They use space for strategic storytelling, blending style with functionality to create an environment reflective of a client’s narrative. Meet Chow:Hill’s Interiors Team.
They’re Chow:Hill’s A team when it comes to interior design. Meet Alex Dunnigan and Amy Land, Chow:Hill’s Interiors Team. We recently sat down with them to discuss design strategy, storytelling, and the tricks of the trade when it comes to turning a client’s vision into reality.
“Great interior design starts with asking the right questions,” says Alex. “We want to know what is important to the client, what they want to see in their space, and how they want it to feel.”
As Alex and Amy spend time with clients to understand their vision, they’re looking at ways to turn that client’s story into a design that complements the functionality of the space.
“There’s a purpose to everything,” says Alex. “Understanding of the client's narrative for the project helps anchor the design and allows us to shape the environment to achieve the look and feel the client wants, while also meeting the functional requirements for furniture, fixtures, and equipment. Everything has a reason for being in a space; nothing is independent of other -the client’s narrative provides that cohesion.”
Designing for public spaces is really satisfying, we get the chance to have a positive influence on peoples’ daily experience through the built environment; it’s a real privilege and we don’t take that lightly.
Presented with a blank canvas
With a growing awareness of the importance of biophilic design by clients, Alex is interested in exploring meaningful opportunities to incorporate natural elements such as timber and greenery to ensure the use of the natural environment is captured in her designs.
“I also enjoy taking inspiration from a building’s surroundings to bring colour into a space. For the interior design of the Waikato Regional Council building in Hamilton the interior design incorporated the land, sea, river and mountains to reflect the Council’s catchment area.”
Meanwhile, Amy will take any opportunity to avoid a whitewall. “I don’t have a favourite material, but I do love using texture and colour, whether it’s a brick or a breezeblock, timber or fabric, matt or glossy finish, anything that creates interest and depth. These are the things that we see and touch every day and life is too short to live in a white and beige world.”
“Individuals can react very differently to colour,” adds Alex. “It’s always interesting to learn why people like some colours and not others. Being able to sit down with clients and collaboratively work through colour and material selections is an important part of the design process.”
A cohesive approach to design
Amy’s eye for detail was evident in her interior concepts for The Electric, a proposed boutique apartment complex in Auckland’s Kingsland neighbourhood. Capturing the essence of the suburb’s eclectic vibe resulted in a fun, edgy, and contemporary design.
Amy says the challenge of any design project is combining form and function together in a cohesive and co-ordinated manner.
“Our scope of work includes co-ordinating with the client, the architects, external consultants and the contractor to ensure that the interior design not only looks good but is code compliant, accessible, fit-for-purpose, within budget, easy to maintain and safe for public use.”
A sign of success for Amy and Alex is seeing the space well-utilised, with users occupying the interior in the way it was intended. “Designing for public spaces is really satisfying, we get the chance to have a positive influence on peoples’ daily experience through the built environment; it’s a real privilege and we don’t take that lightly.”
June 2, 2023