- Article by Natalie Mortimer
As Hassell promotes senior associate of interior design Emily Moss to the role of principal, ADR speaks to the eight-year Hassell veteran about her favourite spaces in Australia and where she draws inspiration from.
Can you tell us a little about your background and how you first became interested/involved in architecture?
I grew up with a balance of creative and scientific influence and as it turned out I was geared the same way. When selecting a course at university interior architecture seemed the right medium for me, instead of my passion for fashion and medicine. After all, they are all about the human body but with varying approaches. I am particularly interested in how, as a designer, we intuitively respond to a client’s concept and develop it into a workable solution.
You have recently been promoted to principal at Hassell, how will your role be changing and what are you most looking forward to?
I don’t see my role changing as such, it will be an evolution into my next phase at Hassell. I will remain very much project based with design quality as my primary focus, but the principal role allows me to determine where and how I add value, not only within our Sydney studio but more broadly across the global Hassell network.
I work directly with a great interior design team in Sydney and I am looking forward to continuing to support and mentor our designers. Hassell has provided me with so many wonderful opportunities in terms of project work and experience and I hope that I am able to facilitate similar opportunities for our next generation. The design talent that is coming through Hassell, and also within the wider design community, is truly inspirational to see. I very much look forward to the opportunities the next generation will present me, in terms of new ideas and challenging my own thinking, as much as I am about helping to guide their design and career journey.
Who or what is inspiring you in 2018?
At the moment Florence Lopez, a French antiques dealer/interior architect. She deals in vintage 20th Century furniture and decorative arts, taking on only a few interiors projects a year. She re-invents her own home which also operates as a gallery space every couple of years. I love that it is done wholeheartedly and completely without fear, embracing a theme or assembling around a particular object. It is fascinating to look through images of the same space re-invented over and over. Her next re-invention is due this year.
What would you say are the biggest factors affecting the design and architecture industry at the moment?
I think a key factor that has always impacted the industry but is now becoming more evident, is convincing clients of the value of design. There has always been the argument of form versus function, but I definitely believe in the amalgamation of the two. The ongoing return on investment for clients, whether that be environmental sustainability or talent attraction and retention, is easy to see once a project is completed, but it isn’t always easy to see this in the early stages of the design and planning process. This is changing rapidly though as clients are really committing to the value good design can deliver to a project.
Another interesting factor is the need for flexibility and futureproofing of projects. The way we live, work, and play is always changing and the impact this has on design can’t be ignored. As designers, we need to add ‘fortune teller’ to our capability statements as we are constantly looking to the future for what comes next and how this will impact the projects we are working on.
What is your favourite space in Australia and why?
Perhaps a cliché, but it has to be the Sydney Opera House. The whole of the architectural approach, materiality and manipulation of light is comparable internationally to some of the breath-taking spaces I have been fortunate to visit, particularly in Japan and Scandinavia, during holidays turned architectural pilgrimages.
What is the piece of work you are most proud of, and why?
Pepper’s workplace in Sydney is the result of a trusting client and a highly committed, broader project team. This trust and commitment ensured the conceptual idea remained strong through the development of the design, evident in planning, materiality and detail. Despite being a budget and time conscious project, our own Hassell team, and similarly the broader client-project team, had a lot of fun – that’s what that sticks with you after the job’s over.