I studied Graphic Design at Falmouth and graduated in 2005, but my degree work was based around interior design. During the course I created an old fashioned barbers shop called "SIR" - with designs for the interior space and the corporate identity.
I went straight to London after graduation. The July 7th bombings happened during my first week there, so it wasn't a particularly great welcome!
I undertook placements at Design Bridge and 20/20 to name a few, but my interest in retail and interior design took over and I gained employment at the retail outlet Urban Outfitters in Covent Garden. Here I was in charge of the store's design and the retail graphics layouts. My other duties included the management of the retail space and the merchandise. This culminated in completing work in the flagship stores on Oxford Street and High Street Kensington.
With a strong interest in interior design, I looked for a more solid job within the retail sector and found it with the hotel chain Malmaison and Hotel du Vin. I was concerned that I might find if difficult to break into the world of Interior Design. However, my boss saw my portfolio and thought that my graphics background would highly benefit me in designing the bold and ‘in your face' designs for Malmaison.
I worked for 4 years as part of the in-house design team for Malmaison and Hotel du Vin, working directly with the Director of Design and CEO on all aspects of design.
My role as Interior Designer involved a number of different factors:
- Lead designer of the new Hotel du Vin Newcastle. This included drawings for all areas with detailed furniture designs for all 42 bedrooms and all public areas, plus detailed elevations for all public areas - including reception, bar lounge, bar, meeting rooms, bistro, meeting rooms, and public WC's and public corridors
- Lead designer of the £2.5million refurbishment of Malmaison Manchester. This included the complete refurbishment of 120 bedrooms, incorporating new furniture designs & bedroom schemes, sanitary ware schedules and bathroom finishes, plus the creation of two super suites & seven suites
- Responsible for the refurbishment of bedrooms at One Devonshire Gardens in Glasgow
- Lead designer on the refurbishment of Malmaison Belfast & Hotel du Vin Bristol
- Lead designer on the extensive refurbishment of timeshare lodges at DeVere Cameron House, Loch Lomond.
I was able to develop my skills by using a wide variety of computer programmes, whilst also developing a strong working relationship with those around me, together with directing and overseeing Junior Designers. The role allowed me to take on more responsibility than a typical interior designer of my level, by liaising with architects and contractors, obtaining service information and drawings and sourcing materials and compiling quotations. I had the opportunity to follow my projects right through from concept to completion.
I moved away from Malmaison and Hotel du Vin in August 2010 and joined an international architectural practice in central London. In my role I had sole responsibility for the conceptual development and detail design of the spa areas of a seven star spa resort located in Istanbul, Turkey. This included detailed plans and concept designs to ensure that the seven spas each had a unique identity and design, whilst fitting within the overall brand that the client wished to achieve. I worked alongside specialist contractors to achieve a cutting edge and unique spa environment. I travelled to Turkey on numerous occasions to present my design and ideas to the client and representatives - whilst also building relationships with local suppliers and specialist trades.
I also oversaw a team of Designers working on the Grand Reception and Restaurant areas of the same resort. This included briefing them on the design that I wished to achieve and also reviewing and marking up their work on a daily basis to ensure we met the necessary deadlines.
I have now taken the step to branch out alone and work for myself. I am currently working on a number of hotels, hospitality and high-end residential projects throughout the UK and Europe. I am overseeing projects from conceptual design, through design development and detail design, and to installation on site and completion. This industry is an amazing area to work in and I am inspired everyday - I feel lucky that seven years after graduating I have a very successful career and an amazing portfolio of work that I am very proud of.