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Architect of an unstable mind



Genevieve Lilley – Architectural Muse – ‘I Love Todd Sampson’

“Michelle St Anne understands the potential of a space better than nearly all the people I meet in the design industry.” – Genevieve Lilley, Set Designer for The Living Room Theatre

Architect and artist reunite in August 2016 when Genevieve Lilley designs the sets for The Living Room Theatre’s I Love Todd Sampson – the reimagining of Michelle St Anne’s two most renowned performances, I Love Todd Sampson – Voices of the Vulnerable with Billie.

It was in early 2013 that the working relationship and friendship between Genevieve and Michelle began. Michelle put out an expression of interest through the NSW Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architect’s website, seeking architects to donate their resources to help design and build installations for I Love Todd Sampson – Voices of the Vulnerable. Genevieve was one of those architects who responded and the rest was history.

Genevieve applies her background in buildings and design to suggest the different ways that space and objects can help deliver the emotions present in Michelle’s work. “Usually this banter is entirely instinctive, and I think we are comfortable enough with each other for me to suggest things that may or may not work, and for her to embrace some things and reject others,” Genevieve said.

Genevieve graduated from the University of Sydney in 1991 with the University Medal before her architecture and construction took her across the globe including the UK, Spain, Italy and back to Australia. Her journey also saw her work with renowned architects such as Britain’s Sir David Chipperfield, for whom she worked on civic projects at the Natural History Museum in London, and the River and Rowing Museum at Henley on Thames.

After re-establishing her own practice in Sydney in 2005, she opened an additional office in Hobart in 2012. Amongst her various architecture accolades, Genevieve was for 9 years a designer/co-director for the Sydney-based jewellery business, Venerari, which specialises in modern jewellery using coloured gems.

Genevieve describes herself as an “environmental muse” for The Living Room Theatre but is also profoundly moved by Michelle’s ability to exploit space and communicate those feelings.

“Every space has inherent qualities, and Michelle’s work draws out these qualities – she uses spaces, and the movement of the audience, to create (and then enhance) each scene. As her work often has little or no language, these nuances become critically important,” Genevieve said.

“The decisions she makes about how spaces and buildings are used are breathtaking, and often deeply unfashionable. Michelle is the architect of our emotions, and her materials include people, buildings, objects, music, water, bodily fluids.”