In Architecture, Building, Design, Developers, Property Development

‘Making a big impact on a small scale’ – Fiducia’s Marie Doyle 

Fiducia’s latest exclusive project, The Harriette Residences on Sydney’s lower north shore, is a beautifully considered bespoke development, which has launched to strong early sales. With more luxury residential developments in the pipeline, we sat down with Marie to discuss the rise and rise of Fiducia.

Marie Doyle, and her partner Ben Doyle, are the driving forces behind this publicly listed, leading boutique developer of quality, innovative and conscious projects in Sydney’s blue-chip suburbs.

Her passion for property dates back to her childhood in New Zealand when at age 10 she converted part of the family home into ‘her own place’, complete with mailbox and ‘registered’ address.

Over recent years Fiducia’s continued success has seen the company graduate from single home projects to high-end multi-residential sites. Through this journey, Marie’s strengths in the financial disciplines, including feasibility and analysis, have complemented her passion for design.

 

Harriette Residences – Neutral Bay – Architecture by PBD Architects

 

BD: Please describe your journey into property development, including what attracted you into the discipline, and how it’s culminated in your role at Fiducia today.

MD: Property has always been in my blood and if you asked my mum she would tell you I was a natural-born property developer. She often reminds me of the time, growing up in Auckland, New Zealand, I convinced her and Dad to let me move downstairs and convert the area into my own place. I then got my own mailbox and was officially 49A. I was only 10.

Moving to Sydney with my partner Ben Doyle in 2006 sparked a love affair with Sydney property. The old buildings, the architecture, the landscape and the village type communities played on my marketing and design background. It ignited a passion in me for seeing old spaces transformed and it wasn’t long before I found myself snapping up blocks of units in the lower north shore and eastern suburbs. With a few kids in already in tow and pregnant I was painting walls till the early hours of the morning.

From then onwards we had an incredible business, and with the debt market on our side and property on the rise we were able to scale quickly.

 

 

Harriette Residences Neutral Bay – interiors by Alexander & Co.

 

BD: Fiducia itself has graduated over the last few years from single home projects to high-end multi-residential sites. Can you elaborate on this journey and the forces to which you attribute Fiducia’s success?

MD: Fiducia today is a different beast. Backed by an incredible team of people, resources and experience, Fiducia is now a publicly listed leading boutique development house. Our focus is on delivering quality, innovative and conscious projects across Australia and New Zealand.

Our journey from renovations and single homes to what we are building now has been a natural transition and, in some respects, it’s a journey that has built a depth of knowledge and respect for what we do now. This means we put a greater level of thought into the process of what we are building and how it will work long term.

 

BD: Have there been any mentors, designers or developers from whom you drew particular inspiration throughout your journey? And if so why?

 


‘Some of our initial Fiducia inspiration came from London based developer Candy & Candy and we have always drawn classic, luxury, elegant design inspiration from our travels overseas, including Asia and Europe. Our mentors were people like the late Frank Wolf – he would visit a site with us on a Sunday morning with a cup of tea and ask us to show him how we would make the development work.’


 

As for design inspiration for a long time we were fixated on delivering a consistent look and vibe across our projects. However, we realised the need to consider the unique aspects of every development – including the location, the people would live there, their needs and how they would use the space. This changed our design approach for every project moving forward and has enabled us to work with and be inspired by many talented architects across a range of disciplines and sizes – including DKO, Bureau SRH, James Garvan, PBD Architecture, Jeremy Bull and others. We have also partnered with incredible creatives like Andy Hoyne who have re-written our Fiducia ethos on placemaking.

As a team we certainly respect other developers out in the industry doing incredible things like Thirdi, Milligan and Gurner and locally we are always impressed by the level of design and execution.

 

 

Grace, Northbridge – 33 Luxury residences by DKO Architects

 

 

BD: What advantages, if any, does Fiducia’s in-house design capability bring to the table, both for your organisation, collaborators and buyers?

MD: Collectively our team has extensive design experience and a strong vision of what we want to create, before it even reaches an architect. This means a lot of the time we’ve already established a strong sense of the feel, look and intention in-house and can then build the right team around the development. I truly believe this is key to delivering a project that hits the mark every time.

 

BD: How do your strengths in feasibility and analysis compliment your passion for design?

MD: I’m a nerd to be honest and spend the majority of my time in a spreadsheet working the numbers. I do get equally as excited about a project that has both great returns and great design. The creative side of me always quietly high fives itself when we can get the two to work together! My background is accounting/finance with interior design and marketing so it fuels my passion for design quite perfectly.

 

BD: What, in your mind, are the great rewards to be reaped in the completion of a successful project, beyond the financial of course?

MD: The impact a development makes on a community. How it shapes the landscape for the future, how it activates the neighbourhood, how the residents feel when they move in. There is nothing better than driving through Sydney and being able to say that’s our project. We did that. And look how much it is loved.

 

BD: With a diversity of beautiful projects under your belt, what do you look for – and how do you go about selecting – the right collaborators across particular projects, from architects to designers, builders and partners?

MD: Pulling together the right team is probably Fiducia’s key strength. We are really, really good at curating a project team. As I mentioned earlier the vision for a project usually starts in-house at Fiducia, we then reach to the creatives first. How can what we do be different? Who are our future residents? What are we going to build? Placemakers, architects and designers are the first in place. We have a few we love to collaborate with so we generally approach them first. Having said that we’ve grown a lot of small firms and builders over the years by giving relatively unknown people a chance.

 

Club Harriette’s private dining room – an exclusive club for
the residents of Harriette.

 

BD: Your latest project, The Harriette Residences in Neutral Bay, is a beautifully considered development, with the thoughtfully conceived Club Harriette and its concierge service underpinning the bespoke and exclusive nature of the project.

 

Can you tell us a bit about how the project was conceived?

MD: The Harriette was originally a raw site of three home lots that Fiducia put together. The site was in a super quiet street with sweeping views from the high side of Neutral Bay down to the city and water, which gave the best orientation for something special. The zoning allowed for a high density of apartments – however although we could have yielded a larger number of apartments we decided on less apartments, a larger scale and a more boutique feel that would serve the current demographic of the area.

 

What was the inspiration and thinking behind the design aesthetic?

MD: Most Fiducia projects are usually embodied around a character. Usually a strong female character that we can build traits and personality from. In this project “Harriette” is a strong red head woman, elegant, worldly, humble and unique. She wears accents of green really well and holds her own in the world.

We then match the character with the design and building to create something that has a depth and substance as opposed to some plans and concrete. It becomes exciting and engaging to be a part of a Fiducia project – even the sales agents call themselves Harriette! The Harriette design was heavily influenced by the Art Deco architecture of the area and the concept of contemporary glamour.

Fiducia partnered with Hoyne, PBD Architects and Alexander & Co to bring to life the rich undertones of the era with the modern amenity of today. The use of lots of heavy marble, timber herringbone floors and rich aged brass complimented with crisp whites and luxurious international brands like Wolf, Sub Zero and Coco Republic, has given The Harriette its own unique signature.

 

Please elaborate on the Club Harriette services.

MD: The Club at The Harriette is really about offering something different and exclusive for the residents. In a time where floor space area always equalled revenue, there is now a switch to add value services equalling revenue. People would expect a level of value-add services if they were buying into a large apartment building, so why not offer this with smaller buildings?

 


‘The Harriette offers all residents a private Club area which has a beautifully designed dining room, a catering kitchen with a service entrance and lounge facilities. Each residence has its own private wine cellar in the Club with complimentary sommelier services and wine on purchase. The concierge services range from in-house cleaning, pet walking, transportation, personalised gifting, health and wellbeing treatments and catering.’


 

BD: What role do you feel developers should or can play in acknowledging and contributing to local community texture, culture and amenity – and how does The Harriette play this role in the context of Neutral Bay?

MD: A great question and one that’s always at the forefront of what we do from start to finish. In the context of Neutral Bay, the design has drawn in the local art deco influence, with reference to the curvature and finishes of local heritage icons such as the Orpheum theatre and the neighbouring sites. The lower north shore has a culture of preserving the old while making the new more accessible to Sydney’s CBD, local cafes, shopping and recreation amenities. There is also a draw to be by the water or in the village and this translates to regenerating the area with infill sites that add value, preserve the integrity and engage the community.

 

Interiors at 50 Bayswater in Rushcutters Bay – by Fiducia in partnership with Daniel Boddam

 

BD: What is the vision for Fiducia over the next 5-10 years?

MD: We will continue to make a big impact on a small scale with what we do. Fiducia will continue to be focused on both luxury residential developments in the Sydney area and also creating a master planned community on the coast. This community will allow us to integrate affordable living options, accessibility to Sydney, eco-industrial and retail with a focus on growing a locally proud community.

For a long time we were fixated on delivering a consistent look and vibe across our projects. However what we realised was the need to consider the unique aspects of every development – including the location, the people that would be living there, how they would use the space, what they wanted. This changed our design piece for every project moving forward and has enabled us to work with many different talented architects across a range of disciplines and sizes including DKO, SRH Bureau, James Garvan, PBD Architecture, Jeremy Bull and others.  We have partnered with incredible creatives like Andy Hoyne who have re-written our Fiducia ethos on placemaking.

As a team we certainly respect other developers out in the industry doing incredible things like Thirdi, Milligan and Gurner and locally we are always impressed by the level of design and execution.

Some of our initial Fiducia inspiration came from London based developer Candy & Candy and we have always drawn classic, luxury, elegant design from our travels to Asia, Europe and abroad.

Our mentors were people like the late Frank Wolf who would visit a site with us on a Sunday morning with a cup of tea and ask us to show him how we would make this development work.

 

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