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2017 EVENT FOR THE INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF INTERIOR ARCHITECTS & DESIGNERS

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Recently, Nigeria was nominated and won the bid to host the 28th edition of the World Design Congress/General Assembly by the International Federation of Interior Architects/Designs, I.F.I

This was held alongside the African Culture & Design festival from the 9th  to 12th November 2017 in Lagos, Nigeria. Over 100 countries were represented at the assembly which held on African soil since 2001 in Johannesburg, South Africa.  The theme for the 2017 IFI Congress; ” World Class Design in Regional Markets : Interior Architecture/Design into the future” was summarized in the welcome address given by the IFI President, Sebastiano Raneri (2015 – 2017);

This year’s IFI Congress is grounded on the most potent issues affecting the built environment at the regional and global levels. The international community faces a complex set of problems that require professionals to look beyond traditional approaches and perspectives. As a creative entity dedicated to professionalism and international cooperation, IFI offers a strategic approach to problem solving that closely integrates design and the built environment to preserve a global social responsibility – Sebastiano Raneri, IFI President (2015-2017)

The African Culture and Design Festival was a major highlight of the 2017 General Assembly featuring 3 pavilions curated for design, contemporary arts and traditional arts. Sir David Adjaye, Kunle Adeyemi, Alfredo Bullembourg and Demas Nwoko were some of the keynote speakers at the Congress addressing various topics from defining design excellence for identity distinction to integrating art and design for beauty with meaning.

Each pavilion at the festival provided a platform for artists and designers to redefine the narrative surrounding African creative talents. Besides the 3 main pavilions, the African Culture and Design Festival played host to GUIDE CURATED where the Interior Designers association of Nigeria members, furniture and product designers got a chance to exhibit their products in a series of curated spaces.

Dignitaries from Nigeria and overseas graced the festival and witnessed a showcase of Africa’s rich artistic history, as well as explore how contemporary art and design are shaping the continent’s economic future. I was also there representing Lisa Interiors to soak in inspiration, network, learn and mingle with other professionals from a vast background of design.

See highlights of the event below:

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THE THIN LINE BETWEEN FASHION AND INTERIOR DESIGN

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The connection between interior design and the fashion industry is growing closer than ever before. As an interior designer, my design style is often mirrored in the choice of clothing for my wardrobe. I tend to view interior spaces as planes. I see walls, furniture lying against walls, center carpeting and even draperies as series of panes layering against or beside each other. As such, I am more attracted to and have more blocked clothing, from shoes to bags and even accessories. I am more at home with solid colors overlapping one another than the flowery and patterned designs.

Sometimes, it is easier to find inspiration in your own closet than it is from interior design moodboards. Every night, I lay out the outfit for the following day, so, it only makes sense that some of the inspiration for my designs might have been soaked in from my wardrobe collection. There are other instances where browsing fashion blogs and the latest runway fashion prove to have just the right infusion of style and luxury that makes me want to try it on a next design.

“There are design principles that both practices share when creating furnishings in a space or an ensemble of clothing: determining a focal point, creating the silhoutte, balancing proportion and details”, says Lindy Donnelly, who established her own interior design practice in 2003 outside of San Fransisco, after 18years as a fashion designer in New York. Most have said that this transition from fashion to interiors has been a natural progression versus the other way round but like Creative Director Newell Turner says, “If you care about the way you look, you are going to care about the way you live”.

Patch fabrics like (Ankara) that used to be just reserved for fashion have found their way into furniture design and home decor pieces. One of the most popular places to soak inspiration for fashion is from color. Although colors for fashion is usually more striking and hot, you can also find the toned down version in your interior spaces. For illustration, the 2017 Pantone Color has been named greenery, which is basically a particular color green. We find an interplay of this hue on both the fashion and design scenes. More thought tend to go into our interior design choices because we are likely to wear the outfit we choose for our homes daily, removing and adding all the different layers that make up our home style. The possibilities are endless when fashion inspires interior design.

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I do my best to follow fashion trends globally, not just for the inspiration for design but because I also believe that class is permanent. Often times, you will attract the kind of clients you dress up for. And when you belong to a world class institution, you are expected to dress the part.

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Fashion and interior design are all-time buddies, exchanging batons often, and determined to make our lives just a bit better, so let us embrace the best of both industries.

Yours truly.

THE COMEBACK FROM A SETBACK

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Setbacks are a guarantee in life and it is almost inevitable in business. The most successful businesses are usually those borne out of setbacks which propelled them into greatness. What such business owners discovered was how to fail forward, and turn every loss into their advantage. Until you experience it yourself, you cannot truly appreciate the wins from a setback. So, it is important that you decide early on, that no matter the setback you face in your business, you will get back up again.

My interior design business is roughly 5 years old. In my country, Nigeria, the design industry has not been as competitive as it currently is. So, with hardwork, tenacity and a committment to excellence, you could easily carve out a success niche for your business. I started out well in my business. I had good support from friends and family and I got several recommendations for various projects. I was a freelancer and although I had organizational skills, the structure of my business very well centered around getting a phone call, meeting the client to get a brief, executing the project and waiting for the next phone call.

It was a cycle that I desperately needed to break out from and I knew that the only way was to push my brand in the direction of my desired clients. At the time, I didn’t have the credibility to attract the kind of clients that I really desired, which are the most stylish clients around the world. So, I decided to opt for a post-professional degree in interior design at the New York School of Interior Design – NYSID. Attending classes at NYSID was a great start but, I did not have sufficient funding to continue studies till graduation. I had to drop out by the second semester of the first year and forcefully return to Nigeria.

I was returning to square one and starting all over, and frankly did not know how to get back in the game. I had given my all to the dream to further my studies and I had failed at it. I was crippled for many months, then decided to seek the help of a business mentor. We held a 4-hour discussion analyzing where I was and how I could move from that point. He pointed me to the one resource I still had at my disposal, that is SOCIAL MEDIA. He reminded me that there are still millions who go online everyday seeking to meet their professional needs. I left that meeting with an idea, that was going to create an opportunity for me to become relevant in my field again.

I began looking around for an immediate problem to solve.
ALAS! The office of the Senior Pastor of the Church where I worship had been flooded recently so the furniture items were moved around and the entire office turned over. I had the perfect opportunity for a make-over but once again lacked the funds to get it done. I needed investors for my idea to work, and thankfully, I had the goodwill of a designated few, who willingly bought into my idea. The project was completed in less than 10 days and ended up being a pleasant surprise for the Senior Pastor, who was away on an international trip. The rest is history!

This singular act has ushered in many more projects afterward. I did not only bounce back from this setback, it propelled my business into greater visibility, thereby atttracting my kind of clients.

For every setback, you need to embrace the failure but not personalize it. You should also seek professional help from trusted business mentors and remember that, you are too loaded to fail.

Yours truly,

XoXo

HOW TO GET CLIENTS FOR AN INTERIOR DESIGN BUSINESS START-UP

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…”the labor of a fool wearies him, because he doesn’t know how to enter into the city”…Ecc 10:15

Several entrepreneurs go round in circles at the start-up of their businesses. You have good intents. You have much value to offer. Your ideas are uniquely yours. You even have the sufficient skills  and competence to deliver such services to a prospective client. But the customers just never seem to show up. I have been there and I had to seek the counsel of a business mentor. With structure in place, you can begin to explore the following suggestions in your business venture.

STRATEGY

Have a strategy.

You should have a picture of your ideal prospective client. Determine your target audience. Imagine yourself as the client in need of the services or product you have to offer and dream up the extent (how large or small) you want the project scope to be. That is the power of positive thinking; whatever you call in your mind will gravitate towards you. Next, be prepared to offer your services at little or no cost at all. Look for the closest representation of your ideal client in your immediate surrounding – family, friends, colleagues and create an opportunity to express your competencies. Let your work speak for itself. The more freebies you engage in, the more capacity you are building in preparation for your next, hopefully big opportunity.

REBRAND

Rebrand your business.

For a start-up, brand perception is as important as the product you’re selling. The package of the product gives a first impression that attracts a prospective client to look and look again. Keep rebranding till you have proven the credibility of your product and services. Complimentary cards, an active website, a corporate account, company letterhead, brochure, customized gift items are some ways you may package your business to a prospective client. Additionally, there are young talented brand identity managers that you can consult with within budget. Do your part. Keep working on your content and keep building capacity. Your clients are guaranteed to arrive!

SOCIAL MEDIA

Leverage on social media.

Don’t only take selfies and hang-out pictures with friends. Post pictures of work in progress, installation processes on a site, material selections, market surveys and so on. These bits and pieces come off to a prospective client as informative posts rather than entertaining. Sell your products. Network efficiently. You can take it up a notch and make use of billboards – digital or static. There’s a lasting impression ingrained on the mind of a passer-by such advertorials. Engage catch phrases, attractive colors, bold and stylish enough to hold anyone’s attention for at least 5 seconds or more.

2017 COLOR INTELLIGENCE – FEATURED

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In a bit to refresh and revitalize, Greenery was named the 2017 pantone color of this year.

That’s exactly what the 2017 Color of the Year represents: refreshment, rejuvenation and rebirth, according to Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute.

Greenery is a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew. Illustrative of flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors, the fortifying attributes of Greenery signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate. It is symbolic of new beginnings.

Greenery is nature’s neutral. The more submerged people are in modern life, the greater their innate craving to immerse themselves in the physical beauty and inherent unity of the natural world. This shift is reflected by the proliferation of all things expressive of Greenery in daily lives through urban planning, architecture, lifestyle and design choices globally. A constant on the periphery, Greenery is now being pulled to the forefront – it is an omnipresent hue around the world.

A life-affirming shade, Greenery is also emblematic of the pursuit of personal passions and vitality.

What is the PANTONE Color of the Year?

A symbolic color selection; a color snapshot of what we see taking place in our global culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude.

***** Above featured POST was reported by the Pantone Color Institute

THE CONCEPT OF ORIGINALITY

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Often we think design is about bringing something new into the world, most of the time, it’s actually about taking some idea or thing that already exists, and making it better, says Anthony Deen New York.

I keep bumping into discussions of originality in design and most times I’m left to conclude, and in my opinion that originality is just what it is – being original. Regardless of how many sources you soak inspiration from before you come up with a design, the successful interpretation and conceptualization of ideas from those wells of inspiration informs your originality. It is one thing to be inspired by other designers works – past or present, it is another thing to create something exclusively fresh. However, in all fairness to the concept of originality, perhaps we should say our designs are innovative not necessarily original.

The following conversation ensued between two design professionals: One said to the other, that, “Intellectual property is a designer’s greatest asset”. It’s unfair when ORIGINAL ideas are “stolen” without being paid for. We must fight for our right.

All the red lights on hypocrisy beamed immediately, especially since they had  just finished comparing notes on design ideas “gotten via the Internet”. So, the other designer said to her, for me, the concept of “originality” simply doesn’t exist in relation to professional practices. All great designers, past and present, build on the legacies and ideas of others. After years of consistent applications, we may say we have defined our design “NICHE”. Striving for originality is a vain idea. A profession survives on shared ideas. – Tolulope Adeyi

She goes on to say, that, the designer will only seemingly, steal what’s good. So every aspring designer should spend time and energy improving on the knowledge and ideas of others in order to influence successive grnerations and thereby learn the BUSINESS of their trade.

Still learning, we would like to hear from you. Kindly post your comments and thoughts on this subject of Originality in the comments section below. Also, feel free to share and gift someone this post, whom you know would like to weigh in on the concept of originality. Did I mention Tolulope Adeyi is my all time buddy in the industry…LOL. I don’t know with whom she had the above conversation, but the following sounds like what could have fueled her response.

“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old movies, new movies, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable, originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery, celebrate it if you feel like it. – Jim Jarmusch”

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THE FUTURE DESIGN OF – H O M E S

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The world is evolving,  technology is advancing, change is inevitable. Changes in our standard of living, mode of relating with each other and the overall perception of what the world will look like in the next century is gradually gaining grounds. Future predictions show buildings will take a whole new outlook in meeting the needs of shelter. Cities are becoming increasingly overcrowded and available building spaces are constantly shrinking on size. A lot of designers and architects are taking steps to consider innovative ways of housing under water, on water, in remote areas, in-cloud apartments, bridge housing and micro apartment living amongst others. I’ll be giving more considerations to the micro living because I can readily relate with that. I’ll definitely feel safer living on land.

With micro living, every space in the home ; bedroom, kitchen, toilet, sitting and dining areas have to be optimally optimized for multi tasks. Micro living is about making the most efficient use of the space you’ve been provided with. So for a kitchen function, being the center of energy, activity, comfort and creativity in the home, all you need is a counter-top as shown in IKEA’S Designing of 2025 Kitchen. 

A certain group of design professionals were also tasked to research the future of residential apartments as imagined from carefully selected movies and then formulate their own vision of where the world is leading in the coming century as well as how it might impact the home of the future. One of the designers, Yu Shiang Fu, whom I deeply respect took inspiration from the micro living trend for his design, “Future Micro Living”. Featured on The-Editor-At-Large magazine NY, he says he wanted to create a flexible space, incorporating horizontal sliding tracks on the walls with stackable functions. One wall is the utility wall, where a table, beds and storage can be slid into and out of use. The opposite wall is the mood wall, where residents can express their personality through different colors, decorations and pictures. In micro-living design, they are more focused on the function, as everything needs to be really small, really functional, not really focused on the emotional, says Fu on his reasoning behind the mood wall.

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