Meet the team: Justine
Posted by Interaction on 24/08/2016
When I first started at Interaction we were a team of eight. 20 years on and we're a 34-strong team.
I’ve been an Interior Designer at Interaction for over twenty years. Apart from Paul Haskins (the founder of Interaction) I have worked here the longest. During that time I have seen a lot of changes: we moved offices five times, our business has grown and technology has changed.
When I first started at Interaction we were a team of eight. There were three of us in the design department and we all used CAD (Computer-Aided Design) in a different way. But now twenty years on, technology is so intuitive and the things you can do with CAD is beyond what we would have ever imagined back then. Even 3D visuals were created more manually too.
How times have changed...
If a client wanted to see a 3D image of what the finished office design would look like I’d do it with watercolour paints and paper. First, I’d get out the drawing board, stretch the paper, hand draw the office and then finally paint it (as shown in the image to the left). We do 3D visuals for all our clients now and with the use of technology they now look incredibly realistic.
My interest in art and design started at school but perhaps that’s not a surprise when I consider that my Mum was once given the opportunity to go to Sandersons to do fabric design. She decided instead to go to Hong Kong where she met and married my dad. I was born and lived there for the first ten years of my life before we returned to the UK. It is great to think I’m fulfilling something that she would have enjoyed and should have done.
After school I looked at several different design courses, even considering Window Display, but I chose the Interior Design course at South Devon College of Art & Design. In my opinion, it was a broader and more interesting course, the student digs had a pool and who wouldn’t want to study by the sea? After that course, I studied for 2 years in Newcastle, again living by the sea at Whitley Bay before securing a job in the Interior Design department of a large architecture firm where I did my work placement. I stayed there for three years before joining Interaction.
From student to teacher...
I loved being an Interior Design student and now I really enjoy helping the design students that we have at Interaction.
It's so great to see the students' excitement when their designs come to life, from the initial brief to the finished project. That feeling of seeing your design come to life for the first time is incredibly rewarding, and it makes me proud to know we can provide them with that experience.
The students spend a year’s placement with us, experiencing what it’s like to work in a commercial Interior Design company. I find teaching them new skills and getting them involved in all of the design process incredibly rewarding.
I think one of the most rewarding parts of designing an office for a client is how it can help change the business culture and when the staff are delighted with their new office environment. Take our client Curo, their Bath offices didn’t reflect the newly rebranded organisation or feel part of the new vision. Interaction investigated why. The resulting refurbishment sought to inspire staff and visitors - and address a far more fundamental issue for the organisation. We provided a solution for them that positively impacted upon their culture.
A rewarding project...
Curo has a really strong brand and we used their bright, bold colours throughout the project. We knocked down walls and completely changed the structure of the building to make the building work better and in turn helped the people to work better together. We had a lot of fun with the project and the client was very happy with the finished fit-out.
This understanding of how a workspace is used has been a big change in how we design interiors. As I continue to work in interior design I think more clients will invest in our workplace analysis and utilisation surveys. These findings help them to gain evidence and background information on how their employees are using the office space. Then we can create office designs that are agile, flexible and enable their people to use the workspace efficiently.
This industry is constantly changing and I can’t wait to see what happens over the next twenty years!