采访档案 | Alexandra Donohoe
澳大利亚 | 室内设计师
Alexandra Donohoe 创办了总部位于澳大利亚的Decus室内设计工作室，Alexandra Donohoe有着无可挑剔的品味和与生俱来的时尚感，她可爱又滑稽，更重要的是，她敏锐的直觉、永不满足的好奇心，使她能够建立起一种受欢迎的室内设计实践，将美丽与原始和意想不到的设计融合在一起。她和她的团队设计的高端住宅项目，在精致与挑衅性、异想天开与经典、简朴与多彩之间取得平衡。每一个Decus项目都不仅仅是美丽细节和精致策展的总和。Alexandra Donohoe懂得非常规的组合、平衡和张力的力量，并创造了一种完全属于自己的设计语言。换句话说，她是一个传奇人物。
Apart from her impeccable taste and an innate sense of style, Alex is just bloody lovely. And rather hilarious. More importantly, her razor-sharp instincts, insatiable curiosity and an all-important ability to not take herself too seriously has enabled her to build an in-demand interior design practice that merges the beautiful with the original and unexpected. The exceptional portfolio of high-end residential projects her and her team regularly produce balances the exquisite with provocative, whimsical and classic, austere and colourful. Each Decus project is much more than the sum of beautiful detailing and refined curation. Al understands the power of unusual combinations, balance and tension, having forged a design language that feels entirely her own. In other words, she’s a bloody legend.
Could you please give us a quick introduction? When did you first decide you wanted to become an interior designer? And when did you decide it was time to start your business?
I initially began my degree studying landscape architecture at UNSW (lasted a whole year), but kept falling snoozing in soil science class. I think I had an epiphany that it wasn’t for me when I woke up full face down on my desk. It was then I realised that interiors was what really got me excited and I switched to Interior Architecture. I worked for a series of firms ranging from hospitality to commercial, landing in residential where I cemented my love affair. The rest is history. The business began in 2009 in inauspicious circumstances.
What is your main priority when starting projects? Is there something that is fundamental to your practice – your philosophy and your process?
Ultimately our desire to bring joy to the client is our fundamental priority. There’s no greater feeling when they move in to their considered, beautifully detailed home and they’re blown away by how it comes together. And on a personal level the priority is to enjoy the process – we really do want to have fun, get excited and amped about the what we’re doing.
How is your studio structured? i.e. How many of you work in the studio, what types of skills do you have in-house, is there anything you are outsourcing, and how many projects do you handle at any one time?
Our studio covers a full scope – interior design, decoration and styling. We also have a registered architect for a handful of architecture projects, and we handle all procurement in house. Whilst I oversee the creative direction for each project, the projects are managed day to day by a team of Senior Designers and Project Designers, supported by Assistant Designers, Junior Designer and Procurement Manager. The studio seems to currently be in a baby-making phase.
How do you organise and manage the competing demands of modern business and life? Do you have any tip or tricks you could share with us that help you in your day-to-day?
In all honesty, having recently had a baby, I don’t know that I do manage it all that well. But I’d probably say this is the most challenging aspect of life at the moment, so my answer is that I’m still working on it. On a practical level we have recently started implementing Todoist to help us project manage ourselves!
What do you feel is the most challenging part of being a designer today? And if you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
It can be a double edged sword which is proving to be quite a challenge. Whilst it can be a great tool to help clients convey to us what they like, when they can’t necessarily articulate it with clarity, if you’re not careful it can be a creativity vampire. A design exercise can become a copy and paste exercise instead and you wonder why clients don’t just engage a draftsperson. We really have to quietly rage against that. This is a challenge when we all have so many time constraints as it’s the easiest library of images to go to, but it is definitely not the way to produce the best design.
What are some of your methods to stay motivated, focused and expressive? And your top 3 main sources of inspiration and references you are drawn to regularly – i.e. books, magazines, websites/ blogs etc?
旅行是100％保持动力和表达能力的最佳方式！走出澳大利亚旅游无疑是最好的灵感来源。冒着离婚的风险，我的丈夫每周都会被拖着去世界各地的多个展厅——无论是洛杉矶、哥本哈根还是蔚蓝海岸——这一切都证明，我们有那么多无限的可能性去探索。我经常提到《Elle Decor Italia》，老实说，这是因为在内心深处，我想我是意大利人。我在《法兰西广告》中看到的是一种无畏的精神，它似乎很快乐，不太关心其他人在做什么。
Travel is 100% the best way to stay motivated and expressive. Getting out of the Australian bubble is without doubt the best source of inspiration. At the risk of ending up divorced, my husband gets dragged to multiple showrooms a week wherever we are in the world – be that LA or Copenhagen or Cote d’Azure – it all proves there are just so many endless possibilities to explore. I regularly reference Elle Décor Italia – If I’m being honest it’s because deep down I’d like to think I’m Italian. AD France – there’s a fearlessness to what I see in the pages of AD France. It seems quite joyful and not overly concerned with what everyone else is doing.
Who or what are some of your influences? What other designers, peers and creatives, in general, do you admire?
我有点迷恋那些名字以Pierre开头的法国人：Pierre Yovanovitch和Pierre Paulin。
I’m a bit obsessed with Frenchmen whose names begin with Pierre: Pierre Yovanovitch and Pierre Paulin.
What advice would you give to emerging designers who want to follow your path? What was one of your biggest lessons learned since starting your practices?
Genuine quality takes time. Be prepared to shed blood, sweat and tears for a while, because building a solid business isn’t an overnight exercise; and learning your craft takes time. Inevitably, there will be a lot of “eeek, maybe wouldn’t do that again next time” learning along the way.
can you share with us your vision, some of your goals (and some of your current projects)?
For the right client and the right brief we would go anywhere and do (almost) anything. For us, a client’s attitude is key. It’s about the adventurousness that a client has and the willingness to experiment. Our current projects include a beachfront property in the Margaret River; a couple of incredibly-sited projects in New Zealand; a beautiful Sydney harbour-side collaboration with Luigi Rosselli Architects and a couple of beautiful beach houses in the works.
Interview © Yellowtrace
Photos ©Decus Interiors