Recently, one of our iscd educators, Edwina Straub, visited the UK and France to attend London Design Week, Paris Deco Off and the Maison & Objet Fair in Paris.
Our students will hear more when Edwina presents her Studio Online talk to them, but until then, let’s all learn a little more about what Edwina saw and experienced in London and Paris.
You met with some incredible people, including British designer and founder of the Designers Guild, Tricia Guild OBE and renowned textile designer Dame Zandra Rhodes. It must be hard, but what were the highlights?
Being immersed around so many amazing showrooms that showcase the huge range of interior design projects was inspiring in both London and Paris. Being exposed to how these successful European designers present their styles and homewares was equally inspiring. There were so many highlights and being part of the design shows every day was a highlight because you were exposed to the top designers in their field.
Edwina Straub with Dame Zandra Rhodes. @edwina_straub
You also saw some amazing exhibitions, including at the Tate Modern, you visited design studios and Sketch London. What inspiration did you draw from these?
It is always important to view art exhibitions whenever you travel as it allows you as a designer to help tap into the collective consciousness to elevate your design. A few of my favourite exhibitions in London and Paris include, of course, the Yinka Shonibare installation, “The British Library,” at the Tate Modern – not only was it beautiful to look at and gave me huge interior ideas, but it was also elevating to see the positive side of immigration on a society. Shonibare’s artwork is a key feature on the walls in the redesign of the world’s most instagrammable restaurant Sketch by French interior designer India Madhavi – further showing how important fine art informs design.
Installation by Yinka Shonibare at the Tate Modern. @edwina_straub
Edwina in the Sketch restaurant, which features artwork by Yinka Shonibare. @edwina_straub
Another inspiring exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts was the Francis Bacon retrospective where I learnt how Bacon began his career as an interior designer. And when you look at his work not only was he amazing with colour combinations but also with spatial awareness – maybe he picked up these talents as an interior designer?
In Paris, six museums presented the paintings that inspired Yves Saint Laurent; these were presented next to his apparel designs spanning 60 years. This exhibition shows how designers from all disciplines are inspired by fine art to inform their work. I think I visited approximately 15 art exhibitions during my weeks in London and Paris. From each exhibition I can find something that will inform my design aesthetic.
You listened to talks, including one by Minnie Kemp on the differences between residential and commercial projects, you took part in workshops, reprinting William Morris designs and creating mood boards with ABI Interiors. How important is it to get hands-on like this in the design world?
It is important for a designer to have fun and not always create a design for an intended outcome. We get so caught up in front of our screens and are beginning to lose the importance of creating with our hands. The workshops further informed this importance of creating and did not stop in London. When in Paris I happened to be at a very cool concept store, “Merci” and was lucky enough to find an empty seat to participate in a workshop on the Japanese art of kintsugi – repairing broken ceramics with gold. I listened to talks about the business of interior design and design practices. Minnie Kemp, the daughter of Kit Kemp was especially interesting as she reiterated how important it is to begin your design with the colour wheel. The ABI Interiors workshop on creating mood boards also used the colour wheel as the basis to create well balanced mood boards.
Minnie Kemp. @edwina_straub
Then it was off to France for Paris Deco Off where you saw captivating exhibitions and the Maison & Objet Fair where you visited beautiful showrooms. What were some highlights there?
From the moment I left my hotel room to when I returned, every moment in Paris was inspiring. There were basically two main design fairs spread through Paris – the large exhibition Maison & Objet that was spread amongst seven massive halls about 30 minutes out of Paris in conjunction with Maison & Objet in the city that highlighted some of the designers’ showrooms on both the left and right bank.
There was also Paris Deco off… that featured all the textile houses in conjunction with Paris Deco Home featuring the furniture showrooms situated on the left and right banks with shuttle buses to take you to either side. The overall highlight was to be immersed in amazing design to experience what is trending overseas and how I can bring this into my own design practice that will resonate with my Australian interior clients’ projects.
Edwina at Paris Deco Off. @edwina_straub
Would you encourage your students to get involved in industry events, exhibitions and trade shows whenever they can?
It is so very important to get involved in industry events as it takes you out of your comfort zone and expands your knowledge. You do not have to fly overseas to do this. Early this week I attended a DIA sponsored event in Sydney, The Science & Intuition of Colours presented by a New York designer of interior textiles and carpets, Suzanne Tick.
My biggest takeaway from my travels is that all design begins with colour and you need to understand the history of art and design to inform and elevate your design practice.
Are you interested in studying Interior Design? Do you want to know more about our online courses and where a career in interior design could take you? Contact one of our course advisors today.