Talent Spotting
Belle Magazine Australia|November 2020
Following an illuminating edit and revision, the storied space housing Australia’s oldest and largest literary agency, Curtis Brown, now reads even brighter.

Fiona Inglis, managing director of Curtis Brown, called on Jen Humphry of design and construction firm Modify to breathe new life into the agency’s premises. The terrace in Paddington, NSW, is now a salubrious work environment as well as a showcase for Australia’s brightest literary stars.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE ROLE OF A LITERARY AGENT?

Fiona Inglis: Literary agents represent writers, licensing their copyright to book publishers, and film and theatre producers.

IS THERE SOMETHING YOU LOOK FOR IN AN AUTHOR’S WORK?

FI: What we seek in signing up new clients are writers who are prepared to do the hard work required to reach publication and writing that is original, relevant and relatable.

WHAT WERE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR YOUR OFFICE AND WHAT APPEALED ABOUT THIS SITE?

FI: We wanted to be away from but close to the city, and in an area that had character and appeal. We finally landed on this perfect location, just up from the bustling cafes of Five Ways but still with convenience and charm. The business has always been in Paddington so it was also good to be able to continue that tradition.

WHAT PROMPTED THE RENOVATION?

FI: Like so many Paddington terraces, this one had many original features but was in dire need of upgrading to maximise light and space.

HOW DID MODIFY BECOME INVOLVED WITH THIS PROJECT?

Jen Humphry: We were approached by Fiona whose home we had previously renovated. The brief was to inject life and light into the terrace with provision for future growth in personnel for the business, but also with the opportunity to return the terrace to a beautiful functioning home if it were sold.

WHAT WERE THE CHALLENGES OF THE SPACE AND HOW DID YOU RESOLVE THEM?

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