Nathan Scolaro on Dave Martin
The first thing you notice about Dave Martin is how great his face is—warm and full of expression, he looks like someone you could have a good yarn with, someone at home in his skin and unlikely to judge. Then he gets talking with his broad Aussie accent and you realise he’s exactly that: kind, grounded, interested in your story—someone my brothers would call a “bloody good bloke.”
Dave is your everyday Australian from the coast, a country guy with a passion for surfing and a damn big heart. In his teens and early twenties he completed a carpentry apprenticeship, developing a love for good design and craftsmanship before launching a career in the building industry that would be guided by a deeper sense of purpose and responsibility. Over the next decade he grew his vision, founding his own company, Martin Builders, and then more recently, The Sociable Weaver, which he co-founded with Small Giants, parent company of Dumbo Feather. He’s set himself apart by responding to the social and environmental needs underpinning his work, taking on residential projects that would allow him to be innovative with nature and design, and ultimately create a more holistic experience for the inhabitant. His practice has shown that carbon-positive is possible, and that the emotional energy and headspace tradies bring to the building process deeply effects a home’s foundations.
Dave had begun working with us for a couple of months before doing this interview. I’d already had a few lovely chats with him, but nothing to the extent of what we covered in this hour together, making me realise how important it is to sit down and share stories with our colleagues. I learned that he’d gone through quite a difficult separation with his wife, but brought such perspective and empathy to the process that he emerged with an even richer family dynamic. I also learned that he’s quite a spiritual guy, a disciplined meditator who believes he can bring much more to his work by making time every morning to journey inward.
I later visited Dave at his beachside home in Inverloch on Victoria’s Bass Coast, where building has commenced for one of his most exciting developments, the Cape Paterson eco-village. Greeting me with bare feet and a brilliant smile, he took me though his compact, thoughtfully designed ecohome where people are working (the place doubles as an office) and his three young kids are running about, climbing and building worlds. It was a picture of homelife I’d not seen before, and yet one so grounded in its messiness, so infused with love and consciousness, I hoped I’d see more of it in the future.