We love to listen and learn to interior designers and after a recent visit to our head office, we took the chance to find out more about the design philosophy of Wimberly Interiors. We got some fantastic insight from Barbara Bischoff, Marina Shkurko, Mia Morrison and Olivia Creaney-Birch…
Q: Tell us a little bit about you, your company and the work you do.
Barbara: Hello, my name is Barbara Bischoff, and I am an interior designer specializing in hotel design.
I currently work for Wimberly Interiors, a renowned design firm that focuses on creating exceptional and immersive experiences for hotel guests. As an interior designer, my role involves translating the clients’ vision into captivating spaces that seamlessly blend functionality, aesthetics, and a sense of place.
Marina: I am an interior designer with mixed experience of residential and hospitality sectors in London and abroad. WATG specialise in high-end hospitality and large-scale private villas projects; however, we do get residential projects sometimes and most of these are in the Middle East and China.
Mia: I am a designer and I create spaces which will be backdrops for people’s memories.
Olivia: My name is Olivia and I work for Wimberly Interiors from their London office. We primarily work on large scale hospitality projects all over the world in some incredible locations. I have been at Wimberly for nearly 4 years, since I graduated, and have been lucky enough to work on a huge variety of amazing projects.
Q: Describe your approach to interior design in three words.
Barbara: Emotional, memorable, functional.
Marina: Imaginative/Experimental, Fresh/New, Comfortable/Practical.
Mia: Innovative, creative, colourful.
Olivia: Timeless, memorable, curated.
Q: When designing a room, is the floor the first element you look at?
Barbara: As hospitality designers, we need to understand the space a whole. When designing a room, the first thing that comes to mind is the sense of place. I ask myself what is the experience we want to evoke in the guest?
Once we understand that feeling, then I can start looking at floor, ceiling, and walls solutions.
Marina: One of the first elements, definitely. After following the concept I tend to think of the space overall; the look and feel; and that involves floor material.
Mia: I start with the overall style and key elements which will make the space unique.
Olivia: The first element is always the location primarily; looking to maximise the potential of the room by ensuring it really speaks to where it is in the world and bringing that to the forefront. Then we will look at how this can be interpreted into the design and the floor can be an incredible way to convey this.
Q: How important is colour and design to achieving your vision?
Barbara: Colour and design is everything in the design of Hotels. In order to evoke a feeling, we need to rely in colour, patterns, textures, shapes, lighting, etc. When we mix all these elements with function, we start designing a space. One cannot work without the other one: they are intertwined in the design path that takes you to develop an experience, and ultimately a guest journey.
Marina: Personally, for me it is very important. I like to give identities to the rooms so that, when you travel through the hotel or villa, you feel the difference from moving from the living to the bedroom for example. It has to have some unified connection but definitely distinctive in vibe.
Mia: They are essential to achieve your vision.
Olivia: Extremely important, particularly colour. It is incredible what subtle differences in tone can make.
Q: What are you looking for from suppliers?
Barbara: From expertise and knowledge, to support and solutions.
As designers, we reach out to suppliers for good quality products. Since they are the experts in their field, we start with a collaboration space filled with ideas to be able to develop the best product for a project.
Now, we must say that sometimes designers are facing tied deadlines, and suppliers can help us meet those deadlines as well. Having quick answers and solutions come in really handy during challenging times.
Marina: Support, and, if possible, a quick answer when needed.
Mia: To be helpful and give advice on how to deliver a great product.
Olivia: The best results always are derived from a collaboration. Whilst designers may have a vision for what they want to achieve, suppliers have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to their product. Therefore, through strong communication and a collaborative approach, designers and suppliers can work together to create wonderful projects.
Q: What is your favourite project that you have worked with Ulster Carpets on?
Barbara: Currently, we are working with Ulster on a UK based project which has an NDA, and we are really excited to start on this journey with Ulster.
We got inspired in the London Royal Parks, from its landscape to the airy, delicate, and refined feeling you get from walking through them.
We were able to translate all these emotions into the carpet and its surroundings, and we are really happy with the outcome.
Marina: I haven’t yet experienced a project with Ulster but hopefully we will have many opportunities. However, I did work with your London team to develop a carpet for the Coral Bloom project with another firm and I was surprised at how fast you could turn around the large scale rug and how assistive your designers were when they came around to the office to advise on colour poms.
Olivia: The renovation of 2 dining cars for the VSOE train- L’Oriental and Étoile du Nord. To have been given the opportunity to work on such an iconic space which is part of so many people’s bucket list to visit will always be memorable for me as a career highlight. It is my favourite project that I have worked with Ulster on as the carpet truly does make the scheme – it is so impactful and well executed.