If you want to really appreciate top level design you have to experience it for yourself. Learning about the way design ideas are conceived is a way to really appreciate the art form of interiors. After all, interior design isn't just about the right colour schemes and furniture; it's about thinking about how we make the most of our space.
The best designers around today are architects and scientists, acutely aware of structure, safety and sustainability. They understand materials, light and perspective simultaneously as artists and as artisans. They value innovation as much as creativity and usability as much as aesthetic.
The Australian Interior Design Awards (AIDA) celebrates these innovators and gives us a window into the world of professional design. Industry experts shortlist the best and most cutting edge designers in Australia and the world. From these designers we can learn about the delicate nuances of a complex industry, like how to build a modern space out of a heritage structure, how to make crumbling urban buildings sustainable and how to work with perspectives to change the spaces we live in. Here are 5 successful AIDA designers we can learn from:
Leeton Pointon claims to look to the poetic potential of architecture. Alongside Allison Pye Interiors they won the 2013 AIDA premier award. The firm's show reel provides top level examples of natural design, modernism and urban design and simply sums up how far modernism has come as a design concept. Check out the firms designs if you like clean lines, solid blocks and low light - they are the perfect example of how simplicity is the basis of all modern lines - a simplicity that often means using complex processes and exact materials to achieve the look you want.
Nexus designs won the AIDA residential decoration award in 2013 with an entry that gave us a definitive lesson in colour. Those looking to see where the now ubiquitous whites and greys with splashes of vibrant colour need look no further than the New York loft style. Nexus is lesson 101 for the simple and trend setting approach.
Acme & co, with their oh-so-trendy use of lower case, won this year's AIDA emerging practice award. The highly sort-after prize was hotly contested and this year’s winner reflects fundamentally that design is about more than aesthetics. Acme was commended for finding design solutions, specifically for combining innovative work with heritage structure. These are the go to designs to see how old buildings can be renovated with true professional style - renovation of the vintage and the tired as an integrated design approach.
The 2011 AIDA residential design award was a perfect example of using traditional Australian design in a beautiful modern context. Wolveridge Architects gave us so much to learn from with their house conversion that the renovation deserves an article of its own. The dark interiors were a lesson in using light to generate shadow; the choice of materials was vintage nirvana and the gorgeous textured feature wall was a definitive lesson in how to change the visual size of a space. Even with all that going on Wolveridge managed to show us how to use colour too: The flash of yellow against the dark backdrop pre-empted the colour schemes that would define the next few years of design.
If you want to understand the depth of special opportunity in interior design look no further than this year’s AIDA premier prize winner Adrian Amore. The West Melbourne submission gives us a show real that flexes the very fabric of the building to create something completely original. This is one way to learn that not following the fashion can be even more effective than following it. But also that getting it right is hardly random.
There is, of course, much more to discover from professional designers and architects. The AIDAs not only look at how residential interior design has developed for more than a decade, but also have awards for commercial space designs too. These designs are in no way mutually exclusive to domestic fashion but rather give us further examples of just how far our spaces can be stretched to meet our everyday needs.
5 top level interior designers to learn from