Here, we ask designers to take a selfie and give us an inside look at their life.
Occupation: Managing director of Blainey North & Associates.
Instagram: @blaineynorth and @blaineynorthcollection
Studio location: Sydney, London, and New York.
Describe what you make: I create original spaces and objects imbued with meaning and passion. Whether it’s a private residence, superyacht interior, or unique highly detailed furniture piece, each project is a new story which has its own narrative.
The most important thing you’ve designed to date: I really couldn’t say. I have this—one might say—particular sickness in believing that every project is going to be the most important thing we’ve ever worked on, and will not only change the face of design but also change the life of the clientele. Truthfully, most are the most important thing to someone in their own way.
Describe the problem your work solves: We look to subvert the ordinary and create exceptional design which is both ultra-bespoke and understands its user. We analyze each client’s needs and create new concepts unique to them. Through this, we’re faced with a myriad of problems and roadblocks, yet it’s our job to “think outside the box” and spend time working with specialist artisans and consultants to find new ways of constructing our designs. Understanding our client is integral to us. We’re working toward that sublime moment, at the end of a project, where they then realize that we created something they never understood they wanted until it became reality.
Describe the project you are working on now: After a five-year process, I’m very excited to have just launched my new furniture exhibition “Man & the Machine,” so the last few months have been a very exciting time for us as we personally invite all our VIP clients to view the new collection as well as work closely with local and international galleries to showcase our work. Inspired by my affinity with the city and its ever-present tension with humans, the starting point was the contrast between the hardness of the city and the softness of the human body. Cities are resistant, edgy, repetitive, with a multiplicity of levels and scales, whereas human bodies are delicate, fluid, idiosyncratic; the contrast between the two is where the aesthetic life of the city really lies. It’s the tension between these two aspects of modern life, the mechanical and the human, that for the basis for the new furniture ranges.
A new or forthcoming project we should know about: We’re so excited about a grand home, the largest in Sydney, which we are in the final stages of completing. Proving to be an intensely detailed process, we have looked to subvert traditional design making it modern and relevant via an exercise of symmetry. Using a distinct network of antechambers through a change in materiality, the design formalizes the structure of each room through a perimeter, framing the immense scale of each space to create perfect proportions.
What you absolutely must have in your studio: Design books: We love referencing the old way of the greats in architecture and design. Samples: We’re always interested in new products and have such an array of rare materials we love to work with. Pinboards: These are also important design tools for the team which allow us to be inspired daily with a collaborative basis for us to pin up ideas and concepts. Music: All day every day!
What you do when you’re not working: The truth is, I’m always working. My life and my design work are really one in the same, however I’ve been known to take a long lunch with friends…
Sources of creative envy: I find fashion very inspiring in the rampant process of creation. There are so many amazing ideas that are brought to the fore in fashion, which can become the genesis for a much deeper design concept. I’m also a big fan of the late Italian architect Carlo Scarpa and his famous 5.5cm repeating scale. This motif which seemed like nothing special is actually rich in expressive scope and movement.
The distraction you want to eliminate: I actually can’t think of one. When I had my daughter, it forced me to ensure my day is timetabled to the 15-minute mark and meant that all the normal distractions of a day needed to be culled. Now, it’s a great delight and pleasure to allow myself to be distracted and inspired.
Concrete or marble? Marble.
High-rise or townhouse? Townhouse.
Remember or forget? Forget.
Aliens or ghosts? Neither. I live in a beautiful naïve reality.
Dark or light? The space in-between.