The Latin word ‘verso’ roughly translates in English to turning-over a page, twisting or reversing an object and that’s what the team at Verso Architecture + Interiors do. The architecture and interior design pair work together like both sides of a page, one designing the functional elements and the other bringing the project to life with colour and textures.
Kylie Willett, the interior designer at Verso, initially studied fine arts at Whitecliffe and then graduated from Unitec with a Bachelor of Design. After graduating she worked with Jason Bonham at Bonham Interior Ltd for two years then at McIntosh Moorman Interior Design for another four years. At MMID she notably worked on the Russell McVeagh building, as well as various other projects like office developments. One type of project that stood out was designing the interiors for MRI rooms, where she added big murals making the place more fun and homely rather than sterile and lifeless like traditional medical rooms. Her style is based around bringing things to life and loves using colours and texture in her work.
Borijan Milic’s family has a history in architecture – both his parents work as architects. He graduated with his master’s in architecture from Auckland University in 2011 and then worked for a few commercial firms, notably Strata Architects. Borijan has recently started working on his own steel joinery project, which is achieving its own notable success.
Willett met Milic while he was studying architecture, although at the time he didn’t plan on pursuing architecture as a career. After working on a series of small jobs together for a few years they went out on their own launching Verso in 2013 and three years later they moved onto their site in Eden Terrace.
Verso has grown to a six-person team, capable of working on projects of any scale – from anything as small as furniture or design consultations, to as big as any hotel project imaginable.
To get inspiration, Milic and Willett travel extensively, staying in design hotels across the globe. Design-wise, their favourite place to visit is Japan. “Everything down to the type of glass they choose is perfect,” Willett said. One notable hotel from their adventures was the Freehand, in downtown Los Angeles. The modern site features a lobby that is simultaneously a reception, café and a meeting room. “It was like a backpackers, but fancy,” Milic said. It wasn’t just the hotels in the States sunny West Coast that impressed them. “The Midwest also has some supercool accommodation, lovely people, amazing design. The Anvil Hotel in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, was amazing.”
Currently, the Verso team is working on offices for a digital agency moving to Auckland. The dream for them though is to work together at a hotel. Borijan previously worked on a proposed 60-room hotel in Palmerston North’s old post office, which is still getting its feet off the ground.
Since they started out in the industry, Milic’s style has become more constrained and minimal, whereas Willett has become more colourful and creative, making for a powerful contrast. “We work as each other’s assessors, balancing each other out, like different pages of a book.”
The pair has noticed a trend where people are more responsive to good design than ever before.
“Everyone’s realised that when things are done cheaply, it doesn’t look nice, and then it’s not successful. I think it’s important for hotel owners to put an emphasis on design, as it does payback,” Willett said.
Verso is flexible and happy to work on almost any project. They are client focused and like to make sure each project is unique. One-way Millett likes to do that is working on custom items, such as unique, custom-made furniture. Their ideal client is someone willing to take a risk and do something a bit creative, and the properties they’ve worked on previously perfectly match this description. Verso does free initial consultations and likes getting to know the client, so they can
understand exactly what the client wants.
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