I often find that talking to people who are not in Design, client and friends for example, that the design process of an Interior or a Garden is not something they can imagine. And why should they? After all – as a qualified designer, the process was taught to me over a number of years at University and out in the field.
Walking the site…
I need to think about what the client has told me, what they house and garden looks like, their family set up, their work requirements, the lifestyle they lead. It’s a time for reflection and research and analysis of the client, the requirements and what can be done.
I need to think about the constraints – there are always constraints! Even when I get a client that tells me money is no object, I know that somewhere down the line, this will become an issue. There are access constraints, limitations on what is physically possible and the availability of the right people for the job. In my case the right builder who can work differently since we uses ecological building processes and materials.
So what’s a concept?
A concept is an idea that forms into your mind once you have looked at the above. It might start with a very clear path and a definite end result or it might change and grow so much as to become unrecognisable from its first idea!
I get inspired by the environment around me, right now it’s the amazingly and and down Winter we have been experiencing with the striking colours of the trees and shrubs. Walking around a winter garden it has spurned me on to design and plant a Hydrangea Walk and BerryGarden! (a garden area full of coloured berries for winter show with a Hydrangea walk).
I get an idea when walking around Tate Britain– the way they hang their artwork is sometimes different to the norm, but it gave me an idea about a travelling train garden for a conceptual event I am thinking of entering.
I keep files and files and files….of cut up magazines, newspaper articles one every subject imaginable. I have an extensive library of books but also hanging files in cabinets that hold info I have found.
From the really esoteric – cacao making process inVenezuela(yeah I know crazy right?) to cooking books, to the more subject specific – bathrooms and kitchen manufacturers. These are my precious golden nuggets. I never ever lend them to anyone, they never ever leave the office and they are meticulously filed! It has taken me 6 years to put this together and I keep adding to it every week.
- noise reduction – need to learn about this
- noise reduction materials: felt, fencing… – important to see latest research
- examples of gardens with these requirements – ideas from here and there, what works and what doesn’t
- lighting for gardens – if I use lighting where will I site and how will it light ?
- statuary – again perhaps I can use this to screen off the view?
- colour swatches to put together a 12 month colour scheme for the plants I choose – has to be evergreen or at least have texture and colour throughout the year.
I start sketching – nothing Rubanesque! Just little vignettes of ideas… using pencil, markers, coloured pencils, photoshop over photos – a whole variety of tools basically.
I develop a concept from all the information I have gathered – to then formulate something more concrete. My concepts (or several concepts) are then put together as draft plans in the form of:
- 3D illustrations (hand drawn and computer aided design)
- models – quick models made from foam boards
- mood boards with images, words, drawings
Why do I do all of that?
To show the client what it will look like. Most people find it difficult to read a flat plan so this is a good way of imaging the ideas for them.
This process not only shows the client what they wanted but is a point of discussion to refine the idea(s) and change, add, subtract or revise certain points.
It’s especially very gratifying when a client is bawled over by my idea and concept for their home or garden and knows that I have spent thought and time and care into presenting them something that they love.
I really have the best job in the world.