The Two of Us | Alicia McKimm + Kylie Dorotic
Alicia Mckimm and Kylie Dorotic from GOLDEN, are a design force to be reckoned with. The pair first met at Swimburne University in Melbourne, while they were both studying Bachelor of Design in Interior Design. The driving force for their partnership was the need for creative freedom and a need to design on their own terms. Today, the pair have quite a few reputable design projects under their belt and are fast growing their impressive design portfolio. We talk to Alicia and Kylie about what design really means to them, their proudest achievement so far and the best piece of advice they've ever received.
Hi Kylie and Alicia, tell us a little about the journey to where you are today - how did the partnership first come about? Kylie: After meeting at university, we were collegues at various high-end Melbourne firms prior to taking the leap to set up our own practice. The driving force was the need for creative freedom. When setting out to start working on my own without a strong plan, I didn’t believe it would end up here and in this timeframe. I had a great level of respect for Alicia’s design aesthetic and we'd collaborated together before. So, when the decision to start a business together came up, it just felt right. I knew working together would produce a richer quality of work and make for a much more enjoyable day-to-day experience.
Alicia: Having my own practice had always been something I wanted to do since those early university days. However, I'd also always known I didn’t necessarily want to do this on my own. Working together at two different firms gave me a huge amount of respect for Kylie’s design sensibility and approach. When she started to work for herself, it felt like a 'seize the moment' situation and I decided to join her.
What does design mean to you? Alicia: Design is a creative tool we can use to enhance our every day experiences. Whether it be objects, fashion or interior spaces.
Kylie: Design is creative expression to enhance our everyday lives, This is very much the GOLDEN mantra. It filters through to all I surround myself with, from fashion to where I eat and shop. We hold fortnightly GOLDEN inspo sessions as a team and talk about new ideas, spaces we love, artists and fashion designers we admire.
Tell us about your design process at GOLDEN, what does it involve? Kylie: Our process begins with a collaborative design workshop with a multitude of images and loose ideas that we then discuss and brainstorm as a team.
Which of the stages in your design process is the most important? Alicia: We put a lot of emphasis on the schematic phase in our studio. If you have a really strong concept the layers of the project can then be built upon this. Secondary to this I would say design development. This is where the important design detail is implemented and all the functions are nutted out.
Kylie: The schematic phase - this is when we spend the most time listening to our clients needs and creating the vision for what the end space will be. At GOLDEN we believe importance of ‘one big idea’ and letting this drive the creative process to ensure each design design is made for a reason and is justified by the overall conceptual idea.
In your own words, how would you best describe your interiors? Kylie: Refined yet warm and always functional.
Kylie, what characteristic do you most admire in Alicia? Her business sensibility balanced against her approach to the design process. Alicia has a beautiful and unique design aesthetic and won't settle for the norm. Alicia will always push to achieve a beautiful design solution that is unique, on budget and most importantly incredibly functional.
Alicia, what unique attribute does Kylie bring to GOLDEN? Kylie's conceptual thinking. She's amazing at realising the project in the early stages. Also her infectious love for what she does. She often finds it hard to contain her excitement towards a project in client meetings, on site and in internal design workshops. It's such an endearing quality and one that transfers to both our clients and team.
Your proudest professional achievement so far? Alicia: Making it 5 years in business.
What’s in store for GOLDEN for the remainder of this year? Kylie: We're going to release some very beautiful residential projects later this year that have been a long time in the making, and we cannot wait to share them. In addition to this we have a beautiful mix of projects in the studio at the moment from high end residential to hospitality and retail.
I usually wake up at: When my kids do, around 6-7am.
My perfect day would involve: A morning coffee, time with my family, design workshops at GOLDEN, Netflix and an early night.
I am inspired by: My two daughters.
Best advice I’ve ever received: Trust your gut.
My favourite daily ritual: Reading before I go to sleep.
I recently discovered: The fascinating story of Alexander McQueen after watching his documentary at MIFF.
On my wish-list: A holiday to Japan.
I’m currently reading: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee.
My guilty pleasure: Chocolate.
I usually wake up at: 6am start – I’m a morning person.
My perfect day would involve: Alicia and I are so similar in this regard with our values.
For me - A morning walk or pilates class, coffee, inspiring day designing, family time followed by a relaxing early night.
I am inspired by: Travel is an amazing source of inspiration!
Best advice I’ve ever received: Trust your instinct, if it doesn’t feel right It more than likely isn’t.
My favourite daily ritual: My morning coffee.
On my wish-list: Cesca Dining chairs for my dining room.
I’m currently reading: Podcasts have replaced books for me recently.
And listening to: The Design Files – Podcast series.
My guilty pleasure: Fashion.
My mantra is: Surround yourself with inspiring people.