Claire is new here, but not really. Our long-adored intern is coming on as a full-time designer in our ID department. We wanted to do a little Q&A session with her to celebrate her new position as an official Thielite and recount her journey up to this point.
So you actually started out as an intern at T&T. What was that like?
Claire: Starting out here made me feel very much like a sponge– I absorbed an incredible amount of knowledge and hands-on experience that has only benefited my collegiate career. Being an intern is not the bottom of the totem pole here; you become a member of the family.
Who influences you in your work?
You could say I'm a member of the Tom Dixon fan club. His use of color and form is modern sophistication. I also admire Ilse Crawford, a true design genius. She effortlessly creates layers of color, tradition, and modernity.
I'm a creative at heart. However, when I'm in a funk and all else fails, I do something else to get the creative juices flowing – like baking, music, sketching, etc.
You're about to graduate. Hooray! What was your most memorable moment from school?
I think every design student has a moment where they present a project that they are truly proud of. One of my favorite moments was designing a speakeasy that had to have a retail façade... My classmates know I'm a bit of a dreamer, so I created a flower shop with a floral inspired speakeasy hidden in the back. I hand-sketched all of the renderings and designed the project to make the patron feel like they are on an experiential journey through plant life. Presenting this project was such a memorable moment!
What do you do to get out of a creative funk? What's a consistent way you keep yourself inspired?
There's something really special about seeing the work of architectural heroes (Mies, Corbu, Kahn, FLW, and so on). I'm always motivated inspired when looking at their sketches. They have a ghost-like quality where you can feel the creator's intention and heart on the page. It's encouraging to believe in greatness, in others, and in yourself.
I'm a creative at heart. However, when I'm in a "design funk" and all else fails, I do something else to get the creative juices flowing like baking, making music, and sketching.
What's a favorite design element of yours that you find yourself using a lot? Certain geometry, colors, textures, styles, etc?
You know those old diners that have the honeycomb tile with their logo or a saying inset into it? That is something I want to bring back! It's a classic way to create a sense of brand.
I think every design student has a moment where they present a project that they are truly proud of.
What do you think is going to be an upcoming (but not yet "hot") interiors trend in the next 5-10 years or so? Anything out there that you see a lot of people using that you think will fade soon?
Those two questions go hand in hand for me– of course, white kitchens and subway tile will probably never go away, and are beautiful in their own right. However, I think we are about to see a surge in color used in new ways and other old trends and color tones coming back!
What are you reading right now?
I am a total sucker for ALL coffee table books. I just got the book "Escape" by Gray Malin, who is an aerial photographer, so all of the images are so peaceful and mind-blowing!
Any movies or shows you're watching currently?
I'm a Downton Abbey girl for sure. I'm planning a spring break trip to London and want to be prepared for all of England and it's glory. Its a slightly guilty pleasure!
Being an intern is not the bottom of the totem pole here; you become a member of the family.
What's the most important thing to you right now in design?
An interior concept that is particularly important to me is called 'hygge'. The idea is to make the normal special. It's caring about the details that bring people together, causing community and special moments. This is so important in the hospitality industry: to make places where people walk in the door and go "Ahhhhh, I belong here."
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Images + Words: Claire Chatham