The relationship between client and designer can make or break a project. A successful working partnership is founded on trust, communication and respect – and it is these characteristics that often lead to the best work. As designers, it is your responsibility to show the value that good design can bring, while working within the constraints and business prerogatives set out by your clients. Listening, understanding and engaging not only helps projects go more smoothly, but makes for lasting business relationships.

For Melbourne-based studio Carr, the Norton Rose Fulbright Sydney office, which features in this issue, marks its thirteenth time working for the law firm over 19 years. Over this period, Carr has become acutely familiar with its client’s aspirations, working styles and evolution, and the communication process between designer and client has become intuitive rather than directive.

Kerry Hill Architects has worked with its client Aman for 30 years, creating 15 hotels (and counting) in eight countries, with Aman Kyoto – another project featured in this issue – its most recent. When I asked director Justin Hill what makes this such a successful relationship, he said it came down to trust and patronage, and a mutual ambition to create something “designed specifically for an often-unique location, in a pioneering way.”

Many of the projects in this issue are debut client–designer projects – Prior by Ritz and Ghougassian, Lee Mathews James Street by Fiona Lynch and Leigh Street Wine Room by Studio Gram, to name a few. And by all reports, these projects were based on reciprocal trust and understanding, proving that no matter if it’s the first or the fiftieth time a designer has worked with a client, a great relationship often equates to great outcomes.

– Cassie Hansen, Editor, Artichoke

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