Blainey North is an Australian architect and interior designer whose name has travelled far beyond the borders of her homeland. Even as a child, she would be seen drawing floor plans in order to organise the pieces of furniture in the most interesting manner. So that is how Blainey decided to take up architecture.
What is your philosophy? Who are you?
"My philosophy is inspired by my unique vision of the world, something I try to share with each person who enters one of the environments we have created. I'm proud of the intensive, rigorous and intellectual manner we approach each project with. We link this to a natural instinct and to a genuine interest in the customer's desiderata. Each project tells its own story developed by my team and myself, a guarantee that the high standard and the objectives of the project will be met. I love my work. My life is intrinsically and unexplainably connected to my creative process. I feel that there is hardly any distinction between myself and the work my studio creates. My friends tell me I'm kind, determined and a little crazy!"
"Sheer luxury is for the customer to give me creative freedom"
Where do you stand now compared to when you started?
"As with each company that starts with a single person behind a desk, it was a process full of complexity and wonderment. It's fantastic to receive worldwide recognition after sixteen years of intensive work, but my true joy comes from realising projects which bring me great pride. I can honestly say that I live for the look on a customer's face when they see the finished product. I love to make people happy." How is your style determined?
"I like to think that our work does not exude one particular style, but that each project has a character of its own. This aesthetic sensitivity stems from a desire to stretch the boundaries throughout the worlds of fashion, visual arts and film. We try to put a relevant dimension of our creative output in each of these aspects. I also believe that our work is unique because of my architectural training. It helps me to imagine architecture, interiors and the overarching design as a holistic vision." What would you call luxury?
"For the customer to give me creative freedom, that is sheer luxury to me."
Can you guide me through the design process of a Blainey North project?
"I strive to create areas that boast unexpected, thrilling and rich meaning and completion, and that are specifically customised. This requires a collective of people who share the same vision on the project's diverse aspects in order to create as consistent a whole as possible. Each design process starts with a team meeting where we discuss ideas and shape a concept. What distinguishes us from other designer studios is our ability to maintain this concept throughout the entire decision-making and design stage of the project." Why the Crown Tower Villas-project?
"We had the privilege of working on the top eleven floors of Australia's finest hotel, the Crown Towers, and we designed their luxurious hotel rooms with a surface of 330 to 1400 square meters each. I am naturally drawn to collaborating with hotels because I enjoy working on spaces that are meant to increase the visitor's sense of luxury and drama."
"Each project is like a new relationship in which you explore all the possibilities the customer and the project have to offer"
How important is colour? Can you tell me more about the colours you used at the Crown Tower Villas?
"Colour is essential to every interior. I believe it sparks extreme reactions in each of us, so I use colour smartly and with a specific purpose. In the Crown Villas, for instance, we added accents of red and fuchsia to stir excitement and drama, but based on a refined colour palette. In the bedrooms, we used softer tones as those interiors were meant to somehow drift away. Beside those carefully selected colours, we also added bespoke patterns and motives throughout the carpeting, the wall coverings and the furniture, adding large scale detailed precision."
What inspires you?
"Quite honestly, I don't know. Each project is like a new relationship in which you explore all the possibilities the customer and the project have to offer. Inspiration and style take root from so many different things: past experiences, places you've been, ideas in your head and, finally, a thorough process to dissect their essence in order to create a unique story for each project. Style is almost secondary and arises from the decision-making of several projects."
This interview was originally published in Imagicasa Magazine Winter 2017.
All images courtesy of Blainey North