Fashion trends may fade, but interior design themes endure.
For designer Nina Maya, interior design offers a vast landscape of creativity through which novel ideas are grown and cultivated. Formerly the founder and designer of a successful fashion label bearing her own name, in 2011 Maya made the decision to shift her focus from fashion to interior design.
Having studied Textile and Design at The College of Fine Arts Sydney, majoring in Textiles, Maya's inherent understanding of colour, print and form encouraged her to pursue a vocation where the output transcends more than one season.
"Nina Maya Interiors" is an interior design studio offering a range of design services, including interior decoration, design/build solutions and project management of renovation/construction projects. As part of her business, Maya sources art and furniture internationally. She also offers a bespoke fabric and furniture design service for clientele.
Editor, Michelle Larin, interviewed Maya about her transition from fashion to interiors, her interior design style and some of her recent projects.
Q: Nina, you were a fashion designer for 5 years with a very successful label, what prompted your transition from clothing to interior design?
A: I made the transition in 2011 when I moved to London after launching my e-Boutique "Nina Maya Emporium". Whilst based in London and travelling through Europe I became so inspired by the incredible architecture and design museums that I began thinking of how I could utilise my current skill set to expand into the interiors industry. I have always been passionate about interiors and design and, in fact, studied a bachelor degree in design and textiles rather than fashion.
Q: What is it about interior design that appeals to you?
A: I love how transformative something like the right shade of colour, or a combination of textures and shapes in a room can have on people's moods and their experience of a space. Whether it is someone's living room, a restaurant or bar the design choices made can have a powerful and often positive effect on peoples experiences within those spaces and the activities that take place within them.
Q: What is your design niche?
A: My design niche would be my intricate knowledge of textiles, understanding of colour, print and form, in particular from my days as a fashion designer. These attributes differentiate me from my contemporaries.
Q: What elements do you think create an inviting space?
A: I think having a balance of opposites creates an inviting space. An interesting and inventive play on scale, silhouette, tone and texture within a space entertains the eye and invites you in!
Q: What is your favourite interior design theme?
A: Usually, in my work, I like to start with a neutral background and then play with and layer colours, prints and textures. This way, the foundations of the scheme will hold the test of time and yet can easily be updated with personal items and new accessories as desired.
Q: What types of design projects do you work on?
A: I am working across a variety of both commercial and residential projects at the moment. These range from a beautiful family beach house in Sydney's Palm Beach to an new exciting cafe/restaurant in the heart of Hong Kong.
Q: From where do you draw inspiration for the interiors you design?
A: Sometimes, I will start a project having been inspired by a particular piece of artwork or ceramic piece that will inform my colour choices and feeling for a space.
However, I also derive a lot of inspiration from my travels. I love experiencing new places, exploring exotic markets and being inspired by new sights. I am very lucky to be currently working on some international projects that allow me to do this!
Q: What fabrics and items do you most like to play with to dress up a space?
A: With a background in textiles, I obsess over unique fabrics in beautiful prints. This often leads me to designing my own fabrics for private customers to ensure they are perfect. I usually start with a colour or print and then work in a combination of textures and tones to create a balanced yet interesting look. I also love playing with lighting elements and am always on the hunt for new lighting designs in my travels.
Q: Describe one of your most enjoyable design projects thus far.
A: One of my most enjoyable projects so far has been to design and renovate the Paddington Inn in Sydney. It was a fun, exciting project working alongside a fantastic building team and it was surreal to see my vision come to life! I was able to source some great lighting elements for the project, with my favourite being the handmade ceramic bronze pendant from Italy. The light has stunning gold leafing on the inside, creating a beautiful warm glow in the Moroccan domed booth.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who is seeking to overhaul the look of a room?
A: Start with a new feature item; whether it be a bold new colour with which to paint the walls, a fabulous new rug or interesting lighting piece. Then, work all the other elements around the feature piece to support and compliment it within the space.
Bright or printed accessories are always a cost effective way to update the look of a tired room; whether it be new cushions for the lounge or a striking piece of art for the walls, it will instantly freshen up the look.