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An Architect's Guide to Melbourne

An Architect's Guide to Melbourne

Kiwi architect Annabel Smart and Dutch interior architect Marijne Vogel met whilst cutting their teeth at one of the country’s most respected design firms: Hecker Guthrie in Melbourne.

“It was (and still is) a very inspiring environment and we owe a lot to [founders] Paul and Hamish. They are very talented designers who taught us a lot,” says Annabel.

Their brand, Studio 11:11, evolved when the two friends set out to solve a simple problem: they couldn’t find a good-looking leather bag that was big enough to tote around their A3 plans and drawings.

After an incredible number of sketches, plans and prototypes, the pair  called on a skilled Melbourne-based leather craftsman to bring their dream to life. A  dearth of positive feedback from friends and, more importantly, fellow architects ensued, and eventually the pair decided to bring their product to market.

Studio 11:11 Tote

The Studio 11:11 product range has since grown to include two other perfectly proportioned bags – both of which have been designed within an inch of their life.

“We absolutely did not want to compromise on the quality of the materials we used and felt strongly about keeping the manufacturing local,” explains Annabel.

Studio 11:11 is also the name of the pair’s solo design practice – another full time gig.

“The main highlight would be our friendship that has grown and grown over the past few years,” says Annabel. “Starting a business is kind of like being in a relationship. We spend a lot of time together and still have lots to talk about!”

This week, the design-obsessed duo show us around their favourite haunts in their hometown – and point out some of the most underrated spaces and constructions along the way.

Where do you take all your visitors? 

Heide Museum

Most beautifully executed space in Melbourne?

Armadale Residence by B.E Architecture.

Armadale Residence, B.E Architecture

New construction / space you’re most excited about?

The new Kloke store in Melbourne’s CBD.

Kloke, Melbourne

Best heritage-listed space in the city? 

The Abbotsford Convent. 

Best spot for lunch with a view?

Polperro Winery in Red Hill.

Your best-kept secret in the city?

Cam’s Kiosk at the Abbotsford Convent. Great space, delicious coffee and food.

Favourite local label?


Where do architects shop in Melbourne?

Shifting Worlds for clothing/accessories and the Hub General Store for homewares and functional objects.

Favourite park?

Edinburgh gardens. Our studio is situated nearby and we therefor spend a lot of our lunch breaks there.

Locals-only dinner haunt?

Bar Idda in Brunswick East.

Best coffee?

Dukes in the city.


Studio 11:11 tote bags are available online and in store now.