With attitudes towards our planet and health shifting over the past decade, largely due to the impact of climate change and the pandemic, we've been curious: How will this shape the future of our built environment, and that of its designers? We sat down with Amelie (17), our talented work experience student, to get her thoughts.
What drew you to complete your college work experience at Oliver Heath Design?
Interior design is something that I have shown previous interest in - we spend so much of our time indoors and being able to design or ‘manipulate’ what a space can offer intrigued me. I became aware about their use of Biophilic Design, and it was something I thought I could have a large interest in. As someone who comes from a household largely in the company of plants, I spend much of my time surrounded by greenery and knew that this would reflect within the experience of working at Oliver Heath Design.
What do you hope to achieve from spending a week with us in the studio?
I hope to learn more about myself and working life. Gain more skills within the field of design and learn about how people and projects operate within the studio. I’m also interested in what Biophilic Design is and want to develop my knowledge in this subject. Equally, this is as a great opportunity and platform to develop and enhance transferable skills.
Do you feel that yourself and your peers have a close relationship to nature? In what ways do you engage with nature, and is this changing?
We (unfortunately) spend much of our time indoors due to the fact most people I know are currently studying at college/ university or have a job based inside. It’s not ideal, but it does mean we appreciate the free time we get to be surrounded by nature. During summer, I enjoy spending time at the beach, in particular paddle boarding and swimming, which I find relaxing. As the seasons change, I feel that I can become closed off to nature and the environment outdoors.
Will your relationship with nature shape your career? E.g., ‘green’ jobs
I’d hope so as it is something I'm particularly passionate about, it would be my aim to work in a profession that thinks about the environment and using my knowledge of it within my work, or at least work at/ with a company which is environmentally moral.
How do you see the future of design unfolding over the next 10 years? Positive or negative! How do you feel about this?
Definitely positive! Most design companies are currently focused on the issue of sustainability, from making clothes out of recycled products to having plastic free packaging, so I would massively expect to see a rise in companies adopting new environmentally positive attitudes. Saying that, I do worry that the modern world’s increasing reliance on technology will diminish the important emotional connection between the designer and their work.
While technology makes certain tasks much easier, could it start to limit designers’ creativity and originality of thought in the future?
What are your aspirations for the future? Big or small!
I’m looking to go to university after my time at college and hoping to start a career in marketing or journalism/ communication in the textiles or design industry. However, I'm also interested in travelling and experiencing different cultures and meeting new people etc. Becoming fluent in Spanish or learning to speak it at a higher level is also something I'd love to achieve.
What makes a ‘good’ designer?
I think the most obvious answer would be someone who has a natural and artistic talent and is able to visually present their work in an appealing way from their initial ideas. However, what I would argue is more important is a designer who creates work through from passion and not to satisfy the ‘professional design world’. Characteristics such as the ability to take constructive criticism and can communicating well with others are largely important too.
What makes a design ‘good’?
A product that is useful, understandable, and innovative while if possible, having an appealing aesthetic making it attractive for the consumer. However, a design that is ‘honest’ - true to what the customer thinks they are getting and shows a respect and sense of trust - is even better. On top of that the sustainability of the design and whether it can be reused or recycled - making it environmentally ‘good’.