BEN EDWARDS IS A UK NATIVE and one half of Edwards Moore, the Melbourne architectural firm. Ben partnered with fellow architect Juliet Moore in 2009 to establish the design studio, which provides bespoke architectural solutions ranging from small scale objects to large building and infrastructure projects.
Ben worked in London for a number of years before relocating to Melbourne six years ago. Since moving to Australia he has worked for a number of big players in the industry including LAB, Sir Nicholas Grimshaw Architects and 1:1. His career in architecture was never really predestined, however; Ben saw himself as more of an artist in his younger years.
“[In my first year of university] I didn’t really know if I wanted to do architecture because it’s quite… a prescribed path, I suppose. But it was good fun, the course, and it wasn’t just designing buildings. We would design and make a chair, and read loads of really cool philosophy books, and art and drawings were a big part of it. And that was my interest, probably.”
Ben’s university lecturer Dori, who lives in Iceland with his partner Soley, was featured on slanted mansion here. "Dori probably thought I was some weird artist, because, you know, I wasn’t just drawing with pencils.”
After completing his university studies, Ben worked for a number of firms in the UK before moving to Melbourne with his former partner. “I originally met an Australian girl, and then we came over here six years ago. And unfortunately that didn’t work out. But I am still here.”
“Originally we lived a bit further down the road. But I moved in here, ‘cause my mum is English, and she can only come six months on, six months off. I am in here now trying to build a bit of a kitchen, so when she is here I will bugger off and be out of here. It’s a bit of a thank you for my horrible teenage years. Haha. I thought, well, what’s this architecture malarkey… Maybe it would be good to do something that she would like.”
Ben met business partner Juliet whilst working at 1:1; she was the director of the firm. Since forming Edwards Moore three years ago the pair have worked on a diverse range of projects including exhibitions, installations and set design for big-name musicians including Architecture in Helsinki and the Midnight Juggernauts.
“It’s interesting doing lots of different things. You don’t always know what you are going to end up doing. But yeah, I suppose we are interested in music, and interested in designing things that have different purposes and qualities and also scope. You know the thing with a music video or stage settings is that it’s temporary, so you’re sort of about an illusion; it’s not a house that conforms to building regulations and has to stand the test of time.”
Where Juliet provides Edwards Moore with strong leadership and management experience, Ben brings a level of artistic detail and conceptualisation to the design process. “We are going really well. We just have to keep going I think. It would be nice to have a few more people, just to be able to take the foot off the gas a little bit.”
Ben has no plans to return to England just yet. “London is a lot more exciting, stimulating culturally. It’s a lot more cosmopolitan, or at least it feels it. But I suppose it’s just living and working, sometimes, its just fucking hard work sometimes. Isn’t it? I think as you get a little bit older, you sort of mellow out a little bit maybe. Its kind of like, ‘phew, I need a bit of a breather here’.”
It seems there’s no competition between London and Melbourne as far as Ben is concerned. “It’s pretty good over here, isn’t it? I feel spoilt.”
Head over to Edwards Moore to see the finished house!
Interview: Siobhan Frost
Words by: Cleo Andrews