Inside Matters

Inside Matters add

Interior design can have a profound and significant impact on our day to day interactions. Interiors influence the way we conduct our work, the way we relax and socialise, and the way we feel about the places we go.

This week Defign sat down with ADNZ member Grant Watson, who as well as architecture, specialises in interior design, to talk about his work and the importance of good interiors.

Grant's passion for design started at a young age, he says that as a child he was always the one pulling things apart to understand how they worked.

"I have always wanted to see if I could try to improve things and make them faster, simpler or just better. Whether it was my bike, skateboard or in later years, classic sports cars and power boats, I was always trying to improve something."

That curiosity is something that has stuck with Grant who says design was just a natural fit for him. Although he decided early on that he wanted to get into architecture, he was momentarily steered away from it at school.

"My High School career advisor (bless him) convinced me that I wasn't intelligent enough to be in architecture, so I started a building apprenticeship. But, once I experienced the industry, I was second guessing that "career advice". Being creative as opposed to just following plans, was really important to me."

Grant says it was a soul searching discussion with the late Jim Carver, a professional member of ADNZ, who convinced him to enter tertiary study and follow his dreams. He went on to do the New Zealand Certificate in Architectural Drafting at Waikato Polytechnic, before commencing work at Denniston & Hodgson Architects in Tauranga.

It was his interest and talent for interior design that eventually lead him back to Waikato Polytechnic where he lectured on the interior design process. Grant says he particularly enjoys interior design because he believes it is the one element of the total design process that influences everyone the most.

"Whether you live in a house or work in a building, you are always 'IN' that space. So with careful analysis, planning and design, you can influence the mood, health and well-being in the day to day lives of the people who use that space."

Grant started Pure Design in 1995 which is now based in Whangaparaoa, north of Auckland to further explore his love of design.

"Pure Design is the result of a dream I had, to create a multi-disciplined practice that focused solely on simple elegant design solutions in the world of Architecture, Interior Design and Graphic Design. A design conduit if you like, that one or several designers of different skill sets could work cohesively as individuals or together in a team to create and provide 'Pure Design'"

Grant's won a number of awards over the years, including regional and national ADNZ | Resene Architectural Design Awards. One of his winning designs was the La Porchetta restaurant in Ponsonby which picked up awards in the commercial interiors category in 2012. His systematic re-design of that entire restaurant franchise served as a model for further La Porchetta Restaurants including this one. Grant says it's a customer-based, repeatable experience including architectural, interior and graphic design, multi-media interaction and food production flow paths. All of which combine to assist with cooking and service times. This successful design concept helped to boost profits.

Another of Grant’s successful interiors is Stoikos House in Melbourne - a house owned by the La Porchetta NZ franchisor. Grant was initially meant to carry out detailed conceptual work, but ended up fully detailing the design as well as running the project for the Melbourne client. The final result was highly successful - with the client going on to achieve a successful return on his investment when it came time to sell. For a virtual look-through the property, take a look at this video put together when the house was put on the market.

Grant has been a member of ADNZ for ten years. He really enjoys membership of the organisation because of the comradeship between members who are very generous with their time to each other when it comes to assisting or discussing relevant issues and topics. He also appreciates the high professional standards required for membership, and the organisation’s influence at a national level.

ADNZ makes keeping on top of business practices manageable, producing high quality business templates and contractual documents for member use. ADNZ members are at the forefront of architectural design in New Zealand, and the organisation actively promotes its members through its established social media channels. The highly coveted annual ADNZ | Resene Architectural Design Awards provide an excellent platform for exposure to the market, as well as valuable media attention. ADNZ also ensures its members have access to support and advice when they need it, along with an online CPD record, ADNZ online Chat, regularly updated terms of engagement and other must-have documentation.

To see some of Grant's work, check out his ADNZ profile