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The founder of Evi O Studio's apartment is filled with art and trinkets found while travelling.

| By Rachael Thompson | Home tours

Designer and Artist Evi O’s Small Home in Sydney Is Big on Style

The founder of Evi O Studio's apartment is filled with art and trinkets found while travelling.

Welcome to The Makers. Each week, we celebrate innovators, artisans, and crafters of all types by taking you on a private tour of their creative spaces. For this instalment, we tour designer and artist Evi O's contemporary apartment in Waterloo, Sydney.

As one of Australia's most sought-after creatives, Sydney-based multi-disciplinary designer and self-taught artist Evi O boasts an extensive resume of work. She's the founder of award-winning design practice Evi-O Studio and has worked on everything from book artwork to wine labels for clients such as Thames & Hudson, Zoë Foster Blake, and Milligram. She is also represented by Saint Cloche art gallery where she has showcased her abstract paintings in their Paddington space.

Evi grew up in Surabaya, Indonesia and always knew she wanted to pursue a career in the arts. She studied visual communications and graphic design at the University of Technology in Sydney before landing her dream job as a designer at Penguin Books.

She's a versatile designer known for her bold expressions, be it strong colour play, minimalistic typography, or interactive layouts. “I believe in the "midwives" philosophy – that we are a conduit to realising our clients' visions,” she shares with Bed Threads Journal. “I like clever lines with crafted execution. Seemingly minimal, but thoughtfully assembled and always with a distinct personality.”

Bed Threads was lucky enough to have Evi create the art for our Put on a Spread cookbook. Not only is this book filled with delicious vegetarian recipes, but it features playful graphics that complement the recipe photographs and further bring the tome to life.

For the last six years, Evi has lived in an inner-city apartment with her partner. "The abundance of light is what drew me to this space. It's always very bright during the day and big open windows mean I get to wake up to a beautiful, colourful sky".

And while the contemporary space perfectly is small and minimalistic, it has been designed to perfection by interior design firm Hecker Guthrie with clean lines and a clean materials palette. The sleek space's subdued palette is punctuated by colourful artwork and objects that add plenty of design flair.

Her favourite space is the bedroom which she describes as her "sanctuary". Here, a playful combination of Peach and Terracotta linen feeds warmth and brightness into the space.

We took a tour of Evi's modern home and spoke to her about the power of manifestation, her advice for budding artists, and her tips for a well-styled home.

Shop Evi's edit.

Hi Evi! This series is called The Makers. What is it that you make?

I make books, and I make art!

How does the act of “making” relate to your personality and who you are?

I am naturally curious, and “making” gives me a space for my mind to endeavour, whether it’s process, materials or concepts. Through making I learn, through making I am creative, through making I am productive, through making I am constantly evolving.

Tell us about your career journey to date. Did you always know you wanted to pursue this line of work?

I definitely did. I was 17 and I almost took the alternate line of study (read: Economics) and freaked myself out thinking if this was what I would do for the good rest of my life, I would not want to, even though I was good at it. I made the decision to study visual communications/graphic design instead, thinking that it was creative, yet there is a study on functionality that comes with design studies, and I have never regretted that decision.

Talk us through your creative process. Where do you start?

A lot of my design clients likened my initial process to going to a therapy session. Whether the subject is a topic or a person, I try to understand every single layer of it, to be able to understand where they’re coming from and where they’re trying to be. This goes the same when I started a body of work when practising art, often I write my thoughts first, before transforming them into visual outcomes. When designing for others, I put myself in the midwife position, the project is the baby of the clients, and as a midwife do, we deliver the baby to life, the vision is of its parents. When making art, it is more of what I think, or what I want to communicate. Both practice together seem to be a healthy balance.

As a multi-disciplinary artist and designer is there one area in particular that you find yourself most drawn to?

I think running both art and design practices comes with the perks of the two practices constantly complimenting and influencing each other, either deliberately or unconsciously. I don't think there's a particular area I'm most drawn to, as my restless nature needs evolving challenges, but lately, I've been drawn to extending art installation beyond a gallery/exhibition environment. My recent collaboration with 4A gallery is in the form of a Tram, a very exciting scale and fun medium to apply my artistic touch, and to work collaboratively with a team of many talents. I'd love new challenges please, someone? Anyone?

What’s been the single most crucial tool or strategy you’ve used to further your career?

I believe in the power of manifestation in a novel way. No, I don’t have a vision board, but I do speak about my wishes, hopes and dreams to my peers quite freely. And by sprinkling these ideas out to the world, I do think it helps me believe that they may happen, or others sometime would connect these ideas to those that could make it happen. Having said that, I’m not quite sure about the definition of a “career”, is it something you do to make money, or is it a profession or a craft that you keep honing forever until you can’t do it anymore?

What’s been the most challenging lesson learnt so far in your career?

Maybe to realise that you can’t be friends with everyone? Or more like you find your people when you find them? It did take a while to find the people that truly appreciate you as who you were, and while it applies to life, it also applies to a creative life/career. When you find your partners in crime creativity-wise, oh boy, dreams do come true.

What’s been the best thing that’s happened to you since you started your career?

To be nurtured in such a safe environment full of, and led by, very inspiring women, from a very young age. I have been so lucky I have so many women mentors I could call for help when I’m in a pickle, and they do teach me a lot of things about life, leadership, roles and responsibilities. And now that I’m consciously aging, and hopefully garnering some wisdom along the way, I’m trying my best to also do the same for my younger peers.

Do you have a single piece of advice you’d give to your younger self or someone looking to pursue a similar line of work?

TLDR: #yolo. Dream big, never stop dreaming, work hard, play hard, and live hard. But of course, in the most positive way, your journey is your own and you are in the driver’s seat. It’s all overwhelmingly and liberatingly on you. And once you’ve found yourself, be good to others.

Now, the home stuff. How long have you lived in your home?

Since the end of 2016, that makes it six years!

How did you initially know this was the space for you?

The abundance of light is what drew me to this space. It's always very bright during the day and big open windows mean I get to wake up to a beautiful, colourful sky. Although, it’s a constant battle at the moment as my boyfriend Andrew belongs in the curtain-down cult.

Did you do any renovations or make any big changes after moving in?

Not at all, I bought it off the plan and it came with most things, including the central bench.

What was the thought process behind the way you’ve styled the interior?

I don’t actually own a lot of furniture. Before Andrew, apart from the bed, the couch and the dog bed, there was only art on the wall. He came with a coffee table, a smart TV, and more art. I think we rely a lot on art to create a vibe for the house. And books seem to be everywhere, a problem and a safe haven.

For more from Evi follow her @evi_o and @evi_o.studio

Photography by Alisha Gore. Styling by Audrey Won.

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