As the winners of the 2013 Design is … Award Market Award, Shaw Contract Group winning firms interviewed as part of a section of Shaw Contract Group blog which will last a year. Throughout the year, readers can learn more about the 48 winning projects and the individuals who perform them. These are their stories.
Rachel Guest, CEO & Lead Interior Designer at RED Earth Designs, talked to us about taking inspiration from a car, creating new concepts and enhancing people’s lives.
What about this project represents why you choose to be a designer?
In a word, branding. This project is a great representation of showing interior environments representing what the brand is and wants to be. This represents my choice to be a designer. I love the psychology behind people, their vision, their company mission and their product. I love to interpret actual concepts and design principles and elements into the physical environment, even down to the details of materials, lighting, reflections, and textures. I see the ideas of who they are and what they do and creating a spatial experience for everyone to enjoy drives me. I love enhancing people’s lives and I feel like it’s a gift I can contribute.
Did you ever stray from this path or think about changing courses?
Yes and No. On the one hand, I’m a designer through and through. On the other, I have an entrepreneurial spirit, but even that is wrapped up in design. My career trajectory has evolved from the traditional designer-client model to my founding of a design-based e-commerce company which brings interior design to everyone. So, I still work with one foot in the traditional design world with RED Earth, but I have founded a company that totally revolutionizes that model, and that’s LookNook.co
The design of the space revolves around the design of the silver Audi A4. Tell me more about that decision.
I can bring the client into the product before they are actually in the product, or car – and in this design we successfully managed this challenge. It’s an innovative technology-driven enterprise, so I didn’t do a typical counter, for example, rather there are kiosks. We also brought elements from the car’s interior that are sleek, modern and luxurious with unexpected lighting features and upholstered wallpaper representational of the car.
What were some challenges in designing this space?
Look, every project has challenges in the details, especially when you are doing construction at an airport. For me, personally, I wanted to push the envelope. I didn’t want it to look like a ‘nicer’ version of a typical car rental counter. It’s a new innovative concept, so I wanted the project to reflect that. We were inventing the look of the company while they were refining their message.
What are the most important lessons you’ve learned during this process? Or, did things turn out differently than planned?
I learned that I have a passion for branding spaces and working with start-up companies because I can help them execute the vision of what and who they are; that type of work speaks to my inner-entrepreneur. The final product is always a little different than the initial vision because the process is often a series of negotiations between the idealistic world and the reality of the space and the external challenges.