Homegrown Heroes: Building Beauty with Trust Projects

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Homegrown Heroes: Building Beauty with Trust Projects

Harrolds is continuously expanding its community to encompass more than just fashion. From our esteemed Harrolds Racing Team to our integrated projects with neighbouring art institutions and university programs, our guiding philosophy is to build a network of like-minded, passion-driven, inevitably stylish people that grow our family.

This is exactly why we’re introducing a brand-new editorial series for The Journal, aptly named ‘Homegrown Heroes’. Consider this a space to uncover (or better get to know) some local institutions, businesses and organisations that inspire us to evolve, learn and tell new stories. Here, we catch up with one of the three founders at Trust Projects, Nicholas Karas, to profile an exemplary building and fit-out firm in Melbourne doing remarkable things.

expanding its community to encompass more than just fashion

For those unacquainted, walk us through the Trust Projects origins story… 

My partners Daniel Malina, Daniel Jones and I were working for three competing companies and we decided to join forces and combine 30 years of knowledge, experience and network into our own venture. We knew we needed to keep our clients as our primary focus, and then Trust Projects was born. We build, we fit-out and we project manage.

What are some of the most notable projects the team has worked on since launch? What do you love about them? 

We have been very fortunate to work on some amazing projects, collaborating with stellar industry peers. We love the variety; one day it’s a four-level slick office in Cremorne and the next it’s a new pizza bar at the University of Melbourne. A few of our most recent include: Lune (Armadale, Fitzroy and Brisbane), Five Guys (first in Melbourne), July, flagship store at 80 Collins Street, and St. Ali: Australia’s best coffee roasters.

Trust Projects has three founders. How do you all bring something different to the table in the business? 

Daniel Malina oversees new business and partnerships whilst Daniel Jones and I oversee the project sites and teams. Three different brains, three different approaches, but one common goal.

In terms of aesthetics or hallmarks of your design process, what are some recurring themes, styles or tendencies Trust Projects is known for? 

The design process is based on the architect and designers and we are fortunate to work with some of the best in Australia (Ewert Leaf, Elvin Tan Design, Architects EAT, Chris Connell Design, ACRD Design, Blackmilk Design, to name a few). It’s then up to our team to turn that vision into reality. In terms of what we are known for, attention to detail, clear communication, efficient delivery and a quality outcome are the standouts.

Harrolds and Trust Projects have established a unique friendship in the last year. Can you walk us through your process of collaborating with us, and what this union has entailed? 

There has always been a great synergy between our team and Ross and Alexander Poulakis. We see Harrolds as the leading fashion house of Australia, and whilst Trust Projects are builders, our values are aligned. Those are: quality finishes, a customer-centric approach, and a strong focus on nurturing relationships.

Aside from racing, what can we find you all doing in your out-of-office time?  

Luckily for us, we all have similar interests: cars, sport, travel, collecting timepieces and enjoying good food. So, you’ll find us at a dinner at Farmers Daughter (owner and executive chef Alejandro Saravia), Hazel (owner Nathan Toleman of The Mulberry Group) or Shanghai Red/Old Beijing (owners David Loh & Louis Koh). We’ll definitely be visiting the Aus Open and the Grand Prix every year.

Where exactly do you find ideas, suppliers and influence for your bespoke fit-outs? What’s the process of imagining and sourcing materials for a brand-new space?

We run a tight schedule in order to meet clients timeframes, and adhere to a step-by-step process once we receive architect drawings. This goes something like: after the order finishes from suppliers, we engage contractors and stakeholders. Then, the building permit is signed off and demolition begins. From here, we’re ready for site set-out, framing, sheetings, painting, cladding, tiling and fit-off. We then complete a caulk and clean before the certificate of occupancy is signed off. Lastly, it’s handover time!

What role does passion play in what you do? 

It’s the hero of what we do. It’s what drove the conception of Trust Projects, and what continues to drive us today. We genuinely love what we do and are constantly inspired and motivated with each new project. I think most will attest to the fact that there is a difference between just doing a job and doing it well, and that’s what sets Trust Projects apart.

Lastly, can we ask what particular Harrolds-stocked designers you’re coveting right now and why? 

Classic with a modern take is what I’m drawn to — something timeless, with an edge. I appreciate the versatility of Tom Ford, whether it’s the grosgrain-lapel dinner jacket I wore at my wedding or just a pair of sneakers I wear day-to-day. There is a longevity to the brand that I admire. My favourites would have to be Tom Ford, Amiri and Bottega Veneta.

What’s your hypothetical work-day outfit from Harrolds?

Day-to-day, you’ll naturally find us in our Trust Project tees, but always with a pair of sneakers from Harrolds. Tom Ford sneakers are a staple.

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