Design team pictured above: Quebah Otene, Johnson Chen, Lanah Heron, Isabel Zundel, Rey Bolivar, Natasha Rubin, Chloe Scott, Karla Pundaodaya, Phoebe Thomas, Ciarne Lancaster, Jade Taniora and Laura Molloy, not pictured: Claire Schofield, Caitlyn Leaman and Pete Agnew
Young, dynamic and culturally diverse: meet Conrad Gargett’s Interior Design team who have gone from strength to strength over the past two years – over doubling in size and winning major multi-residential, health and workplace projects. Here, we shine a spotlight on Senior Associate, Rey Bolivar and Associate, Laura Molloy – the two very different yet complementary designers who have played a significant role in the growth and success of the energetic and talented team of 15 – where diversity of all kinds is embraced and celebrated.
Laura Molloy, Associate and Rey Bolivar, Senior Associate
Rey – self-described as a watch enthusiast, an amateur cook and a pug person, was born and raised in the Philippines and spent over a decade in Singapore where he built a notable portfolio of high-end residential interiors and award-winning workplace and aged care projects. In 2019, he moved to Brisbane and joined Conrad Gargett, bringing valuable international experience in both architecture and interior design.
“Moving to a new country has been a great experience for me, personally and professionally,” he said.
“A new culture, new design challenges and fresh perspectives has renewed my passion for design. Laura and the team have made me feel welcome since day one and it has been an absolute blast working alongside this dynamic group.
“I have learnt a lot – I now know what “sticky beak” means – and hopefully I have shared some of my knowledge and experience with the team as well.”
Rey’s arrival injected a new energy and design thinking into the Interiors team, which, along with his 15 years of design experience, helped the team secure two luxury residential tower projects on the Gold Coast – De Luxe and Aalto. His design approach is a delicate balance of progressive artistry, ensuring longevity and meeting the needs and desires of his clients and the end-users.
“Oftentimes we fall into the trap of always chasing the ‘wow factor’ – that hero shot to impress our clients or peers. For me, I try to design with honesty and with the user as the driving force of the design.
“I like designing spaces that will last and enhance the experience of whoever is using it – the space is created for them, not to satisfy my pursuit for artistry. However, I find nothing wrong with injecting a tiny bit of my own weirdness and personality into it – and I will!
“Von Goethe once said ‘I call architecture, frozen music’.”
A fan of counterculture and a former frontman in a punk band, Rey questions the status quo and tries to push the boundaries of what’s possible.
“We are bound by a lot of constraints as to what is viewed as good design but I try my best to not be influenced by it as much; I love a little design tension – it’s just in my nature to question things,” said Rey.
Laura, who describes herself as a country loving city gal with an entrepreneurial spirit and a deep love for greyhounds (and croissants), was born and raised in Brisbane, and joined Conrad Gargett in 2017. She is known for her ability to tackle complex briefs with grace and ease. Her gentle and empathetic nature makes Laura the ultimate people person – deeply listening, caring and carefully balancing the various, and sometimes competing needs and requirements on projects.
She dreamt of becoming a doctor as a child, but over time, found she could have an impact in another way – through design. Since joining Conrad Gargett, Laura has played a key role in the interiors of many healthcare projects, including the new Kingaroy Hospital, the recently completed Victorian Heart Hospital and current Frankston Hospital Redevelopment, where she enjoys balancing aesthetics and function.
“Achieving perfect synergy between function and form, I suspect, is the life long career goal of many designers,” said Laura.
“For me personally, each project provides a new opportunity to inch closer to solving what really is a subjective and open ended puzzle. Finding the perfect solution that achieves balance is certainly what keeps me engaged and motivated.
“Healthcare projects provide the ultimate challenge; designing a space that is both beautiful, but also meets the demands of a complex building programme with extreme compliance requirements.”
Laura is also deeply invested in influencing how healthcare spaces impact the wellbeing of patients, staff and visitors.
“The idea that a well-designed healthcare facility can promote healing and wellness is a well-researched and widely supported concept. It’s such a continually evolving body of research and something that we of course want to pursue and achieve for our end users,” she said.
“We’re always looking at ways to underpin our design with salutogenic design principles, to create positive experiences that promote holistic healing.” Laura also has a strong interest in civic projects which grew after a defining period of time spent studying in New York City where she was particularly drawn to public architecture. She has since worked on a number of civic and education projects, including the Queensland Theatre’s Bille Brown Theatre.
The team’s diversity of talent is evidenced by the extensive skillset of the broader Senior Interior design team including Claire Schofield in heritage and workplace design; Phoebe Thomas in tertiary/performance training facilities; and Karla Pundaodaya, Jade Taniora and Lanah Heron in multi residential, hotels and hospitality.
Caitlyn Leaman, Interior Designer and Claire Schofield, Associate
“Our approach is very collaborative and non-hierarchical – Rey and I may sculpt and guide the team but ultimately we see everyone as bringing unique and valuable contributions to all of our projects,” said Laura.
“I think the strength of our partnership in leading the Interiors team is very much founded on having a deep respect for one another and everyone within the team and appreciating our different backgrounds and experience.
“Our team is also bonded by a common vision of our work leaving a lasting and positive impact – which lies at the heart of what we do: creating meaningful places for people.”