Celebrating Women in Design – Part One

People are at the heart of all great design and architecture. They inspire our designs, give purpose to building functionality, and breathe life into the spaces and places we create.

In honour of International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating women who have made waves in architecture and design.
Kirsten Stanisich

Kirstin Stanisich – Director, Richards Stanisich

 

Where do you find ideas and inspiration?
It’s not so much inspiration. Instead, I’d say it’s about time. There’s always an undercurrent of nerves before I start working on any project as I think about what the right concept for a project might be, which can lead to a bit of anxiety if I don’t have enough time to work through what I’m thinking. I often change or develop my ideas multiple times before I even put pen to paper. Other than that, like a lot of designers I am really inspired by nature which has a beauty and a balance that really can’t be replicated but more often my inspiration is a serendipitous thought that comes from really thinking about all aspects of the brief.

What qualities do you admire in other people?
I guess the qualities I like in other people are the qualities that I would like to see more of in myself – empathy, sense of humour, generosity, intelligence, calmness, warmth, confidence, the list goes on.

Are there any certain principles you live your life by?
Ultimately, I want to be happy, and I don’t want my happiness or how I get there to cause suffering to others.

Are there any designers or persons of significance who you admire or inspire you personally?
There is a lot of them so here are a few; Andree Putman, Elsa Peretti, Cini Boeri, Jonathan Anderson and more locally Bob Brown, Kennedy Nolan, Adam Goodrum.

Do you use your platform and voice to inspire those around you? If so, how?
I don’t intentionally use my voice to inspire those around me but I do think making a contribution to the wider group is part of being a member professional body like architecture or interior design.

Name one experience which shaped your career.
Moving up from Melbourne to Sydney to be the designer on the ground for a new practice in Sydney. I was 29 and didn’t really know anyone here and I was certainly put in a lot of very challenging professional situations that really taught me how to work through things I’d never done before and to realise the rewards that come with developing strong resilience.

What was one of your favourite/most significant projects or accomplishments during your career?
My business partner Jon and I taking the risk to re-brand our practice under our own names to enable us to live our design dreams.

What is one societal/industry “norm” you choose to challenge, or you think should be challenged?
There’s quiet a few of those but I still think there is an issue with male voices talking over or being heard over female voices. It is still something I experience regularly.

Shireen Hoffmann – Principal, Thomson Adsett


Where do you find ideas and inspiration?
As a designer I see inspiration in everything – art, architecture, fashion, nature, and objects. I study form in simple objects and complex patterns within nature and this form part of my design journey.

What qualities do you admire in other people?
Resilience, courage, and loyalty are qualities that I regard as a strong show of true character whether this be in a work setting or our personal lives. We are all capable of great things if we are courageous every single day and feel empowered by the people that surround us.

Are there any certain principles you live your life by?
Work hard and play harder! Everyday can be a once in a lifetime experience if you open yourself to the possibilities that the universe offers us no matter where we are in life’s journey.
Shireen Hoffmann
Amanda Jones

Amanda Jones – Creative Director, The Honest Jones


Where do you find ideas and inspiration?
Two things that reset my imagination, sitting in the sun with a big glass of water or piece of fruit and staring at a blank white wall.

What qualities do you admire in other people?
Building something out of nothing. Whether that is a business, a work of art, a community. To have a vision and work until it arrives, that is the most inspiring to me.

What are three words that describe you and why?
Can I use three phrases? Broad strokes, left of centre and tongue in cheek.

What was one of your favourite/most significant project/s or accomplishments during your career?
Self-publishing my book Diary of a Freelancer, a collection of my handwritten musings from throughout my career.

Zoe Murphy Interior Designer – Living Edge Design Studio

 

Where do you find ideas and inspiration?
Architecture – materials, styles and landscape, fashion – colours, patterns and textures, people, and their unique personalities!

What qualities do you admire in other people?
Kindness, humble and a sense of humour.

Are there any certain principles you live your life by?
Be the sun, not the wind.

Are there any designers or persons of significance who you admire or inspire you personally?
There are so many creative thinkers out there who really inspire me on a daily basis, today I’m interested in India Mahdavi’s thought process (Architect & Furniture Designer), I’m loving the latest collab and video presentations by Fashion Designers Raf Simmons and Miuccia Prada - texture, pattern, and colour for days, I am obsessed with Acne Studios Retail Store designs and whenever I travel it is the first destination I head for… their new head office by Swedish architect Johannes Norlander Arkitektur is on my hit list, and as always, I’m drawing inspiration from the minimalist architect Mies van der Rohe.

Do you use your platform and voice to inspire those around you? If so, how?
In my spare time I teach and mentor students for Torrens University in Bespoke Decoration which is very rewarding. I provide them with industry-based knowledge and train them to think and develop concepts and presentations at a professional level. It is very fulfilling to see students with no design background, who have never used a computer program conceptualise the most amazing projects by the end of trimester… very gratifying!

Name one experience which shaped your career.
I guess I would say when I made the transition from Graphic Designer to Interior Designer, my first home I renovated and styled was featured on The Design Files and had an amazing response! That was back in 2012 and since then after completing my degree in ID I have been working full time as an Interior Designer and Stylist.
Zoe Murphy

Chelsea Hing – Interior Designer

 

What qualities do you admire in other people?
Tenacity, curiosity, passion.

Are there any designers or persons of significance who you admire or inspire you personally?
I always loved the sculptural masters; Rodin, Giacometti, Brancusi, Brett Whiteley - the love of silhouette still shines through in our work.

Chelsea Hing
Do you use your platform and voice to inspire those around you? If so, how?
I would hope that taking risks in the work we do & pushing to hone my own tone of voice inspires others to do the same. Whenever I speak on design, I find the topics that resonate are always around courage & confidence to follow through on your craziest ideas.

Name one experience which shaped your career.
Going into the most prestigious homes early in my career as a graduate rookie helped open my eyes to what it is to ‘live’. It reinforced my values around what it really means to succeed. It’s the essential things that matter, not the trappings.

What was one of your favourites/most significant projects or accomplishments during your career?
Either Yarra Valley House or Orchard House, both great examples of a house that references the landscape in contemporary ways. Incredible labours of love, exploration of some really cool ideas and amazingly trusting clients who let us spread our wings.

Isabel Tascon-Guillaume – Senior Interior Designer, Hames Sharley


Are there any certain principles you live your life by?
I believe design should have a way of brightening the world around us; it should spark imagination, demonstrate adaptability + foster empathy.

What is one societal/industry “norm” you choose to challenge, or you think should be challenged?
Salary Transparency for all employees within the industry.
Isabel Tascon-Guillaume
Tess Guinery

Tess Guinery – Artist


Where do you find ideas and inspiration?
The pursuit of seeing beauty and being awake to it is the undercurrent and leading of where I find all my inspiration. I seek it through conversation and electric communion in my prayer life, it’s here, my eyes become awake to beauty and from this place, I create. Art is in the everyday.

Are there any certain principles you live your life by?
"Don't let the sun go down upon your anger" alongside Romans 12:19-21 which speaks about discovering beauty in everyone.

Megan Cordin – Director MJA Studio

 

Where do you find ideas and inspiration?
Inspiration for me can come from anywhere. I think the more you open your eyes to inspiration the more likely it will come to you. Travelling is an easy source of inspiration as each experience is new and your ability to absorb it is somewhat heightened however I think you can find sources of inspiration all around you- the curve of an old garage door, the aggregate patterns in a footpath, colours in a painting or just the overall sense of calm a well-designed space can give you.

What qualities do you admire in other people?
I admire leaders who can be humble, kind, and generous. Generosity of time and knowledge is so powerful.

Are there any certain principles you live your life by?
Be true to yourself and believe wholeheartedly in everything that you do. Design must have meaning and purpose- if it comes too easily then is it original?

Megan Cordin

Are there any designers or persons of significance who you admire or inspire you personally?
My first mentor Libby Guj (Director of JCY Architects) will always hold a very dear place in my heart. She taught me to always find the exceptional in the ordinary and to design this way. She also taught me to believe in myself and know that no matter what, I had a place in ‘that’ room. She had a very powerful presence and I have always aspired to be like her. I often think to myself ‘what would Libby do here?’

Do you use your platform and voice to inspire those around you? If so, how?
I hope so. I try to provide inspiration to all people that I am around and lead by example. I enjoy challenging my team and my clients to understand design better and to always fight for design outcomes. Budgets can always be met but design aesthetic doesn’t always need to be compromised.

What are three words that describe you and why?
Passionate- I love what I do and I never take this for granted. I never want to stop learning and getting better. Driven- I am genuinely excited about coming to work every day. It is important to me to succeed in both my profession and as a mum- I want to inspire others to do the same. Empathetic- Hugely important to what we do. If you cannot understand your client or your team then you will not succeed.

Name one experience, which shaped your career.
Unfortunately, I think tough times, rather than good times have been the moments that have shaped me professionally.

What was one of your favourite/most significant project/s or accomplishments during your career?
I think winning the architecture award for Glyde Street apartments, AIA awards 2021 (MJA Studio, Fabric Property) was a big highlight in my career. The client had a lot of trust in us and gave us the motivation to do things differently. It was a great team effort by our studio where the entire process revolved around belief and confidence in one another’s role. Seeing it work so successfully once complete was the biggest thing, the award was an additional bonus.

What is one societal/industry “norm” you choose to challenge, or you think should be challenged?
That women cannot demand authority on building sites… We are not there to take notes... Women can also fish and play golf.

CathyJameson

Cathy Jameson, Design Director, Gensler


What qualities do you admire in other people?
I admire people who are resilient and don’t give up when life throws them challenges. I also admire people who are generous with their time to help others.

Are there any certain principles you live your life by?
Ethics are very important to me, and care for those in society who need help.

Are there any designers or persons of significance who you admire or inspire you personally?
I am inspired by the many women at Gensler in global leadership positions, in particular Diane Hoskins who has been Co-Ceo since 2005 and has represented our industry on the global stage at the United Nations on climate change.

What are three words that describe you and why?
Positive, Energetic, Talkative!

What was one of your favourite/most significant project/s or accomplishments during your career?
I count one of my current projects as one of my significant accomplishments along with a large Gensler team – delivering a large campus in India – different culture, remote team…and COVID!