Florence Aina | Interior Design

Creatives in Focus

Hello friends, I am back with another interview for the “Creatives in Focus” series. This week we are focusing on Interior Design, I had a great discussion with a graduate interior designer, Florence Aina on the path to becoming an Interior designer. Grab a drink and let us get stuck in !!!

Vicky: What is interior design?

Florence: There is this notion that interior design is just matching cushion and curtains, which can be frustrating. The furnishing aspect is more geared to interior decorating where you take a blank room and you decorate or furnishing the room with desired items.

Interior design is assessing a space/s, understanding the functionality of space/s in a building and implementing the client’s vision whether it be a retail, educational or workspace. It can include furnishing, but it is more about understanding the space and being able to communicate effectively with the client.

Interior designers work closely with architects because we need to understand building structure. We also interact with suppliers for furnishing items like fabric. This can make work tedious and but it is a rewarding process.

Vicky: What is your final product as an interior designer?

Florence: Your final product is a transformed space. The process includes meeting with the client, finding out their ideas and inputting your ideas. It is an ongoing interaction depending on who your client and space. There is a research aspect of interior design, ideas can be sourced from the internet, magazines and visiting the space. You can be inspired by various sources, a lot of people use Pinterest to create boards to collate their ideas. The execution process includes sourcing products, costing and project planning.

Vicky: Why did you decide to study interior design?

 Florence: Initially, I wanted to study architectural engineering, so I went to college to study mechanical engineering because I thought it would help me to get into architectural engineering. I studied for two years in college and transferred to third-year architectural engineering. I soon realised that architectural engineering was not for me. I had to reflect on what I really wanted career-wise, and I eventually went for something more creative after being introduced into interior design by my tutor. I have enjoyed learning new skills, such a graphic design and this year I conducted my final year project which was challenging but rewarding.

Vicky: Did you find it difficult to explain to friends and family that you could study interior design at university?

Florence: Yes, sometimes I felt like I needed to do a lot of explaining especially switching from engineering. I would always emphasise my creative ability and how I was drawn to pursue a career in interior design. People still do not understand the amount of research and progressive development interior design requires. My mum was and is really supportive,  although she was initially concerned because of my switch from engineering to interior design, we worked through my priorities and she later supported my decision.

Vicky: What requirements do you need to be able to study interior design at university?

Florence: I cannot speak for everyone, I was referred to it interior design by my university tutor. I sent over a mini portfolio for my tutor to access my ability and creativity. Heriot-Watt university later accepted my application. I am aware of other individuals who came into the interior design from courses like architectural history and graphic design. The typical route is to study interior design in college for two years and then study for two years at university.

Vicky: In this digital age do you need to know how to draw to be able to become an interior designer?

Florence: You need to prove that you have creative ability, it might not necessarily be through drawing. In my case, I was skilled in that area. As a creator being able to quickly visualise and communicate your ideas is important.

As a creator being able to quickly visualise and communicate your ideas is important

Vicky: What are the three skills an interior designer needs to have?

Florence: You need be a good communicator because you will be working with various individuals in different sectors. You definitely need to be creative and constantly seek out various learning opportunities.

Vicky: What do you find most challenging about studying interior design?

Florence: I have had to pick up a lot of new skills but making an extra effort to look out for online tutorials really helped. I tried my best to stay motivated during the challenging aspects of my final year project.

Vicky: What do you find the most interesting or exciting about interior design?

Florence: I enjoy being in control of the creative process and stirring the direction my work. I love being the boss.

Vicky: What inspired your final year project?

Florence: In summer I wanted to visit famous landmarks in Scotland, I took a couple of trips with my mum and explored. I visited the House of Dun located in Montrose and is owned by the National Trust for Scotland. I was captivated with this 18th-century Georgian house and its big gardens, I was also captivated by the history behind it. I decided to use the House of Dun as my site. An observation I made was that the House of Dun appealed to the older generation. I recognised that the younger generation is more interested in technology than history. I asked myself “what can make history more appealing to the younger generation?

The concept for my project is introducing technology but preserving the integrity of history. A fusion of the past, present and future. I introduced advancing technology into the House of Dun, a tourist attraction which may become appealing to the younger generation as well the older generation. Through the introduction of technology such as virtual reality and augmented reality, we could introduce the history of this site to the visitors. When viewing a room, you are introduced to historical figure telling their story or a story behind the room.

Courtesy of Florence

Vicky: What is the purpose of a degree show?

Florence: It is an exhibition or presentation of your project to the public and people in the industry. You talk about your project with them. You will usually have your poster, portfolio and business cards. It is like a stall where you are selling your final product. It could be a stepping stone to job and business opportunities.

Vicky: What is a portfolio?

Florence: A portfolio is a display of your work for the viewing of people in the industry. If you are a model your portfolio will consist of the different projects and photoshoots you have done. In the same way with interior design, you will collate different projects you have worked on. You have to present your portfolio in a way which it impactful and informative. A portfolio is like your CV.

Vicky: What career prospects do you have as an interior designer?

Florence: Interior design is not where your journey stops. A lot of individuals gain experience by working with a company, they build their career and branch out to other fields. I would personally like to gain experience in different areas. I am interested in designing domestically and commercially and maybe starting up a business in the future.

Courtesy of Florence Aina

Vicky: What advice would you give to someone who is interested in studying interior design?

Florence: If you are creative, never stop wanting to learn new things because the world is advancing so fast. Make sure you are passionate about what you do, find your niche and practice.

Vicky: What are you working on at the moment?

Florence: I am currently organising my degree shows which will be held from May to July 2018. I am currently updating my portfolio and the sky cannot limit me.

You are welcome to come along to my upcoming degree shows I’ll be participating in:

> Scottish Borders Degree Show – 25th-31st May 2018, TD13HF

> Edinburgh Degree Show – 7th June 2018, EH89SU

> Free Range London – 12th – 15th July 2018, E16LQ

Connect with Florence

Email: florrie23@hotmail.co.uk

Instagram: flo_aina

Website: www.florenceaina.com

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