Jan Walker – INSITE Magazine March 2005
Think of Perth’s coolest exemplars of architectural excellence and chances are Jean-mic Perrine designed them.
The Box Building; The Next Building; The Colonnade in Subiaco - all touch points of Perth’s growing style and sophistication. But Perth is just one city on which Jean-mic has made his mark. He has designed large-scale commercial developments in Queensland, Melbourne, Sydney, Nagano and Mauritius.
Jean-mic migrated to Australia from Mauritius as an impressionable 13-year-old and originally wanted to be an artist. When it was time to enroll for university, his art teacher told him he’ d never make any money as an artist and drove him to WAIT (now Curtin University), to sign up for architecture instead. “From there on it just happened, although I spent five years at university never reading an architecture book, just reading fashion magazines and philosophy and the things I really loved.”
Jean-mic is passionate about his role as an architect. “I think it’s an extraordinary gift to be able to do things that shape our environment, lift the spirit of people and exalt them. When I had a larger practice and employed several architects I scribbled on their pin boards: ‘You and I owe the world beauty’. Now in our small and talented practice, every one knows - to do mediocre buildings is not an option.”
Designing for urban life and small blocks is routine for many architects and designers these days, with urban infill redevelopments and changing lifestyles. But according to Jean-mic, only a handful does it well.
“It’s a real challenge these days to create a space that offers a sustainable lifestyle. There is an extraordinary failure rate of small block residences to be relevant. Most people can’t handle the confined nature of some designs – the lack of proportion, the lack of light, the lack of exaltation really”, he says.
“With this house, I continue my exploration of fifteen years on how to make urban spaces, small spaces, sustainable and spirit-lifting.”
So does the house lift the spirits of its owners? “it exceeds our expectations,” Trish enthuses. "I am so happy with its light filled, serene spaces. It feels fantastic.”