Michèle, originally Swiss, is a talented interior designer. She finds her inspiration by innovating in new sustainable ways. Her creativity comes from the culture mix she is currently living in. But also from her curiosity and her envy of making the world a better place to live in.
Tell us about your self ? How did you realize you wanted to study interior design ? What do you like about it ?
I’m from Switzerland, where I lived until 2011. I moved with my husband and children in the same year to Bangkok. I started my career in Sales and Marketing, in the Luxury Goods Industry, working in that sector for many years. This experience has brought me the chance and opportunity to gain experiment in different areas, such as Product Management, Marketing Operations and Retail Marketing for International Companies.
I was often in direct contact with designers and I have always been curious and interested about their work methods and talents. One of the most inspiring process for me is how an idea is born from an mundane event, how it unfolds into a detailed design and how it get turned into a physical reality that we can use and touch. From the beginning I had this personal passion for design, whether it was an object, a room, furniture, architecture or beautiful art. In 2012, I decided to start studying Interior and Industrial Design. I’m currently attending a bachelor program at an Italian Academy, which I’m about to complete.
In this interview I would like to discuss about design and sustainability. I feel very connected to nature and animals. I will always remember the unforgettable time I have had as a child on my grandparents’ farm. It has certainly influenced the way that I interact with the environment. Sustainability in Design is essential and inherently interconnected. It is for me a great interest and I believe that the methods and ways we currently think, create, produce and use require critical analysis and rethinking.
Who has some influence on your work ? Anyone that has pushed you in this direction for you to be who you are now ?
I have had and still have the great opportunity to travel a lot and meet many different cultures and people. I guess it’s the summary of all the experiences over the years that have shaped me. I never followed only one certain career path. I have always been curious and observant how people do something in different contexts and cultures. This curiosity drives me automatically forward. I don’t experience any fear to leave the comfortable zone and step into something new, testing new ideas and observing the effects.
Do you have a philosophy or a state of mind that could characterize you ? A personal touch ?
The way I design is like taking a journey. I never know how and where it will end. It’s like finding the red threat through the entire process. There are a lot of struggles in between too, it is very challenging to stay consistent and get back to find the “best” picture. The great thing about studying is that there are no limits, no boundaries; I can do whatever I feel and like. This will certainly change, once back in work life.
I just recently finished reading the two books Cradle to Cradle ( by William Mc Donough) and the Up Cycle ( by Michael Braungart). I truly believe that they have created a visionary and great ecological manifesto that delivers a lot of new ways to develop ideas. Also, inspiration for Designers, in the way we choose materials, how we create, construct and build things that are good for our environment. I definitely want to follow and consider these aspects in the future.
Where do you get your inspiration from ?
I love Bangkok, not only because it is different from my culture, but also because of unpredictable moments in our everyday life. Thailand offers a great potential and there is so much to discover, in this highly dynamic city. Even after several years living here, I constantly discover new interesting things, people and places. I try to combine those every day events, layer by layer, into a new concept. I transform and bring the memories I have into a new and different context. I prefer to look at details rather than big pictures. I avoid consuming too much of internet and social media, it distracts me. Other inspiration sources are children. They have this ability to create something very fresh, pure and straight to the point. Adults tend to do things more complicated, I often find myself thinking too much about “what if”.
According to you, how can innovation and interior design be related ?
This brings me back to William MC Donough and Michale Braungart. I think we need to re think the way we think and do things. Innovation should combine human, nature and technological aspects. This will have an impact and will influence the design world too, even Interior Design. Certain planetary resources and materials are disappearing (such as Sand, essential to make concrete). The questions for my next design concepts should be : What kind of material could I use instead of bricks or concrete. What alternative materials or what new combinations are available today in order to achieve a sustainable design. This is why innovation is very crucial and essential, in order to enable change. I think nature keeps many hidden secrets we can learn from. There are great scientists like Janine Benyus, that have deeply analyzed the functioning of how “natural processes”. Innovation inspired by nature might bring us on a next level of evolution.
You have worked on a project for your last year of School, regarding re-designing a work space, could you please tell us more about that ?
The topic given by the school was to create a transformable interior concept.
One morning, I was trying to find a place where I could go and work outside of my apartment, but I could not find what I was looking for. That moment was the opportunity to start thinking about a new multifunctional space concept where freelancing people could meet or network. A creative location/platform, where everything is possible : events can happen spontaneously, a mix of work, restaurant and leisure. For me it was important, that the people and visitors shape create and form the space when using easy to “use plug in – plug out” and “do it yourself” interior elements.
When considering the economical aspect; Land and space is getting more and more expensive. A regular office is usually empty after 6 or 7 p.m. This calls for more potential. I tried to find a way to offer a solution that keeps the space busy until late in the evenings, therefore working spaces can be rented out according to the occasion.
My next project will be about a sustainable Interior Design for a small hotel. The essential part of the project is how I will follow the principles of sustainability. I really look forward to it and I’m curious where the journey will take me to.
You can contact Michèle at : firstname.lastname@example.org