Property developer UEM Sunrise Berhad today hosted its inaugural architecture symposium in Melbourne featuring presentations and masterclasses from some of the world's most renowned architects.
More than 250 people attended the symposium to hear presentations and masterclasses from Professor Philip Cox AO, Founder of the Australian-based Cox Architecture; Gianluca Racana, Director of London-based Zaha Hadid Architects; Callum Fraser, Co-Founder of the Australian-based Elenberg Fraser; and Astrid Piber, Partner of UNStudio from Amsterdam.
They were joined by Westmoreland Palon, Consul General of Malaysia in Melbourne, and Raymond Cheah, Chief Operating Officer, Commercial of UEM Sunrise who also delivered the opening address on behalf of UEM Sunrise.
The event was held in Deakin Edge in Federation Square and attendees included undergraduates and architecture students from Melbourne University, RMIT, Monash University, LaTrobe University, Deakin University and other leading educational institutions; architects; design aficionados; industry players and professionals.
The symposium provided an opportunity for participants to gain insights into the global evolution of architectural luxury and design, with presentations by the four internationally acclaimed architects. Entitled Luxury: Allusion. Illusion. Elusion. Each presentation at the symposium explored the concept of luxury, how it has evolved over time, and challenges the notion of luxury in today's context of materialism and commodity.
Astrid Piber of Amsterdam-based UN Studio, presented a paper entitled Luxury Now? commented: "What is luxury in one's living environment is subject to personal preferences and lifestyle, and it has been evolving. During every epoch the values seem to shift: think about high-quality craftsmanship for art-deco environments versus technological sophistication for our 'smart' homes. We must acknowledge the shift from a crafted definition of luxury to an experience-driven one. Smart technologies allow for incorporation of flexibility, sustainability and automation, but individuality and adaptation of ones' home to different lifestyles is a personal luxury nowadays. With our high-pressure lifestyles, luxury is as simple as time itself. The experience of the everyday through natural conditions that vary throughout a day, a month or a year, is very personal. By design we can incorporate these aspects into the overall concept of living."
Ms Piber worked on Le Toison D'Or in Brussels.[/caption]
Professor Philip Cox AO of COX Architecture, who gave a talk on Sumptuousness in the Urban Environment said: "Everyone aspires for improvement, trading up, aspiring to a better place, celebrating sumptuousness, comfort, elegance and style. Within the urban environment especially in the CBD, towers do not always aspire to this, for many of the buildings developed have a degree of sameness, albeit they are tall, well positioned, have address and are built of fine materials. Sumptuousness and luxury go beyond that. It means the satisfaction of the human spirit, visually, aesthetically, uniqueness, style and function. Luxury means the elevation of spirit, the excitement of being there, the sense of euphoria of a designed space. Luxury can be small or large. It depends on uniqueness."
One of Phillip Cox's projects was the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum in Winton.[/caption]
Founding partner of Melbourne-based Elenberg Fraser, Callum Fraser, presented a paper entitled Permissive Architecture - New Luxury in Architecture Beyond Lifestyle, and his take on luxury was an aspirational one.
"While basic products aim to satisfy a need and branded products exist to fulfill a desire, the role of luxury is not to respond to an individual's needs or desires, but to their dreams. The expectation of a luxury brand is to not just deliver on expectation, but to far exceed it, and to create a lasting memory of unparalleled attention, excellence and uniqueness," said Mr Fraser.
Callum Fraser's portfolio includes Premier Tower in Melbourne.[/caption]
Gianluca Racana of Zaha Hadid Architects ended the symposium with a presentation entitled New Parameters of Luxury, where he articulated: "The new perception of luxury is shifting from acquiring things to acquiring experiences, less focused on material owning and more on personal quality of life. Luxury, in its new context, is the enjoyment of the best in life, the experience of beauty, knowledge, well-being in an environment with a strong sense of place and inspiring contemporary design and technology."