Brisbane Curator Lani Pauli quizzed local Pinterest wunderkid and architect, John Ellway.

Photo by Toby Scott

Where can you find John online? & @jellway

Works: James Russell Architect 

Why Architecture? 
The projects I worked on practicing as a graphic designer led me towards the built environment. My clients have mainly been architects and their photographers. I love detail and materials. This is what architecture is all about.

Where is your favourite Brisbane building and/or space? 
I would say it is the The Red Box space that looks out to the river in Donovan Hill’s State Library refurbishment. I have spent many days reading and working in this space. It’s the best free office in Brisbane.

What is your ultimate ‘goal’ for your architecture career? 
To create buildings that people find comfort in living within. To do that I not only want to design, but also build some of my work. Working with James, we design part of the week in the studio and the rest building on site testing our ideas.

Tell me about your skyrocketing popularity on Pinterest? 
That is a very strange one! Within about 3 weeks my follower numbers jumped from about 30 people I actually knew, to about 30,000. It seems to climbs daily by about 1,500 and is sitting at around 230,000 currently. I finally worked out that I am featured at signup in the ‘Architecture’ category, and with many users pretty interested in buildings and spaces I seem to be added quite a bit.

Why do you think you’re ‘huge’ on Pinterest? 
Maybe people like what I put up because it’s a bit different to the usual pillows, dresses and shoes 🙂
I am pretty fussy about how I categorise my stuff on there which comes about because I really just use it as a visual bookmarking system for my own reference, not really caring if anyone else looks at it.

Who is doing cool stuff in our industries? 

What was your first job? 
My first job was working for the furniture bohemith IKEA during my early studies. Saturdays were hell. It was a great place to work travel wise, you could plug yourself into any city with an IKEA and get a job fairly easily. I spend a bit of time working for them in the UK after I finished studying.

What’s the biggest misconception about Brisbane?
That there is nothing going on. Most of the creative communities have at least one event going on each week. Immerse yourself in a couple of them and you are set. It may not be of the volume of London or Melbourne, but it’s growing. I occasionally jump on an architecture related radio show broadcast from Melbourne reporting on Queensland happenings. The other hosts down their are envious of what is beginning to happen in Brisbane. The describe it as the feeling Melbourne had 15 years ago.

What’s the biggest opportunity and challenge for architecture in Brisbane?
There are plenty of opportunities to infill and densify our suburbs. There are plenty of council rules that that stop it. There are plenty of ways to get a balance between density and character.

What are some local upcoming events you recommend? 
• PechaKucha Brisbane –
• Seven with Another –
• The local version of the to soon be announced by
• Edible Streets Tours –

What’s next? 
Finish my study; refine my craft; and create simple comfortable architectural spaces for people to live in.