Monday, 6 July 2015

INTERIOR DESIGNER DIANE BERGERON










Diane Bergeron is once again making an indelible mark on the Australian interior design scene. About 10 years ago, while renovating a Collingwood warehouse to create her family home she wanted to use some of her favourite American fabrics, but wasn’t able to buy them locally. Originally from the US, she moved to Australia in 2003 with her husband and two daughters, and subsequently set up a showroom to represent brands such as Madeline Weinrib and Quadrille. Since then she has launched a furniture collection with Arthur G and, most recently, established the Mercer School of Interior Design. The fitout began last year with builder Dale Martin of WideOpen Construction and the doors opened in February. “What makes Mercer so special is our unique approach to interior design and it's been such an adventure seeing it all come to life,” she says. In 2011 Diane passed on her fabric business to Ascraft to focus on interior design. However, she has since launched a range with them that is available in America and Australia. Diane has also established Design For Mirabel, a fundraiser and collaboration with The Mirabel Foundation. “It has enabled us to involve our students and allows us to give back to the community,” she says. Next up is a book, which will be released soon. As for advice from her long career, Diane says, “Don't sweat the small stuff.”

The original interview with Diane Bergeron was published on 14 July 2009.

Interior designer Diane Bergeron is a New York native transplanted into Melbourne who has gained a strong following in Australia in part thanks to the renovation of her home in newfound city. The transformation of a two-storey Collingwood warehouse into a cool yet refined home has seen her work featured in an array of magazines across the world. However, Diane has been creating interiors for the best part of 20 years, a passion she developed after growing up in Massachusetts. Diane also has a successful business importing her favourite American fabrics.

Which five words best describe you? Passionate, creative, outrageously optimistic, enthusiastic.

What was your first job and what path have you taken since then? A lemonade stand at age seven. In my early 20s I had a vintage clothing store on Martha’s Vineyard and waited tables in NYC. Since then, I’ve moved around a lot… always doing interiors in Montreal, Miami, New York and now here to stay in Melbourne where I set up a showroom importing all of my favourite American fabrics.

What’s your proudest achievement? I have two. My daughters Annis & Coco.

What’s been your best decision? Moving To Australia.

Who inspires you? Charlotte Gainsbourg and Annie Hall.

What are you passionate about? Food. Music. Shoes.

What's the best lesson you've learnt? Trust your instincts and follow your heart.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I have a dream dinner party guest list… Lillian Hellman, Elizabeth David, Barak Obama, Diana Vreeland, Nancy Mitford, Woody Allen, Dorothy Draper, Slim Aarons, Spalding Grey and Robert Rauschenberg.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? Do the interior design for a boutique hotel.

What are you reading? Villages by John Updike. The latest The New Yorker magazine.


images courtesy of diane bergeron

Thursday, 25 June 2015

DESIGNER MARNIE GODING







“We have never been worriers, but we did spend a lot of energy trying to figure out what direction we were heading in,” says Marnie Goding, co-founder and creative director of Elk Accessories. “Now that we have experience - and a bit of hindsight - we are more open to taking risks and trying new things.” Since launching Elk in 2004 from their Melbourne home town, Marnie and her husband and co-founder Adam Koniaras now employ about 50 people and have recently started to expand into the USA. After a significant growth phase, the business is more stable and the couple are focussed on the next stage for the company. “It’s wasted energy dwelling on small issues,” Marnie says. Although they have managed to find a way to make a difference in a small way. Since 2011 Elk has offered a small donor initiative towards Unicef and since then has raised $130,000. Expanding overseas is the next step with a trade show planned for Shanghai and more moves into the USA, where they already have more than 500 stockists. “The best thing about all of this is the realisation that we have created a brand that is readily accepted world wide,” Marnie says.

The original interview with Marnie Goding was on 7 March 2008.

Why did you start Elk? It was quite an organic process; we started off making hand-sketched and cut silver. When various opportunities presented themselves at right time the Elk label started to evolve. It almost feels like while we are at the steering wheel we have really been pulled along by demand. I also felt that as a consumer, many accessories on the market did not offer what I wanted. Either the design was too over the top or the quality was poor… we remind ourselves of this always when designing.

What’s the driving idea behind the brand? Simplicity and quality. We have a lot of competition but do not worry too much about what everyone else is doing or what the current high street trend is. Our customers have proven to us they are looking for quality, and pieces they can wear comfortably season after season. We never stray from our ethos of strong design, simple styling and quality materials.

Where do you look to for inspiration? I am fortunate to travel quite a bit and find inspiration while away. Melbourne too is a wonderful design hub and there are examples of great design everywhere. I have more fun in small country antique shops and out of the way places than I do in big sparkly branded stores.

What’s a "day in the life" of Marnie Goding? The days are never long enough! We don't start too early as we work late into the evening - I am not a morning person. The day is spent liaising with our manufacturers and clients, planning and designing new collections and working closely with our staff.

What’s involved with producing a range? There is a lot of planning. It starts with a colour palette - this is our most important factor. Then we start sourcing materials. Materials are sourced overseas so this is where our trips are focused on visiting fabric merchants, our factories and suppliers... this part I enjoy the most. From there designs are drawn and sampling starts - this is a fun process as you start to see your ideas take shape. Sampling is often frustrating too as you can go back and forward several times trying to get things perfect. Once production is underway you can relax a little and start small things like designing new tickets and labels.

What style of decorating do you love? I love natural fibres and colours. Whilst I do like modern interiors I feel much more comfortable and have an affinity for simple decoration. Interior designer Christian Liagre's style is my perfect idea of decorating - simple, good quality, practical design - timeless.

What’s your home like? Apart from chaos? It’s great! We have a small weatherboard town house backing onto a leafy park. It’s small but perfect. It is a cosy house with a fireplace which remains almost permanently lit throughout winter.

What’s on your dream shopping list? I have fallen hopelessly in love with a bed from Hub Furniture; it definitely fits into the dream category.

If you had a spare day, what would you do? Coffee, breakfast at The European and the rest of the day at a park with our dog. Simple pleasures.

What's next? Good question! We are getting a lot of enquiries from international retailers so would like to see Elk overseas one day. We are not in a hurry though so it will be a little while yet.

images courtesy of elk accessories

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

PHOTOGRAPHER ALAN JENSEN








Six months after travelling around the world in 2009, photographer Alan Jensen made a permanent move to Amsterdam. Five and half years later and he’s still living there, with his partner and fellow photographer Cath Conroy. “Amsterdam has captured our hearts,” he says. “It has the lifestyle of metropolitan village and is on the doorstep of the other big European cities. Sure the weather is not always that amazing - compared to Australia, but we do live on a canal and yes, I do often ride my bicycle to shoots.” From his base in The Netherlands, Alan has been able to work with a range of titles in the area of food and travel. And he’s learnt a lot. Moving to the other side of the world to work as a freelancer was not an easy choice. “I learnt that you have to put yourself out there in the world,” he says. “When you’re new to a city, you are forced to get out and interact with people a lot more. To build new networks.” Alan was born and raised in Brisbane and studied photography at the Queensland Collage of Art.

The original interview with Alan ran on 29 January 2008.

The life of a photographer can seem glamorous, but often it involves a lot of hard work, especially on a shoot day. The good ones never want to settle on a mediocre image - they want it to be the best it can be. This involves searching for the perfect angle, chasing or creating beautiful light and getting people to feel comfortable in front of a camera as most people dislike having their photos taken. Alan Jensen is one such hard-working photographer. We met on location shooting a travel feature on Brisbane for Real Living magazine. Check out the April issue for the feature.

What five words best describe you? Relaxed, inquisitive, loyal, fun, playful, and right now, hungry.

What's your proudest achievement? Getting paid to do what I love.

Who inspires you? Everyone around me. From the happy-go-lucky attitude of my Italian assistant to my mate Morgs, who makes my coffee day in, day out, like a work of art. My girlfriend, who encourages me to be the best I can be. I often find the best motivation in the very normal of circumstances. People who succeed above all else are a constant source of strength. If you look around, they're everywhere!

What are you passionate about? Travel, food, love and learning. Japanese food, beer and skiing - not necessarily in that order.

What's the best lesson you've learnt? Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try, try again.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Nadav Kander, Jeffrey Smart and Thom Yorke. Unique, creative and challenging all in their own right.

What are you excited about? Going to Thailand tomorrow and another year to do it all again.

What's next? More travel, more Japanese and maybe a beer or two...

images courtesy of alan jensen


Monday, 22 June 2015

ARTIST LIZZIE BUCKMASTER DOVE







Introducing a new series of interviews on Daily Imprint, while the crew behind it are travelling overseas for the next month [pics on Instagram @nataliewalton and @theindigocrew]. Revisiting some original and popular interviews from the site over the past eight years - the blog was launched 9 June 2007, and relaunched almost a year ago.

The first update in the series is on artist Lizzie Buckmaster Dove

An interest in walking near her local sea pools set off an idea in the mind of Australian artist Lizzie Buckmaster Dove [interview]. She had been collecting fragments of it over the years but when she learnt that the pool was going to be resurfaced Lizzie was able to salvage a collection of pieces which became the Alchemy of Blue and was exhibited at Wollongong Art Gallery in 2013 and was partly funded by the Australia Council. “It has really changed the way I work in terms of materiality, scale and methodology,” she says. “I am taking longer and longer to make work and getting less and less commercial,” Lizzie says. “It’s just how it is.” 

“One of the things I’ve learned is that my creative life has a will of its own,” she says. “I’m not really interested in repeating works so when I feel as though I’ve fully investigated something, I move on. It’s almost an anti-branding of myself though I do think a sensibility moves through all my work and I am moved when others see this too, especially if a work appears vastly different to one preceeding it.” She will be exhibiting at Maitland Regional Gallery as part of a group show from June 27 to September 7. Lizzie will also be showing some of her “moons” photographs.

The original interview:

How did you start creating these 3D paper works? I have always been fascinated by the tactility of paper and can’t remember when I wasn’t making collages. At art school I was exposed to many mediums and this resulted in my making assemblage pieces combining both paper and object. From this I left the objects behind to focus on creating the three-dimensional aspect through paper. Eventually this led to me working with books, at once object and paper, the perfect medium.

Where do you get your inspiration? I am like a bowerbird looking for anything blue – I am all eyes and ears, looking for that which I can filter into my work. Most recently I have been enjoying looking at taxidermy and insect collections. In London I visited The Hunterian Museum, which has a wonderful collection of animals, and parts of animals preserved in formaldehyde in glass jars. I love the language of the presentation, the jars, the boxes and cases and the ideal that this presentation allows an understanding of how the world works and how all its separate parts interrelate, that to name is to know. It leaves so much out, the unseen, the invisible, there is no spirit within these things, and life has gone someplace else. But they mystify me. Instead of finding it morose, I am fascinated. In the Auckland Museum there are deep drawers containing large native New Zealand birds. They are completely still, the life gone out of them and their wings curtailed. They lie as if in funereal robes on their backs, their wings pressed to their sides. In the same vein, I love botanical illustration and Victorian illustration. My current work deals mostly with Australian natives and is in response to nine years away and my return to Australia a year ago so simply being in nature is a feeding ground for me.

How long does each one take? The time taken to complete each work varies enormously.

What are you working on now? I am working toward a solo show at NG Art Gallery in Sydney in May.

Who inspires you? I am inspired by a wide range of people and mediums, but the specific artists I draw most inspiration from are Cornelia Parker, Rachel Whiteread, Joseph Cornell, Leonora Carrington, Fiona Hall, Shona Wilson, Doris Salcedo, Kiki Smith, Anish Kapoor and recent discoveries (New Zealand artists) Andrea Chandler and Chelsea Gough among many others.

images courtesy of lizzie buckmaster dove

Friday, 19 June 2015

STYLIST, INTERIOR DESIGNER + CREATIVE DIRECTOR ALEX ZABOTTO-BENTLEY







“Those early, experimental days really paid off,” says stylist Alex Zabotto-Bentley. He went through the early New Wave look with oversized ’50s men’s suit pants from a thrift shop cinched at the waist, a white grandpa shirt, leather cap and a mega teased fringe to shaving his hair into a mohican and his version of Vivienne Westwood’s pirate collection through to the slick mod suiting of The Jam, he says. “I found I had a knack for interpreting trends and creating new looks.” At the same time a lot of Alex’s friends were starting out as photographers so they often teamed up. “The early days were hilarious, and wonderfully creative,” he says. Alex would raid friends’ wardrobes and op-shops, and discover up-and-coming designers, and the jobs kept coming. Increasingly, they were from people he didn’t know, with requests to style products, campaigns and window displays. Then the agencies came knocking. “It suddenly took off like crazy and that’s when I knew I had to drop my studies and commit to this exciting new career move. It just felt right,” Alex says. “It was also rare at that time for guys to be stylists, so I guess I stood out. I also started working on the both the styling and creative side for TV commercials in Melbourne, so styling naturally segued into fashion, art, decoration, interiors, colour selection, and now furniture, events… the possibilities are boundless.” 

Perhaps one of the biggest highlights was when Vogue Australia editor Nancy Pilcher flew him up to Sydney from his native Melbourne to be offered the position of men’s fashion director. “That moment I realised, ‘Hey, this is real!’ I was being recognised for my attention to detail and design knowledge, my photographic styling, my taste level and my own style,” he says. “It was a wonderful moment, and I will never forget that time, creating life-long connections within the Sydney fashion and creative world. It was truly humbling that Nancy had seen something in me, and wanted to help me reach my potential.”

QUESTIONS
Which five words best describe you? Passionate, generous, insightful, intuitive, spiritual - a typical Leo, really. 

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I was at uni in Melbourne simultaneously studying for a psychology degree and another in classical studies - I’ve always been a multi-tasker, and I got to the point where I was physically and mentally imploding. At the same time, I was lured by the creativity of Melbourne’s early club scene: iconic clubs like Inflation, The Chevron and Chasers, mixing with other club kids who were all unique and creative in their own right. I felt so inspired by this amazing subculture that was drawing me in. And so, I deferred uni - forever, it seems! - and moved into this new world of styling and creating. I was living with friends in a massive disused top floor space right on Flinders Street, mixing these amazing people. We were all starting out, so it was really exciting and supportive. Those connections became the foundation of my career. Many of those people are still close friends and have become incredibly successful in their own right.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Passion is only part of the equation to success. You need dedication and consistency, with a real understanding of business. 

What’s your proudest career achievement? Actually there have been a number of milestones for me. With every project I commit to, I make sure there is a pinnacle - something that I strive for - so that when I hit it, I am overcome with joy. It helps in the difficult moments to look up to that goal. Creating these mini milestones is really gratifying and valuable over the course of a career. It means that no single moment is the proudest, but when I reflect back, I have a life filled with so many high points. I love thinking of it like that. It also means there’s no resting on your laurels – it’s always on to the next challenge!

To name a few: creating the label FASHION ASSASSIN and selling to 38 stockists and David Jones in the first month of trading, was a real “pinch me” moment. Being the opening night show of MAFW, with an audience of over 1000; styling Prince, Kylie, Delta Goodrum, INXS… More recently, flying 280 fashion delegates in from Europe for an amazing weeklong road trip to launch the international collections of Diesel, Levi’s, Nudie and Lee. Receiving the Gold Prize for Design for the interior design, build and creation of the Masterchef Pop-up restaurant and bar at the 2013 International design awards. And more high points to come.

What’s been your best decision? It might sound counterintuitive in such a hectic business, but I make sure I take one month off every year and travel to a distant location and immerse myself in the culture. It might be Buenos Aires, Brazil, Barcelona, Italy, Greece... I need that time to recharge and get inspired.

Who inspires you? The role call for my inspirations is massive. I draw inspiration from everywhere - from painting to music, authors to architects, visionaries to philosophers. I look at the works of great artists: from Caravaggio to Picasso, from the classical sculptors of ancient Greece and Rome, to Alexander Calder; thinkers and writers from Genet to Plath, designers from Gio Ponti to Philipe Starck, and architects from the Romans to Mies van der Rohe. As you can imagine, I have a big library. I glean from all sources. I love to get right inside an idea or a movement, study it thoroughly, understand it completely, and then distil the essence – and that’s what I take with me. 

What are you passionate about? I am passionate about creating beautiful, immersive environments. It could be an interior, a pop-up or an experience. I love connecting with people on an emotional level with something I have created. People are the essential extra elements in all my designs; that interaction and communication is my biggest buzz.

And I must confess, I am also very passionate about hugging. It might sound a bit odd and new age, but ask anyone who knows me, and they’ll tell you about my AZB hugs. Life is precious and fleeting and I want to make sure everyone knows that they are important to me with a hug. It’s great for the soul!

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Actually Salvador Dali, if I could speak his native Catalan. To experience that man and his mind for even a couple hours would be magnificent. Oh, and Freddie Mercury - just to hear him sing again. What a performer! 

What dream do you still want to fulfil? I want to renovate a glorious, crumbling old, Italian palazzo - in Italy, of course.

What are you reading? I’m usually reading at least two books concurrently. At the moment, I’m obsessed with biographies and autobiographies. I’ve just finished reading Just Kids by Patti Smith; it’s the poignant story of the creation of two wildly talented artists/poets: herself and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, these magical misfits who gravitated towards each other; beautiful, inspiring and sad. 


images courtesy of alex zabotto-bentley; portrait instyle magazine

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