Design inspiration

In Conversation with Neil Stevenson

What inspires your designs?

To me, it’s the conversation with the client, when I try to get them to express what they are after in ways that allow me to get a sense of the aesthetic and understand the functionality.

I like to use books for traditional design work in order to be accurate, but for contemporary projects I start with a blank piece of paper to avoid being directly influenced.

Where do you start with a design?

In the main I start with the limitations. Firstly the size of the space, then you’ve got the functional requirements of the client, so appliances, maybe a TV, and so on. Once you’ve determined the functionality and where you’ve got to put things in relation to doors and windows, quite often you’re not left with an awful lot of freedom to play around.  After that’s done the aesthetic will quite often spring from what’s left.

How do you start the process, do you use CAD or pencil?

I start with a blank piece of paper as that’s the easiest way to get things down fluidly, to see how they’re progressing in your mind. Once I’ve got to the point where I have a theme I think will work, I will then transfer to CAD to make sure that it will actually work in the physical space.

It’s a bit like a designer’s concept drawing, they look great but when you try and fit what they’ve drawn into the space, it doesn’t quite work.

So everything after the initial design stage is done on CAD then we do 3D photorealistic renders for the client to fully understand what they’re getting because often clients struggle to understand 2d drawings.

Do you find that your role evolves more into spatial architecture or interior design?

It depends on the remit from the individual client. They may want us to manage the design of the whole room which may include some elements of interior design such as lighting and flooring and so forth and for others we are merely dealing with the cabinetry element and the interior designer will be dealing with the overall aesthetic theme.

Our preference is to work closely with a designer or architect and bring our expertise to the solution. We are very good at spatial design and planning so feel that we have a lot to offer in making a good design even better by thinking through the practicalities.