The duo behind Studio Esteta are changing the way we see and emotionally react to architecture and style, one beautiful project at a time.
Words: Hande Renshaw I Photography: Courtesy of Studio Esteta
Felicity Slattery and Sarah Cosentino’s passion for architecture and design was ignited from a very early age. They would each spend time on the weekends as little girls at their grandparent’s house, absorbing design and creativity from every angle. Sarah’s ‘nonno’ was a seamstress and ‘nonna’ was a photographer, while Felicity’s grandparents were both architects. You could say, for this duo, falling into the lap of design and creativity was somewhat inevitable. Fast forward to today and the pair are directors at Studio Esteta, a Melbourne-based design firm which harnesses architecture and design in equal measures.
Originating from the Italian word for ‘Aesthete’ – a person who is appreciative of and sensitive to beauty, Studio Esteta’s name couldn’t be more fitting. Founded in 2015, the design practice strives to always approach the built form, materials and project briefs with a worldly outlook, eschewing trends in favour of considered and contemporary designs of a refined and timeless nature. For Felicity and Sarah, good design is in the finer details, “We believe beauty has many facets, which are often raw and unpredictable, and there is beauty in the detail - we strive to always interpret spaces, materials and project briefs with a worldly outlook,” says Felicity.
While Felicity completed a Master of Architecture at Sydney University, Sarah completed a Bachelor of Interior Design at Monash University. A design match made in heaven. As individual designers, they each aspired to one day to start their own studio and practice. While working together at Clare Cousins Architects, the pair formed a strong friendship, sharing values both on a personal and professional level, “We had a design aesthetic which aligned perfectly and a complimentary skillset,” says Felicity. It was at a later stage in their careers when their paths crossed once more that the opportunity arose to join forces, the rest is Studio Esteta history.
At Studio Esteta, design is less about fleeting trends but more about instilling a sense of emotion for the user, ”Space has the ability to make us feel and react – buildings and interiors can evoke so many different feelings and emotions,” says Sarah. Although sensory responses may differ upon the different inhabitants, the duo believe that all their designs, big or small, must evoke a feeling, “Whether it be the excitement of a hospitality venue, the warmth of a home or the spiritual feeling of a place of worship, we strive to ensure all our design responses are unique and project specific to evoke a sense of feeling for its occupants,” adds Sarah.
This attention to detail is evident across all of Studio Esteta’s work, whether it be their fit-out for a restaurant, or a private home design which is neutral, warm and inviting, there is a refined and emotive element to all of their interiors. So, what does the future hold for the talented duo? “Our mission for 2019 is to be recognised and respected as leaders in Australian architecture and design for our honest, personal and ambitious approach to our clients, our team and the social and environmental context in which we operate,” says Felicity. We believe they’re well on their way.