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Our Education Panel Chairman, Frazer Macdonald Hay, recommends a few of his favourite books on Interior Design and Architecture – with one written by Ro Spankie, also on the SBID Education Panel!

Drawing out the Interior by Ro Spankie from AVA’s Series ‘Basics Interior Design & Interior Architecture’ is easily the best academic book of its kind, I haven’t enjoyed or been inspired this much since reading Ed Hollis’s book titled The Secret Lives of Buildings.

Ro Spankie’s book is beautifully structured and written with the right balance between text and image to engage the reader visually and intellectually. The book will, in my view, be a big hit with students but strangely, I also feel, it should be an even bigger hit in the realm of professional practice.

I have lost count of the amount of colleagues which have voiced an insecurity and/or a frustration about drawing without CAD. It’s this type of book which will inspire and rekindle a lost love for some, and for others it will inspire and energise their learning and practice.

I am very relieved to see Ro Spankie has written and researched this book with rigor and depth. I am so tired of seeing publications of so called authors, who just catalogue their past students’ work. Although this is at times interesting, it’s one dimensional and shallow, with little impact value to student’s education in my opinion. Ro Spankie on the other hand has written a document with authenticity and integrity, which works on many levels.

The AVA series in general is well worth a look, I feel their range of Design Topics and their authors are excellent. I was fortunate enough to read yet another book from the same range earlier this year, by Graeme Brooker and Sally Stone, the book is titled Context and Environment and I immediately recommended it to my students…”

Frazer is also Director of the Big Stone Collective ltd.

Talent, whether it is established or new, is what makes the very essence of our being as interior designers. In a world where undertaking your own pillow puffing appears to allow the title of ‘interior designer’, it is up to us to identify and nurture true and raw talent. But the challenge remains that age-old one: How do we find it? This is why I am a firm believer and supporter of SBID and its ethos. As dedicated interior designers, we strive for fresh ideas, styles and indeed, look for inspiration from fellow designers to continue to raise the bar. SBID is a key driver in the all important search for the elusive true talent that I am talking about, someone who can go further than buying a roll of wallpaper from John Lewis to match the new curtains. I am talking about the rare talent that brings with it originality, flair and a deep-rooted desire to invent and to lead the way. I began my career over 30 years ago. As you can imagine I have crossed paths with many industry experts and many more who claim to be experts! These have, on some occasions misguided me, but mainly have inspired and encouraged me with their passion and individuality. I consider it an honour if I could help inspire a new breed of original and inventive talent waiting to break in to the interior design world. How can I, and other established designers, do this successfully? Well, we, that is the SBID, are firm believers in nurturing creativity and this is how we are guiding the latest aspirants. We know, from experience, that design goes much deeper than throwing together some paint colours and a matching throw. It is within a person. Saying that though, education and having a solid grounding is a vital component. Artists often have a strong desire to produce those creations they see in their minds eye. However, it takes time to refine a style, like in any industry, skills need to be nurtured and developed. While to those outside of the industry, it may appear that creating a desired interior is an easy task, we all know that this is not the case? I am a huge advocate of getting the foundations in place for any project. Working alongside SBID, we are guiding and mentoring talent across the world to cultivate imaginative and original ideas whilst teaching control and the ability to temper creativity to satisfy a brief. I, like many other experienced SBID members, feel strongly that our years in the industry can help direct the future designers of the world. Hands-on experience is priceless. Back in 2009 I began to mentor a capable student named Raymond Watkin, he is now a trusted member of my team and has a bright future ahead of him.

So believe me, combining the groundings of a solid education in design with first hand industry know-how will help many more talented designers to break in to a market that is characteristically difficult to make a name in. As a committed designer and devoted SBID member, I am not here to just design interiors, or to simply mentor prospective designers but to help maintain our industry’s great profile among the other artistic and design-led industries. We want, and need, brave, astute and creative men and women to continue to push the boundaries. Let’s go out and find them!!


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