Slected as Juror for GOTYA Awards

A true honour for Jane to be part of the jury for the Australian GOTYA (Graduate of The Year Awards) 2021. Education and inspiring the next generation of designers is an area that Jane is deeply passionate about and she loved being part of this process, having an impact on our design community.
 
‘The GOTYA program mentoring students for almost two decades is a unique awards program created to support and celebrate exceptional designers from around Australia in the early stages of their career.’ DIA
 
 
 
 

published in inside magazine

A fabulous feature in inside magazine, on our short-listing for the national IDEA awards, Battery Point Living project!

We are very proud to be featured amongst some of the best names in the country. The IDEA winners will be announced at a gala event in February 2022, stay tuned!

Thank you to Anjie Blair for her stunning photography for our project. Finally, a big thank you to Maria Gigney for her incredible architecture that set the scene for us to integrate our interior design with.

 

Short-listed for national IDEA awards 2021

This week was an exciting one for our team, being short-listed for the national Interior Design Excellence Awards (IDEA), which celebrates the best of Australian interior and product design.

A single vision, to enmesh art and design into the client’s daily lives. A concept, larger than life and a place for reveries where moments are mused away.

Working with Simon Ancher for pieces that twist and turn. A torched table resembling a guitar plectrum, a spinal wall sculpture and a vertical blackwood leaf form, allowing light to dance through the central void.

Maria Gigney’s metal, grid-like architecture is at once unobtrusive and yet strong. Our interior pays tribute to her considered style, weaving, interlocking, and creating moments of pause. Black with rich, saturated ochre embracing the unicity of forms.

Natural light teems through the space, expanding the landscape while heightening the differing lines. Trust and desire are fused together in the most arresting way.

Interior design / Valentine Interiors
Photography / Anjie Blair

 

 

St Mary’s College talk at Elite Appliances

St Mary’s College students were treated to a morning of bathroom inspo and design insights at Elite Appliances.

Jane discussed the role of an interior designer in the industry, career opportunities and the way we use processes, design thinking and collaboration to achieve the fusion of form and function.

The Housing and Interior Design students explored the impressive historic building, checking out tapware, appliances, fixtures and fittings.

A fun and inspiring session, allowing students to embrace an industry that has passion, integrity, skill and the deep understanding of human behaviour within habitable spaces.

Work experience for Jaden

For Jaden, our most recent work experience student, a day at the Valentine Studio involved partaking in one of our intense team workshop sessions that involved developing and sharing a unique design concept in response to an object as simple as an orange. 

Jaden rose to the challenge, collectively reminding us of the importance of continually striving to learn more and the inherent value of sharing these experiences with aspiring designers to allow our industry to grow. 

A big thanks to Polytec Tasmania & Featherston Interiors for supporting these initiatives for the next generation of aspiring designers.

 

 

Knocking what?

In a world fuelled to promote efficient, convenient, and time-saving processes we can’t help but clutch on and bring to question the moments when tradition overrules and triumphs change. These moments exist, they are played out day in and day out, they are subconscious, unseen, and require no recognition. But we can’t help but ask, what is the deciding factor that encourages tradition over efficiency? What feeling, sense, outcome do we require to decipher when tradition is more important than convenience?

Take the concept of ‘‘knocking-in” the cricket bat. For those that don’t know, “knocking-in” is the process of preparing a new cricket bat so that it’s ready for use. Some use a mallet for this and apply linseed oil to prevent cracks, and others have their own unique way of preparing it, but the vital outcome is that the timber fibers are compacted together to create a smooth and durable surface. As parents or for anyone who doesn’t play cricket it’s extremely annoying, it’s six hours of loud repetitive noise, and it brings up the question of why? Why would we purchase an item that is not ready for use? Why would a cricket bat, during its manufacturing process not be fit for purpose or completely resolved? It seems strange that in the world we live in we haven’t yet resolved these requirements. Does this instead indicate that we actually need these traditional processes as a way to prepare us or to find value?  And if we are to think like this, what do these personal processes say about our practice? At what point does tradition become valued and triumph change? 

Forbes in their article How innovation can keep traditions alive in modern business discusses this fine balance between integrating tradition and innovation to ensure brands and organisations remain current and competitive in our ever-changing world. They unveil an interesting concept in their discussion that considers how traditions, passed down from generation to generation, ‘are anchors in our lives and form a fundamental part of our identity’ (1). It brings to light a notion of nostalgia, one that values an intricate relationship that exists in our experience of process rather than the experience of the outcome. For the cricket player, the knocking in of a new cricket bat is a fundamental step of ownership, and yet, would this then represent something entirely larger than simply ensuring that the timber is durable and ready for use? Does this process implicitly bind a player to their bat and in turn prepare them for their practice?  

Much like the ideas highlighted in the article by Forbes, this anecdote of the knocking-in of a cricket bat indicates that there is an undercurrent of value present when tradition triumphs over convenience and efficiency. What other processes do we apply to our practice that come from tradition, and what do they say about the deliverable. Because, as much as the noise of the cricket bat hitting the mallet frustrates us, it represents something more profound for the player. 

A subtle profoundness where the smell of freshly cut timbers, the feel, the texture, and the new form are material representations of the place where physical readiness coexists with the mental rehearsal that is often inherent in expressions (sporting and otherwise) that are grounded in tradition. It brings to light that other traditions, although trivial in their manner, should not be let go in fear of losing their fundamental value but instead harnessed and embraced. Often.

  1. Soulaima Gourani, How Innovation Can Keep Traditions Alive in Modern Business (2019) [online], Forbes, available at: <https://www.forbes.com/sites/soulaimagourani/2019/11/27/how-innovation-can-keep-traditions-alive-in-modern-business/?sh=16bf6a4bbe28>
 Article written by Valentine Interiors & Design

Has technology reduced the value of raw expression?

There is something magical about watching a sketch evolve. The raw nub of an idea gradually evolving from simple marks into a physical expression that captures a concept and articulates complex thoughts. Each mark is attended to yet simplified, requiring no further description — an abstract expression of space, interior or exterior as experienced by the viewer.

Expression is no longer confined to a realistic rendered approach but rather one that acknowledges form, complexities in movement, and the inherent qualities of a site. In our design practice, sketching gives invaluable direction and adaptability to our thinking. It doesn’t restrict us from considering how walls could replicate the profile of trees or how ceilings could behave like clouds. It’s open-ended; it has no limitations. Yet does our industry still value sketching as a tool for expression? Has technology, although bearing beneficial and advantageous properties to the industry, triumphed over respect for the simplicity of sketching?

Richard LePlastrier, an Australian architect, captured a profound appreciation of the act of drawing perfectly. His work as an architect is derived from a deep respect for his experience of place, where he can translate this experience through sketch. In an interview by the Sydney Living Museum (1), his discussion of art teacher Lloyd Reece who taught him throughout his architecture degree, inspires and reminds us of the need to draw as designers. Furthermore, it highlights how sketches should be shared, created, expressed not just to ourselves but to those we design for. His discussion draws attention to our modes of working today, where we sometimes shut off our expression to only ourselves. Has new technology reduced the value in raw expression? Maybe we don’t feel our clients value this process?  

These new technologies undoubtedly give us the ability to draw 2D and 3D spaces more effectively and dramatically change the scale we can design in. However, does this ability to render a close to realistic visual of a space diminish the value of the storytelling that can exist in the preliminary stages of a design when sketching? For LePlastrier, sketches gave an ability to tell a story, a story where each stroke was a deliberate and direct correspondence to a site or history. 

Sketches do not need to be technical or complicated to be appreciated. They should convey a story, perhaps as simple as how a passage through a home is derived from a curve in a tree branch. A story that begins with a pencil touching paper, an observation, an expression, translated through gesture.

  1. Richard LePlastrier, 2021. Richard LePlastrier – Extended interview (2016) [online] Sydney Living Museums, available at: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGI-bixNBCE>.

Article written by Valentine Interiors & Design

Push or Pull. Open or Close. Who knows…

‘The thing is, designers, should not make things work in the way they want it to work, but rather in the way human beings work’(1)

Have you found yourself in a lift, or even just trying to get yourself through a door and just got it wrong? The awkwardly painful moment when you push instead of pull. Or when you intend to hold the lift doors open for somebody, only to accidentally press the wrong button and close the door in their face. It happens all the time. It is worth considering at what point does the universality of design triumph the way we need things to work? How many things are as they are because that is the way they have always been.

Have our designed systems become so refined that they are no longer effective nor functional for everyone using them? Past designers such as Charlotte Perriand firmly respected the notion that form follows function. A modernist movement that placed the importance on function as the fundamental influencer of form. Perriand expressed this in an article that ‘the extension of the art of dwelling is the art of living’(2). It feels relevant to consider this as we continue to adapt and simplify, reducing the visual aspects of design. We must find a happy medium that marries the visual experience of design with the comprehension and the experience of using it. We must acknowledge that through continual refinement and in the application of historic design conventions, we are at risk of losing or displacing the intended function of our designs.

As designers, we should always take the opportunity to design better. We must learn to adapt, refine and evolve. The situation in the lift simply should not happen. Instead, we could reconsider what has been and replace it with what could be. Design that seeks to better our collective experience. Good design does not always need to be stripped of its visual aspects. It does not necessarily need to be minimal. It must work seamlessly and beautifully. 

(1) Rabida, K. and Rabida, K., 2021. Push or Pull? Norman Doors and Designing for Humans. [online] UCreative.com. (https://www.ucreative.com/articles/push-or-pull-norman-doors-and-designing-for-humans/)

(2) Perriand, C (1981), L’Art de Vivre (the art of living), The Tate, UK (https://www.thelondonlist.com/culture/charlotte-perriand)

Article written by Valentine Interiors & Design

Patrick Hall Talk for ADFAS

We are constantly inspired by the many amazing artists and makers that Tasmania is now so well known for.

It’s not too much to say that a love of Patrick Hall’s work is a little secret that both Sarah & Jane each held closely for years, unbeknown to each other.

Needless to say, meeting Patrick and Di Allison (Patrick’s equally talented partner) at the ADFAS Hobart event a little while ago was a thrill!

 

 

 

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can”​ Arthur Ashe

It’s an elephant, and it’s in the room – climate change.

Is it the ‘bigness’ of these two words that cause us to stall, to pull up short again and again in our efforts to make a difference, to have an impact? 

Are you caught between the desire to do something and the reality of getting it done? Could it be we are collectively overwhelmed into inaction?

What if, instead of seeking to change the world, we sought to change something today?

In 2004 Ronnie Kahn, frustrated by the huge volume of food waste in her events company, began hand-delivering the untouched food to homeless shelters. Today, Oz Harvest, the company she founded, delivers the equivalent of 25 million meals a year that would otherwise be wasted. (1)

In the same year, British cycling coach David Brailsford committed to a strategy of the aggregation of marginal gains. A philosophy of searching for a tiny margin of improvement in everything you do. After nearly one hundred years of mediocrity, during the ten years from 2007 to 2017, British cyclists won 178 world championships and 66 Olympic or Paralympic gold medals and captured 5 Tour de France victories in what is widely regarded as the most successful run in cycling history. (2)

While Ronnie may have altered forever the way food waste is managed in events (and otherwise), one-off events have remained characterised by their wastefulness. Their transience a blessing and a curse. But small gestures, much like David Brailsford’s marginal gains, can have an impact much more significant than their cost. Take, for example, the florist, witnessed returning at the end of events to collect the salvageable florals to distribute to local retirement villages. Zero-waste, little to no real cost, and an undoubtedly positive impact on the residents lucky enough to have their day brightened by fresh flowers. We can only hope that village management continued the good work and insisted that the flowers were composted on-site at the end of their life. Or the groundsmen who took the time to separate waste materials at events end, to ensure that still useful building materials were made available to local animal shelters.

These examples, and the many others that now occur every day in the world of temporary events, break down the stereotype of wastefulness by actually repurposing, reusing, and providing immediate charitable outcomes. Rather than holding out for the elusive moonshot that we seem to expect will somehow magically solve the problem of climate change.  

Will these small gestures change the world? Not today, but as Ronnie and David would surely attest, they stand a solid chance of completely altering our collective tomorrow. 

On a larger yet still approachable scale is the remarkable Sarah & Sebastian jewellery store by the award-winning Russell and George studio in Melbourne. It demonstrates how permanent structures can use temporal and adaptable modes of transformation to facilitate their ever-changing function. Their meticulous considerations don’t just extend across the lifetime of the space itself but also to the materials used. Ensuring they can be recycled and reused after the life of the design. Another example of how small accumulative actions can change the tide on how we deal with waste.

Much closer to home, we have recently been heartened by the number of Tasmanian signatories to the Architects Declare network. It was through our engagement with this platform that we recently decided to become a carbon-neutral studio. In the grand scheme of things, we know this is a marginal gain, but as we’ve seen, when taken together, marginal gains are not marginal at all. 

 As James Clear says in his book Atomic Habits, ‘In the beginning, there is basically no difference between making a choice that is 1 percent better or 1 percent worse. (In other words, it won’t impact you very much today.) But as time goes on, these small improvements or declines compound, and you suddenly find a very big gap between people who make slightly better decisions on a daily basis and those who don’t.’ (3)

The question is, will you do what you can, and will your choice tomorrow be 1 percent better or 1 percent worse. Or rather, how will we eat the elephant together?

(1) Ronnie Kahn and Jessica Chapnik Kahn (2020), A Repurposed Life. Murdoch Books, Sydney.

(2) James Clear (2018), Atomic Habits. Avery, New York.

(3) James Clear (2018), Atomic Habits. Avery, New York.

 

Article written / Valentine Interiors & Design
Illustration / Tony Flowers