We own a number of properties throughout the city that are ideally suited as workspaces to artists and others working in creative industries. We chat to Amelia Holliday, one half of Aileen Sage Architects – one of the many studios taking advantage of our creative spaces program, which offers spaces at 101 – 111 William Street at reduced rates. Check out their space below.

Q: Could you tell us a little bit about Aileen Sage?

A: Aileen Sage is a pseudonym for the collaborative studio of architects Isabelle Toland and Amelia Holliday. We aim to produce projects that can intercept the everyday by using innovative and economical ways of making the banal beautiful.

Architecture should seem like a form of magic – a means of creating joy through the rediscovery of the familiar. It is not just visual. We also care about how things sound, smell and feel. We work on projects ranging in scale and on projects in urban, suburban and rural locations – with artists, engineers, fellow designers and craftspeople.

Q: Where were you based previously?

A: We were working on projects from our living rooms, out of hours from our previous roles at Neeson Murcutt Architects. The availability of the William Street space gave us to confidence to concentrate on our new venture full time and make the leap.

Q:What do you look for in an office and how do you normally go about doing so?

A: Ideally we were looking for a shared space with lots of light close to home, childcare and industry contacts. Of course most of these spaces are also very expensive! The fact that the space is subsidised means that we have low overheads and can concentrate on growing our business rather than just making ends meet.

Q: What did the application and move-in process involve?

A: We found out about the program through the head tenant – David Lakes of Lochbuild – a past collaborator. David was responsible for the tender process and we came on board late in the piece. We helped David select furniture for the space, worked out a layout and coordinated the “paintovation” in the weeks prior to the move in.

Q: What type of space do you have?

A: It’s an open plan studio, currently shared by six offices. The space uses furniture to define each office, with bookshelves used as partitions. This means there is a lot of flexibility and each office area can grow or shrink as required. We have a fantastic communal meeting table which also doubles as our lunch area and a gallery space for small exhibitions or additional working space.

Q: How are you using the space/what’s the best thing about it?

A: Great light, a nice view out over Darlinghurst, good central location (just far enough out of the CBD to feel like a relaxed area to work in, but close enough to feel conveniently central).

Q: Did you have any suggestions for improvement for the program? What are some benefits?

A: We believe it’s important and healthy for small companies to share spaces. This encourages cross-pollination of ideas, an open-mindedness to other ways of working and a better understanding of how other businesses work. We often discuss architectural problems with the other architects in the space. We don’t always share the same taste in music so there is lots of give and take…

Q: What are some projects you are working on now or looking forward to?

A: We are currently working on two new houses, a small gallery and office fitout.

Q: Do you have a favourite cafe/bar/spot in the area?

A: Flour & Stone is our favourite café – a typical day will normally involve at least a couple of visits for coffee, sandwiches and treats. Miss Chu’s is also great for a nice box of fresh spring rolls or a warming pho on a cooler day.

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