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March 29, 2019

Main Street Week: Architects Ink

Step inside this multi-award-winning architecture practice floating above the hubbub of King William Street Kent Town.

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  • Words: Josh Fanning
  • Above: MH House by Architects Ink

Perched on stilts, the offices of Architects Ink overlook King William Street, Kent Town through floor-to-ceiling windows.

“The location is fantastic,” says director Marco Spinelli. Marco, along with co-directors Tony Lippis and Mladen Zujic have built a strong reputation over two decades in the industry with high quality work that constantly pushes boundaries. “We’ve sort of developed a philosophy around our design and people that like it – they can only get it from us,” says Marco.


Architects Ink
Level 1, 77 King William Street,
Kent Town SA 5067

CityMag is spending the next five days on King William Street, Kent Town. These profiles are part of a series called Main Street Week, where we look into the past, present and future of Adelaide’s neighbourhoods.

Check out the rest of our week’s coverage here:
Pan & Vine
Sarah Hansen Hair
Rustic Gourmet
Eurosport Automotive

Each of the three directors love the mix of different businesses on their street, but agree the food has gotten a lot better only recently. “There’s good food around here now,” says Mladen, of the new tenants who’ve moved into the architect’s neighbourhood.

Architects Ink have been in Kent Town for 15 years, but while they’ve built their business here its all been off the back of what the trio say is their inimitable style.

“If you want an Architects Ink design, then you can only go to Architects Ink,” says Marco.

But what does that mean? Well, Mladen has a pretty good example to answer CityMag‘s question.

Architects Ink are currently in the construction phase of a house they’ve designed for two emergency surgeons. The house has a pool in the front entrance, Mladen explains. “They come from surgery at two or three in the morning and they’re using the [indoor] pool as a therapeutic measure, a way to relax and wind down.”

“A lot of our houses are quite unique, I suppose,” says Marco.

Virtual Reality tour of your new abode?

L-R: Mladen Zujic, Tony Lippis & Marco Spinelli. This image and above: Tyrone Ormsby


This is all the more outstanding in the age of abundant information, the age of Pinterest – the age of everyone being a designer.

“Anyone can Google anything and come back and go, ‘Oh, I’ve found this, this and that. And what if we try this?’” says Marco. “And all of a sudden you’ve got to go and research whatever they’ve come up with and discuss why we can’t use it or why it’s a good idea. Still the best clients are the ones that trust you.”

There’s pressure, too, from programs like Grand Designs. “People expect to have their house in an hour,” laughs Marco about the duration of the show that greatly compacts project timeframes – sometimes over years – into a 60-minute time slot. But, Tony interjects, “we’re doing a house on Grand Designs right now. It’s getting built right now”.

Increased design-savvy has been good for this company that prides itself on producing forward-thinking architecture. And technology is part of the service now, too. Architects Ink are early adopters of virtual reality as a way to show clients through the design before the foundations are even laid.  The trio of directors all expound the virtues and benefits of being able to walk people through their projects, but also the technology’s ability to settle disputes with planners.

“Often Council will have a 2D assumption [about our design] that we’ll disagree with,” says Mladen. “We can now invite planners to come and put the goggles on and see for themselves.”

And while new technology can resolve debate, the offices of Architects Ink are also lined with scale miniatures – balsa wood constructions – of projects that still inspire wonder.

Indeed, each tiny house or tiny commercial development has a thread running through its design that reveals the hands of the author. There’s definitely something unique about each of them and perhaps that’s what makes them similar – what makes them an Architects Ink design.
If you would like to set-up shop in Kent Town, connect with the City of Norwood Payneham & St Peters Council here.

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