An interview with Lance McLeod - OOPENSPACE

An interview with Lance McLeod

September 23, 2016

An interview with Lance McLeod

Hello Ö Journal lovers, this week we interviewed the master mind behind the design of our Subiaco showroom. We just love our space and today we want to share with you why we loved working with Lance. His inspiration as a designer, and some of those much sought after expert design tips for your own space.

Why did you choose to become an interior designer?

From an early age I was always interested in Interiors and observed my surrounding environments very closely. The first pay check that I got when I was 15yrs old went towards new lights and a shelving system for my bedroom in my parents' house. I wandered off to the fitness industry for a few years because there wasn't much avenue for Interiors where I grew up. When I moved to Perth and studied Interior Architecture at Curtin it was pretty clear that this was the direction that I wanted to take. 

Describe your career highlights:

At the beginning of my career I worked at Hubble Design in Perth for 6 years where I was exposed to Office Design, Retail, Hospitality and Residential Interior & Architecture. I have since ventured out to focus on high end residential and multi residential Interior Fit outs. Another rewarding part of my job is also teaching Interior Architecture at Curtin University.

What makes you wake up in the morning to do your job?

Knowing that I can have a positive influence on peoples everyday life and work with them to create a space that works well with their lifestyle.

Describe your first design project & what you learned from it?

While I was in my final year at University I got the opportunity to design and build a shoe store called Hunter Store for the people from Urban Records in Leederville. It was a very large learning curve to take things from a drawn form into a build space. This project taught me a lot about working closely with the client. I learnt the very valuable lesson that it wasn't about me as a designer and more about the client and how they see the space being used and how I can bring my opinion and expertise to bring about the best possible outcome. The space is still one of my favourite pieces of work to date and over the years the business has grown quite well with a change of ownership and a number of other adaptations.

What/who inspires your design? 

Travel and experience is my biggest inspiration. I am lucky enough to travel a bit and I love nothing more than being in a space trying to understand what works and what doesn't. If it feels good, why does it feel good? What are the elements that make it work? Ilse Crawford is also another big inspiration, She talks about her design as a frame for life which is about creating spaces that people grow into and evolve and I really identify with that. It is key to design spaces that allow life, changes, evolution and taste to evolve. I also love the work of artists like Anish Kapoor and James Turrell that look at space in a very different way. There are lots of lessons in colour, light, space and texture in artists work. 

Is there any interior design style that you favour?

We try and keep away from styles if we can because every client is different and has different needs and wants. We prefer to spend time getting to know our clients and working together to create an Interior that is completely their style and reflects the way they live. If we were going to favour anything we would lean towards natural materials where possible for their timeless nature so they become part of your life and age with you.

Do you have a favourite interior design magazine?

I love Monocle which is by the people that started wallpaper magazine many years ago. It's great because it's not just Interiors but it looks at business, travel, art and design so it gives a world perspective which I think is important to understand to keep ahead of trends or better yet, keep away from trends to create timeless interiors. One of my other favourites is Habitus magazine. I love the relaxed aesthetic that they showcase. For me it speaks more to the way we live rather than the way popular magazines portray how we live.

Would you recommend your clients to go for a design with functionality or visual appeal? 

Ideally you want to work with both. Functionality is really important as we spend 99% of our time in interiors so they should respond to the activities of that space but you also want it to look good. When you look back at movements like Rococo they looked at beauty as a function and not that I think we should fill our houses with Rococo furniture but functional spaces can and should be visually appealing and visa versa.

If you had no resource limit, what would you create? 

I'd love to do more holiday houses because they tend to be more relaxed and about the way people live and relax in a space so you can create a good relationship between the building and the client and I would love to experiment with purely experiential spaces that are closer to art installation that people enter and purely enjoy the experience interacting or being inside the space. This has the ultimate goal of looking at how we could incorporate elements into the everyday spaces that we inhabit to make our spaces richer.

What advice do you have for your clients? 

When looking at making changes in your Interior try and understand how you currently live and what about it works and what you should improve. It will help a designer or yourself understand what it is that you need to focus on. Be careful of trends because as time goes on Interiors trends come and go and ideally you want a space that will suit your lifestyle for years to come. We generally like to keep fixed items quite neutral so more transient items like artwork, soft furnishing and dressing can change easily. This allows you to buy the artwork that you love rather than what you think will go with the house, you can always look at changing it up with some new cushions, throws or even sofas etc without doing a total revamp.





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