’s contemporary design, “restrained glamour, he calls it. “I think of it as minimalism with glamorous elements, such as natural stone and metals, lots of metal,” he muses.

Most of his work has been in the aesthetic medicine and beauty space, which Nickolas admits he never quite considered before but has become a leader in the emerging sector. The other half is dedicated to luxury residences, spanning from Victoria to New South Wales. Although talking about his latest project sparks a release of endorphins I hadn’t yet heard in his voice.

“We’re working on a country home in the Macedon Ranges, and it’s the perfect culmination of my personal experience and aesthetic,” he says. “We have a lot of free reign on this project. The client yearns for a retreat that defies the traditional notion of a country house. “Practicality is not their concern,” Nickolas chuckles, “but they do desire a good-looking kitchen. They just prefer not to labour over a stove.”

Nickolas’ team drew inspiration from an unexpected source—the world of Equestrianism. Hours were devoted to studying the graceful lines and rustic charm of barns, from which he gleaned the essence of his vision.

“I’ve incorporated bronze details reminiscent of horseshoes and touches of tanned leather,” he says.

The nod to Equestrianism holds a personal resonance for Nickolas. “I grew up surrounded by horses,” he muses, “so this project is not only delightful but also steeped in nostalgia.”

As Nickolas himself puts it:

“design isn’t just about creating beautiful spaces; it’s about crafting experiences. It’s about eliciting emotions and making people feel at home, even in unconventional spaces.”

Though residential and commercial projects are the bread and butter of Nickolas Gurtler Office, Nickolas admits he would love to work on multi-residential projects.

“I’m passionate about working with developers on multi-residential development projects that offer bespoke approaches, attracting high-end individuals. There’s demand for high-density living without the need to sacrifice the benefits of luxury living—especially for downsizers,” he says.

“That’s my next goal.”

PROJECT Nickolas Gurtler
CATEGORIES Interior Design

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