One of Australia’s brightest young architectural and interior designers and owner of the eponymous studio, Luke Fry, will expand his successful practice with the upcoming launch of his Mansfield studio, which will continue to showcase the refined, purposeful and design-led properties for which he is known.

Born and raised in Benalla, Luke has established family ties in the High Country Victoria spanning generations, and his parents and brother still live there. After 20 years of study and work in Melbourne, he and his family relocated to Mansfield and opening a studio to represent this new chapter seemed a natural next step.

Essentials recently spoke with Luke about his return to his Victorian High Country roots.

We’re pleased to learn of your return to High Country. Can you explain what you’ll add to the region regarding functional living and design?

As we understand it, we are the only Architecture and Interior Design practice in the High Country. The population growth we have seen since the pandemic has made these beautiful regional Victorian areas even more desirable for a lot of people, and we plan to be able to provide the same high level of design and service in these areas as we have been in others for a long time. With offices in Melbourne and Mansfield, we can provide our clients with a unique offering.

What have been some of your finest achievements – designs that have come full circle and changed people’s lives and why?

Every completed project is an achievement, and our projects do change the lives of those who experience them. It’s hard to describe that sometimes, but it’s much more than people realise. Our projects aren’t just pretty pictures in a magazine; they will change the way you live, impact your happiness and the way you connect with your family and your impact on the environment. Beyond that, in 2020, I was named one of Australia’s top five emerging designers, which was very humbling.

Luke Fry’s Torquay house design uses floor to ceiling glass to frame spectacular landscape views
Luke Fry’s Torquay house design presents clean lines and a coastal indoor/outdoor living style

What factors do design considerations require vs. designing for Melbourne and seaside locations?

Beyond the project’s aesthetics, site context and weather conditions are probably the most significant factors in a coastal setting with prevailing winds and salt air. Projects in Melbourne require more consideration of heritage, streetscape and town planning requirements. Of course, no matter the location, there are always consistent considerations across the board for things like functionality, environmental impact and budget.

What high country projects are you currently working on, and what does the future hold?

We currently have five projects in the High Country – one on Mt Buller, one in Merrijig and three in Mansfield. These are all residential projects, and the future holds much more of these high-end homes, but we also want to expand into more multi-residential, hospitality and commercial projects too, which is in line with what we have been working towards in Melbourne for some time. We intend to focus on country projects from the Yarra Valley all the way to Albury, including Falls Creek and Hotham.

What are some current and/or future trends in home design, and what should people consider in a new design to make it eco-friendly and cost-saving (energy-wise).

People should prioritise quality over quantity by understanding their needs vs. wants and focusing on this, resulting in a higher-performing house (energy-wise). This also means less compromise when it comes to selecting all of the things you see and use every day, light fittings, tapware etc.

Mansfield Coffee Merchant, High Country Victoria
Charcoal-grilled kangaroo loin and Davidson plum sauce

What’s your current favourite winery, restaurant and cafe in High Country – what are your tips?

Delatite Winery has quickly become a favourite with its beautiful new cellar door. The Fields is a fun restaurant with a delicious menu, and Mansfield Coffee Merchant has the best coffee I’ve had in a long time (and that’s coming from a Melbourne coffee snob, ha!)

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