“Let’s start a magazine.”
It seemed like an unusual thing for a property development start-up to do, but as with many of Pino’s great ideas, his origination of Assemble Papers was founded in foresight, intuition and an innate understanding of how to build brands and communities.
At the time, we recognised the conversation our generation was having about decreasing housing affordability and the poor quality of new housing supply, was a complex conversation that needed a platform for exploration.
Rather than it being a publication about problems and critique, it needed to be optimistic, diverse and a celebration of the culture of living closer together. If we were going to influence and make positive change, it had to be through the sharing of positive ideas.
In June 2012, after 10 months locked away in a level three warehouse studio on Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, researching and writing our business plan, Assemble and Assemble Papers were born with a small gathering of friends and family under our origami ceiling in our first studio in High St, Northcote.
Six years, nine print issues and over 300 articles later, Pino’s instincts about Assemble Papers were correct, and the publication enjoys a loyal readership of over 40,000 people and has flourished under his creative direction and the tireless efforts of former editors, Eugenia Lim, Rachel Elliot-Jones and Sara Savage, current editor Jana Perkovic, and a passionate team of editorial assistants, photographers and contributors.
The small footprint ideas and philosophies explored through Assemble Papers are being realised in built form through Assemble’s project at 122 Roseneath St Clifton Hill, in partnership with Wulff Projects and Icon Developments. 80 per cent of the apartments and townhouses were sold on the first day of sales, 95 per cent to owner-occupiers, many of whom are from the Assemble Papers community.
Pino was responsible for leading the brand and marketing workstreams and jointly leading the participatory design process for the project and his outstanding efforts were acknowledged with the 2016 Victorian Premiers Design Award for Service Design.
As with many new and small businesses, we’ve faced some challenges in bringing our vision to life, and if it weren’t for our friendship, belief in each other, persistence and the mutual respect for our diverse skill sets, we would have failed and given up a long time ago.
Along with the efforts of our development partners, Roseneath St is a product of our partnership and will be a wonderful legacy of our work together.
In 2018, Assemble will transition to a new development model with new partners and team members to be announced shortly. Quino and Ben will retain executive roles in the business as Design Director and Strategy Director respectively. This represents an exciting new chapter for Assemble as we go deeper into building the culture of living closer together.
With these changes, Pino has decided to resign from his role as Director of Assemble to focus on his roles as Founder & Creative Director of Local Peoples and Editor In Chief & Creative Director of Matters Journal, a weekly digital and biannual print publication exploring responsible business, sustainability and impact across the arts, design, environment, food, health and technology. Pino will also continue to pursue his property development interests through deliberative development projects independently.
Over the last six years, Pino has provided excellent stewardship, strategy and creative direction across all aspects of Assemble and Assemble Papers. His ability to problem solve, foresee trends, identify opportunities and back his instincts, make him a remarkable creative professional and business leader.
We sincerely thank Pino for his outstanding contribution to Assemble and Assemble Papers and wish him the best for his future professional endeavours.
As one of our closest friends and soon to be neighbours at Roseneath St, we look forward to many more fun and happy times as mates and with our families together.
Ben & Quino