A week in the life of…our Interior Design Architect
There are many moving parts in a Design and Build project: our Interior Design Architect, Fernanda Scholz, tells us how she makes the magic happen:
Firstly, tell us how you became an Interior Design Architect…
I initially qualified as an architect and then decided to complete a Master’s in Interior Design. For me, this meant that I could “square the circle” of understanding what clients want, making sense of creative requirements to then get the technical aspects right.
How does your week pan out?
No two days are ever the same! You’ll often find me hopping on the Tube between client meetings and then back in the office in Kennington creating 3D CGIs and moodboards. Meanwhile, I’ll be collaborating with the rest of the East On team to work on project plans and budgeting. It’s very much a team effort across the company. And of course there are video calls throughout the week but I very much prefer the personal touch.
There is always a time in the day when I take time out to focus on “pure” designing, in fact I have a “go away, I’m designing” mug which makes everyone else laugh! But that’s me, my favourite mug and a strong coffee and I’m happy!
But of course, I have to balance creative design with the need to provide accurate material for use on site, this means taking time to produce technical and architectural drawings that are precise and clear. This side of my role requires very close attention to detail and it’s a large element of what I do.
You’ve worked on residential as well as commercial projects, is there anything that you can take from the residential world into your designing?
It’s all about people and that’s the same whatever type of project you work on. I find that really getting to understand the person behind the brief is absolutely crucial to a successful project; it helps you to work out how best to present your designs and increases the chance of the first draft being close to what a client had imagined.
Is there anything that is unique to East On Projects?
We work with a lot of creative businesses in broadcast, media and marketing – that’s music to my ears as a designer! That type of company can sometimes give us a blank slate to work with design-wise and I love getting the chance to fuse this creativity with the technical projects that we are known for.
How do you keep up with current trends?
I spend time with manufacturers and suppliers, through showroom tours and visiting exhibitions and events. Design is a very tactile process so working with samples and seeing products in situ is vital. Only last week, I took a showroom tour with Gresham Furniture and I’m off to the Surface Design and Workspace shows in February.
Talking of trends, is there anything we should be taking notice of?
There had been a trend for encouraging teams back to workplaces by making premises very cosy and focusing on soft seating and furnishing, so that staff almost felt reminded of home. That’s changed now and there is much more of a focus on innovation in technology around hybrid working and right sizing with ergonomics.
Workspaces now need to comfortable and “cool” – business still need to give their teams a great reason to leave the house in the morning!
Is there anything that you do on every project?
It’s all about that first briefing meeting. It’s always, always a LONG meeting but it’s the only way that I can get under the skin of the brief. So I need to understand how each team in a business wants to work, what they do right now that they’d like to keep and where the problem areas are. It’s all about questions, obviously from me, but I know it’s working when everyone has questions and we can discuss expectations freely. When this goes well, I have a much better chance of my first draft being close to the final project design.
How “hands on” are you on projects?
Very! I’ve been known to get my hands dirty with decorating and of course, as an architect, I like to be on site double checking all measurements for myself.
Thanks Fernanda! We’ll let you get back to your favourite mug and that strong coffee now!