Ask An Expert: Anna O Design
We caught up with interior designer, Anna Orfanides, for a Q&A session about what's new in interior design and what the future holds for the industry. Anna is known for creating custom looks that balance style and function that are tailored specifically for each project. Interiors require a highly intuitive use of space and design, visualizing what is important to clients and combining clients' resources and design style. Here are some tips from Anna:
Doug Mockett: How are commercial interiors borrowing from residential design and vice versa?
Anna O DesignI don’t design commercial projects as much as I’d like too. However, one thing I am noticing in the commercial industry is a preference to create spaces that are more warm and inviting as if you are stepping into someone’s home. I see more use of luxurious textiles layered, warm tones, use of natural materials, waiting areas that look like a living rooms, etc.
DM: What new materials and finishes are you most excited about right now?
AO: I’m very excited about a new material that has been introduced to the US recently. It’s been around since ancient times and used overseas a lot. It’s called Lime plaster. It’s an amazing material that is applied to any surface by troweling. It can be used for counter tops, floors, walls, outdoor facades, patios, etc. It’s sustainable, very durable, and comes in a large array of colors and finishes. It’s a great substitute for concrete. I’m also excited about the use of different metal finishes for hardware, fixtures, and lighting with natural materials in kitchen and bathrooms. Depending on the metal finish, you can create the design style and look the client desires. For example, matte black metal with some warm rustic wood gives a farm style chic look or white marble with brushed brass can give more of a glamorous feel.
DM: Where do you think interior design is heading in the future and what can we expect?
AO: 1. Visual Reality
For starters, I see the industry headed into the world of virtual reality. It’s already there, we can see it on design websites like HOUZZ where you can take any of the items on their site and by using your iPad, show the items in the client’s room and see the actual piece of art or furniture in the room. Chief Architect software, which is what I use, has already launched a virtual reality device. This is going to change the way designers have been doing presentations for so many years. I have to say though, I love a good hand rendering once in a while. Shows off the true artistic side of a designer.
I’ve been passionate about this for a while, but not until the past few years have I really been seeing an interest from both fellow designers as well as clients. I think that sustainable design has become a buzzword in the design industry. Eco-friendly design is definitely becoming a trend in both residential and commercial projects. We see designers repurposing existing furniture pieces, seeking energy efficient appliances, green materials as well as sustainable building materials.
I feel like people are downsizing a lot these days. Gone are the mega mansions. I have clients who are well off and could buy larger homes but don’t see the need. They'd rather spend the money on travel, spend time with their family - they are looking for better quality of life. I think this also has to do with the whole sustainable living idea that I mentioned previously.
4. 3D printing
3D printing is transforming the design industry. It used to be very costly and complicated, but today it’s efficient and exciting. Interior designers can quickly demonstrate their designs and clients are able to touch and feel the design in a miniature form.
5. Smart homes
Lastly, I believe that smart homes will quickly become the new norm. The 80‘s futuristic ideas are already being launched by some of Europe and Asia’s top brands. Voice activated assistant devices are very in right now, like Amazon's Echo. Kitchen appliances with Wi-Fi connection to our smart phones are becoming more popular. Archer has designed a smart bathtub, when empty, it acts as a Bluetooth speaker. Fill it up and the music becomes waves that ripple through the water just to name a few things. I could go on and on.