Q & A with Anthony Riggadmin
Local favourites, sharing their insider tips on places and things to do on and around Tamborine Mountain – Your Gold Coast hinterland!
Anthony Rigg specialises in residential building design, having moved to Queensland after finishing his studies in Newcastle, NSW in 2002. He has lived on Tamborine Mountain for the past three years.
What inspired you to start your business, and what do you have planned in 2021?
Design, particularly residential design, has been something that I have grown to love. Initially, I worked for a high-end building company on the Gold Coast, helping senior staff draw up homes on Sovereign Island, Sanctuary Cove, and Hope Island. About a year-and-a-half in, a colleague asked me to design a home for his ageing parents on a one-acre block in rural Casino, NSW. It was to be the first time that I would only be answerable to the client. The budget for their home was tiny compared to the mansions we created on the Gold Coast. However, the joy I felt in aiding the clients create something special was immeasurable. With that first home complete, I quit my job at the Paradise Point building company and began to work for myself. In retrospect, it was way too early to go out on my own, as I was still learning the fundamentals of construction, yet this is how it happened. One begins in a very modest fashion. In 2005, I registered my company Bleuscape Design. Since then, 16 years have passed, and I am as passionate about this industry as ever. I still run a very humble operation, however, we have a steady flow of exciting work, much of which is here on Tamborine Mountain.
How did COVID-19 affect you and your business in 2020/2021?
As COVID began to emerge in 2020, we had several projects placed on hold; however, around June-July of the same year, most of what we had in the pipeline kicked off again. It felt like due to the restrictions and lockdowns, people simply recognised they had more time on their hands. As a result, momentum began again in the form of building projects. This, combined with a steady migration of Sydneysiders and Melbournites to Qld, has seen a flourishing of opportunities for designers. We are very busy, with some exciting new homes and renovations in the works.
What did you do before opening your business?
I grew up in Cooranbong, a small town 20 minutes south of Newcastle, NSW. Before moving up here for work in the design industry, I was working odd jobs to support myself during study, the main one being Weet-Bix packing at the local Sanitarium Health Food Company.
How would you describe your business?
We are primarily focused on residential design. We work with clients wanting something special, something tailored to a desired lifestyle. Having said that, I would class our work as style-less in that we don’t have a preferred aesthetic. Design brief, client budget and context or location are the three critical areas to set the parameters to work within. Parameters in residential design are essential to make the project relevant. Each opportunity is different and deserves a fresh perspective.
If you look at our work as a whole, the greatest compliment someone could give would be to see each project as individual, unrelated to the previous in aesthetics, space, and form.
What is it about your business that you love? What makes your business stand out from other, similar businesses? Is it a business that gives you satisfaction?
Our company is inherently design-focused. We are not just draftsmen. To get the best work out of us is to give us creative licence within defined parameters. All of our clients have been thinking and dreaming about taking ownership of something that is uniquely theirs. To help them realise this dream is an extraordinary honour.
What challenges have you had in business over this period of time?
The most significant challenge is the time it takes to achieve a portfolio of built work when starting from scratch. Gaining this initial momentum takes time, extraordinary discipline, and a period where one works for minimal financial reward. However, if you stick to it, a tipping point inevitably comes where things take hold, and the ball starts to roll.
What is the most bizarre or funny thing you have encountered in your business?
I once had a developer contact me for an initial meeting on a project he was planning in Vanuatu. We sat down and went through the design brief and his desired outcomes. At the end of the meeting, I began to discuss a potential fee proposal. He looked at me strangely and proceeded to say that I should be paying him for the privilege of working on such a unique and career-defining project. I had to do everything I could to not laugh out loud. He was stone-cold serious! Inevitably, the relationship ended there. To this day, I don’t know if he convinced anyone to get involved, yet driving away, I had to admire the sheer audacity. There are some sharks out there that prey on young designers to achieve their goals.
If you were not doing this what would your ideal job be?
I would be a chiropractor. It’s very different from what I am doing right now, but for some reason, it intrigues me.
Interesting facts about yourself?
I am very dyslexic. While this was an issue in high school, I rely on it now to do what I do. Dyslexic people are highly visual. My ‘seeing’ is as easy as breathing; the challenge is to reverse engineer what one sees into a distilled combination of practical and memorable space.
What do you do for fun?
I love spending time with my family. Our weekends are generally spent caring for our horses, hanging out with friends, and going on family outings. At 43, it’s the simple things that mean the most.
Do you take holidays and if so, is there a favourite destination or activity?
We have a favorite holiday destination that is relatively close to home. It’s staying on the beach at Tugun. As a family, we generally head down there for a few weeks in the year. In the last few years, the council has constructed a concrete pathway from Tugun to Coolangatta. I love to ride my electric skateboard along it with the kids when we get the opportunity.
To do what one loves in life is something worth pursuing. I believe strongly that we all have something to offer. Life is too short to wake up on Monday morning and be looking forward to Friday afternoon. I will continue to do what I love to do for as long as I can. It fulfills that creative desire in me because every prospect provides the grounds for new directions. In my opinion, every opportunity to design, whether it is big or small, is a great opportunity.