One to One with Laura James

What made you pursue Interior Design?

In high school I always excelled in the creative subjects and received various awards in Art, however there wasn’t a lot of career opportunities with an arts degree and I kind of fell into studying Interior Design and from the moment I did, I loved it.  After graduating I moved to London where I had the opportunity to work on some extraordinary projects, which gave me a wealth of knowledge within the industry prior to returning to Australia.

What has been one of your most rewarding projects and why?

I  know this is going to sound cliché considering Regis Chelmer has just won an award but it’s not often that you have the opportunity to be involved in a project where creating a community and a memorable experience is the basis of your design brief.  I worked on Regis Chelmer for two years so being involved from the initial schematic design process, working with the client and end user to create a functional and responsive space, through to the construction process was extremely rewarding. The Cockram construction team were a dream to work with and genuinely cared just as much about the detail as we did which made the whole process collaborative and enjoyable.  

Tell us a fun fact about you?

I met my husband in Croatia who is also from Brisbane and my son thinks I’m a superhero.

What keeps you busy away from work?

My family.  I have two young boys and anyone who has boys (or any children for that fact) knows how full on they can be which occupies 98% of my time outside of work.  Every day is a new adventure with them as they grow and start to find their own little place in this world, where every question is followed with “but why mum” and test my patience all day long and then asked for cuddles and tell me they love me.  And it works every time. 

What’s a common misconception about Interior Design?

I have been in this industry for over a decade now and the biggest misconception for me would have to be prejudice and judgment that Interior Designers and Interior Decorators are the same thing.  This misconception is made worse by social media and television shows like The Block where anyone with access to Pinterest and an eye for detail believe they are an Interior Designer.  

Interior design is the art and science of understanding people’s behavior to create functional spaces within a building.  This requires years of study, practice, and experience to master. The sense of comfort you feel at a lounge, the feeling of energy at your office, the vibes at a bar, or the positive feeling of wellness in an aged care facility are all experiences that are made possible through hours of effort and a very thorough design process.   

Interior Designers play a key role in the development of the interior architecture of a space, that requires a cross-functional understanding of the various elements in a building, they must determine space requirements and layouts, read and document plans from engineers and architects, and be well-versed in Australian Standards and Building Codes.  Once this process is complete then yes, we do get to move onto furniture, fixtures and fabrics.  Interior designers do decorate, but decorators do not design. 

PDT Architects 1st Aug 2018


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