Q: Why PDINZ now?
Grahame: My former business partner and I amicably parted ways 18 months ago to concentrate on our own work. This offered new opportunities for me including being more involved with DINZ.
Q: What do you hope to contribute as PDINZ?
Grahame: I’ve been in the industry for the best part of 35 years and 20+ years’ experience of running my own studios. So I have gathered a fair bit of experience. I also hope I can contribute towards strengthening the DINZ community in Wellington.
Q: What is your role at Boyd Design Ltd and what does a ‘standard’ day look like for you?
Grahame: The only ‘standard’ part of my day is coffee and music, Nick Cave, Pearl Jam, Leonard Cohen. There’s always the aim of the work/life balance but generally goes out the door by lunchtime. Currently working on trying to group my meetings in the same couple of days to free up the back end of the week … this is work in progress.
Q: Any hobbies?
Grahame: Building, brewing (craft) and biking, I like getting my hands dirty!
Currently, I’m fascinated by the feud that started in 2017 between Anish Kapoor and Stuart Simple with what started over the “Blackest Black” paint that renders 3-D objects flat and has since moved on to other colours. I’ve been experimenting with one of the Black pigments in question.
Q: What are the main materials, forms or stylistic elements of your practice and are there tools you are keeping in your radar/hoping to upskill to?
Grahame: Texture, shadows and volume. Striving for simplicity, removal of the unnecessary. Natural materials and objects. Fun, playful and unexpected elements that put a smile on your face.
When I first started out, Sir Miles Warren insisted we had handwriting practice at the beginning of each day. At the time I didn’t appreciate the impact it would have on me later in life. It taught me discipline, composition and pride in what I do. We were drawing on drawing boards and adding watercolours to our drawings. CAD is a necessary tool but my upskilling is directed at the past art of drawing. I still believe there is a place for original drawings that get presented to clients with pride and hung on the wall after the project has finished! Printing off half a dozen copies of Sketch plans leaves me a bit flat!
Q: In 2018 Rowbotham Boyd Architecture won a Silver at the Best Design Awards for Fortune Favours. Despite common misunderstanding, that type of distressed, industrial look is fairly difficult to do well. What do you think endeared the judges to that project, what do you feel was the toughest thing to accomplish in that project?
Grahame: Respecting the past, understanding the building’s patina and listening to what the building is saying. Maintaining the dignity of what you’re working with and considering the story moving forward. Don’t impose fashion onto a building of age but build up subtle layers of texture, colour, materials that continue on the story with respect. A light touch has more impact than a heavy hand.
Q: What do you think architecture and commercial architecture/interiors can contribute to the future of New Zealand's cities?
Grahame: It catalogues a past, whether good or bad. Moving forward we can learn from the positives and the negatives.
I’m an avid Formula1 follower who is constantly surprised at the way the rules have dramatically changed over the years to reflect the changing face of the world and yet the performance and global responsibility of F1 has improved and is continuing to do so. Change isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The construction industry in general could learn a lot…. don’t get me started on how much waste a construction site generates over a build!