Globally-acclaimed interior designer, Blainey North is the visionary mastermind behind Blainey North & Associates — a global design firm specializing in interior architectures. The designer’s critically-acclaimed rolodex of projects include bespoke commercial, retail and private residences. In 2011, the elite designer ventured into the furniture industry with the Blainey North collection, a furniture line carefully crafted to encompass the essence of glamour, luxury and comfortability. Now, the brand has launched a new collection titled Man & The Machine, with hints of a younger and more eclectic approach to the previous collections. The designer opens up to Haute Residence on what design enthusiasts can expect from the collection, her favorite must-have pieces and the 2019 design trend to be on the look-out for.
HR: How do you seamlessly blend the worlds of fashion, architectural history, visual arts and films into your design aesthetic and renowned projects?
BN: Every project is a new story for me. When we are analyzing the brief from the client we spend a huge amount of time researching the world for inspiration that fits the unique narrative we’ve created for each client.
My deep interest in fashion, architectural history, visual arts and films means I have a large mental library that I draw upon. For example, we designed an award show in New York which was inspired by both the architecture of an old railway station along with a Gucci collection where the patterns looked like intersecting train tracks. The set became the worlds most glamorous train station!
I do love the constant creation of the fashion industry, the pressure of a number of collections a year means that the industry comes up with some brilliant new ideas which can be then furthered. As a design studio, we too are driven to be at the forefront of design innovation and craftsmanship, thus each of our projects is highly conceptualized with unique references to art, fashion, culture and of course, the client’s lifestyle. This proves to be a point of difference at Blainey North which our discerning clients appreciate.
HR: What can design aficionados expect from your newest furniture collection?
BN: You can expect something different and young. It all started when I was flying into Hong Kong one night and as we came into land the car headlights below blurred to form a continuous line streaming through the city. The image of light, movement and business encapsulated the feelings I have when I’m in a city. I love the city. Strangely it’s the place my body feels most comfortable, rather than in nature like most people. I’ve been interested in exploring why that is. This collection is about that exploration; it’s about showing the combination of the movement of people vs the repetitive mechanics of a city. It also has come about through the realization that much high-end city design has been focussed on evoking an image of somewhere else – the country or the beach for instance – rather than referencing the brilliantly exciting environments in which the vast majority of us live.
HR: What is your favorite piece in the Man & The Machine collection?
BN: I just adore the Strobe Coffee Table. It feels strangely like something you’ve seen before, like a bank vault or a piece of machinery and yet at the same time it presents as something unexpectedly new. This piece has the rigor of the mechanical repetition of the city tied together by a metal-trimmed leather strap. When you walk past the table your reflection in the mirrored stainless steel rods creating the top, reminds you of a whirling reflection of yourself driving through the city, thus I called it the Strobe. I also love it in the night as the light can shine both through the table to form a striped shadow on the floor and then onto the wall creating a dramatic fan like a shadow. The Strobe has for me, just the right level of perfection and expressive attention to detail which proves interesting to look at and talk about. A great characteristic for a coffee table.
HR: How would you describe the collection in three words?
BN: Timeless, energetic, transcendent
HR: Walk us through some of your most renowned interior projects, how do you approach the different stages from creating a concept to executing the design?
BN: The start of any project in my office is a deep rigorous process of research and design. As a team we brainstorm ideas, research the project and the clients brief, all of this resulting in a concept which is original and particular and the clients own. It’s from this idea we generate the look and feel of the project. We refer to each project in the office by its concept name. For example “Edge Mapping’ is an apartment interior we designed at the angled top of a tower in Sydney, formerly the space for the mechanical plant rooms. The concept was inspired by on the littoral zone of Sydney harbor, which is the area where the water and land touch. We accentuated an undulating edge throughout the apartment with a ribbon of black lacquered timber which connected all the volumes of this complex space, imagining the walls as landforms and the floor as the sea. The resulting design felt almost like the interior of a yacht and incidentally Won Best Residence over £40,000 at the International Design Awards in London.
Another example would be the stores we have designed for Temperley London. After we analyzed Alice Temperley’s Design’s and her process we uncovered a fascinating geometry in the pattern making, this combined with the handmade characteristics of the garments led us to the work of Iranian Artist, Monir Sharoudy Farfamanian. Her work explored complex geometries made from mirrors which felt strangely like the Temperley clothes. It inspired us to design the stores with tiny inlays of mosaic mirror tiles like an exoskeleton to reflect the clothes. Emulating the process of Temperley’s creation.
In the office, every project has its own concept name which we refer and its this idea that threads through the interior, architecture and furniture. It’s really that overarching vision, which I believe can create a space which is unique and holistic. In essence, the idea is a return to the 1800s where one creative direction steered the grand homes and palace designs.
HR: What is the number one design tip you always give your clients?
BN: Enjoy the process, it’s such a luxury to be creating and having something designed and built just for you.
HR: The 2019 design trend that all aficionados should be on the lookout for
BN: I think we are seeing a return to detail, and the unique rather than a consistent style. When I was in Paris a few months ago many of the new interiors are referencing the Art Nouveau period, which was a celebration of design and handmade craft. It’s exciting for me to see the world embracing a more meticulous and imaginative design style as my work has always been aligned with these principles.