Company: Keir Townsend
Name: Irina Townsend
Position in the company: Creative Director
Tell us a little about your background in design
I studied art, fashion design and branding and then gradually progressed to interior design, which I think has always been my main interest since I was a child. My partner, Alastair Keir, and I both worked in the commercial architecture world prior to starting working on residential projects about 8 years ago, which is how Keir Townsend was born. We never looked back, as we both love what we do, as each day there is an opportunity to learn something new or to improve something we have previously done. Today we are 8 strong and undertake both commercial and residential projects.
How would you describe your personal interior design style?
Contemporary classic, with understated elegance. Having said that, I do not like minimalism or mock-period design. I believe that everything had its time and there is an art to combining old and new, contemporary and classic, natural and man-made in way that is comfortable, warm and calming.
Where does your design inspiration come from?
I grew up in many different countries and a lot of my inspirations come from ethnic and cultural influences of different parts of the world. However, my biggest inspirations always come from nature, as it is very hard to beat natural beauty of organic shapes and materials.
In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
Despite the fact that technology has made a massive leap in the last decade, I feel there is a strong move towards all things natural – from materials to shapes and to a more simplified way of living generally.
Name five key themes to consider when approaching property development in 2014 and beyond.
Metal surfaces, especially patinated or textured ones
Creative use of stone in furniture and kitchens
Art in furniture – adding pieces that are both functional and works of art at the same time
Clever lighting schemes to allow for all occasions
Concealed TVs – big black rectangles should no longer be a dominant part of any sophisticated interior
If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to interior design schemes, what would it be?
Make it your priority to know and understand people who will be using the scheme – who they are, what they like and how the space will be used. Taking this knowledge as a basis and guiding clients towards the best possible design solution is definitely the winning formula for every project.
How important are The International Design and Architecture Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?
Extremely important. Having looked through the website, I discovered exceptionally talented designers I have never come across before, who deserve for their work to be recognised.
What projects are you currently working on?
We are working on a restaurant in central London, a large house in St George’s Hill, Weybridge, an apartment in St George’s Tower, Vauxhall, a flat in Belgravia and 2 residential projects in Moscow.
What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
To complete all of the above-mentioned projects to our discerning clients’ satisfaction and to start several new projects that we currently have in the pipeline, as well as to discover new talented artists’ and artisans’ products for our showroom through our continued travels.
Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself
Your most treasured possession?
Your favourite holiday destination?
Morocco – partially because I lived in that part of the world as a child and every time I go back it brings back the happiest memories.
Your favourite hotel / restaurant / bar?
Novikov, but then I am slightly bias! I do like the convenience of a restaurant and the lounge bar being in the same place.
Your favourite food and drink?
Freshly-cooked seafood, preferably BBQ-ed on the beach! I like this with a glass of good Viognier.
Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?
During the week – brainstorming new concept with my team. On the weekends, having drinks in a garden in Cotswolds with family and friends.
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
A fashion designer.