- Article by Elisa Scarton
Known to most as Brem, designer Brahman Perera is inspired by travel, fashion and art, and seeks to work with clients’ most treasured pieces to create designs that are unique and bespoke.
ADR: Hi Brem! Could you give us a quick introduction?
Brahman Perera: After finishing school, I earned a Bachelor of Architectural Design and Masters in Architecture from RMIT. Upon graduating, I decided to sidestep into fashion design and curation, opening a boutique. I then honed my skills in interior design at some of Melbourne’s top firms before setting up my own studio.
Is there something that is fundamental to your studio?
BP: A highly personal approach is at the heart of my practice. I admire the narratives of my clients’ lives, documented in their collection of possessions. These pieces form the keystone of my process and design approach. My work is about composing and reframing these treasured pieces while helping my clients build a personal collection of quality furniture to enjoy for many years to come.
Bouzy by Perrera and Jason M Jones was shortlisted for the 2018 IDEA Hospitality category.
What would be your dream project?
BP: I have always dreamed of working on an installation for the ballet or theatre. I can imagine fashion and music coming together with a fine, textural and layered landscape as the setting. This thinking could also be applied to a hotel, where hospitality, retail, wellness and residential design could come together, overlaid with a tailored approach to music and fashion.
What do you feel is the most challenging part of being an interior designer?
BP: There is an unfortunate focus on visual representation that often clouds the consideration of our remaining senses. A key challenge facing designers is to reiterate the power of lived experiences. It’s important to find a voice, develop a more personal approach and step away from the ubiquity of images that flood our feeds.
What inspires you?
BP: Fashion, art and travel are my greatest sources of inspiration. I often draw on atypical precedents to overlay my projects with unexpected detail, colour combinations or points of reference. I avoid steadfast trends in favour of teasing out my own curiosities and find this sparks inspiration and originality.
What is your most treasured belonging?
BP: My grandfather gave a speech at my wedding, and after he passed away we found a copy of the draft, written perfectly in his precise hand, in grey lead, on the back of an electricity bill. We have it framed in our home now.
Another treasure is a petite gold table lamp by Elisabeth Garouste. It’s gnarled and twisted with droplets of gems and glass leaves that flicker in the light. Garouste believes that “all inanimate objects have a soul” and this piece certainly does!
What other designers, peers and creatives do you admire?
BP: Matisse (specifically his paintings on walls and tiles), the Villa Natacha in Saint Jean Cap Ferrat in the 1950s is a particular visual I always come back to. Uldus Bakhtiozina, a Russian photo-based artist – I first came across her work blending fantasy and folklore with incredible artistic and theatrical fashion in 2015, and have been a follower of her work ever since. She and I both share an affinity with swans, which often form the subject matter of her compositions.
Finally, those familiar with my work will see that I am always inspired by Ann Hamilton, and the ephemeral architecture she shapes.
What’s next for Brahman Perera?
BP: I’m developing a collection of custom furniture and lighting pieces – a reflection of my recent inspirations and material curiosities.
This feature is part of our ongoing interview series with Australian designers and architects. Check out our most recent chats with furniture and bathware designer Thomas Coward, Melbourne design luminary Christopher Boots, up-and-coming editorial darling Alicia Holgar and Sydney stylist and interior designer Claire Delmar.