Susan is an Interior Designer and has worked for many years both in the UK & Ireland in many prestigious Architectural & Design practices. Before setting up her consultancy she worked on a variety of high profile commercial projects from award winning retail projects such as the Jil Sander flagship store, Calvin Klein (Bond St), Mulberry (New Bond Street) in addition to a variety of entertainment & Museum design projects such as Hush bar London & City Hall Museum Dublin.Since setting up QMC London Susan has worked on a wide variety of retail and private projects.
Inspiration: Who is your design hero? – Fabio Novembre –Italian Designer who designs everything from retail spaces to mosaic tile collections. He is very eclectic and I’ve been a fan of his work since college.
What makes you get out of bed? What gets me up and running is my desire to create something new for my clients and having the freedom to do so. I also know that when you work for yourself every day is different and I create my own destiny. You can go from immense highs to lows but every day brings a new adventure and especially living in London there is always something happening. The creative energy of the city inspires me and gets me out of bed.
Luck or hard work: How did you get your big break? Both – I worked very hard after finishing college on some projects for clients who I was lucky to meet as they encouraged my creativity and they put their trust and faith in me even when I didn’t have a large portfolio. From there it’s a case of little stepping stones from one thing to the next but everything requires a level of luck meeting the right person or being in the right place at the right time. I’ve been very lucky to work for good clients who listen to me and trust in my opinion. My first break getting into design to get my initial start was with Orna Hanly Architects in Dublin; they put their faith in me; when I worked there it was a very positive, small company and the experience was invaluable.
Life: What inspires you? Nature, the beach, animals. I’m a country girl originally from Limerick and I love going back to Ireland to get away from everything and finding an empty beach to think and plan. I get all my best ideas walking on beaches; that’s where I have my light bulb moments! London is a stressful city and it’s easy to burn out or just churn out work but I try to make sure I am always doing my best work by taking breaks away to refocus. Wandering around Richmond Park always does the trick too. I’m also obsessed with the Munster rugby team and there is no better day then going back home to see the team play and the passion of the fans which is amazing.
Looking back: What project are you most proud of? Ice White House – London.This was a project I inherited which had been a bit of a disaster and the client put his faith in me to fix it. It was a big project for us at the time and again the client didn’t look for back catalogues or hundreds of references- he put his faith in me and it was a stressful job trying to put mistakes right and start again but it’s the job that people always recognise me for. I could have walked away from it many times but I stuck it out and it’s a fantastic house with a swimming pool, cinema room and a beautiful stairs. I was only meant to undertake the lighting initially and I went from that to full design service and again the client believed in my ability and listened to me even when I was saying things he didn’t want to hear.
Relax: Cinema or Couch? Cinema, I love sitting in the cinema that’s where I definitely relax
Favourites: Colour, Film, Music and Book? Colour: Red and purple Film- Fantastic Mr Fox – weird but I love it Music- Heavy metal/rock – Led Zeppelin/Deep Purple/Metallica. Book- I studied English in college so have read a lot of books – its either total chick lit to chill out or I love medieval English literature –all the king Arthur tales and Chaucer.
Technology: Apple or android? – I’ve never gone down the apple road and my drawing programme only works on android so I’ve stuck with that
Taking Notes: Handwritten or tablet? – Handwriting all the way- I’m the crazy woman on the tube with the tatty notebook writing furiously. Id freak out without my notebook and pen.
Dinner: If you could throw a dinner party for any three people, who would they be? Alexander McQueen/Paul O’Grady/Anna Wintour or Fabio Novembre – It definitely wouldn’t be an interior designer party I like to mix things up.
Other life: If you were not an Architect/lighting designer what you would be? I always wanted to be a Detective or a Marine Biologist tying into my obsession with the sea and dolphins/whales or to open a holistic retreat teaching Pilates on some beach island like Ibiza- that’s the retirement plan anyway.
I can’t live if living is without? What three things….