Designer In Profile: Joy Flanagan, Principal of Joy Flanagan Design

Name: Joy FlanaganJoy Flanagan Design
Company: Joy Flanagan Design
Position within company: Principal/Owner

Tell us a little about your background in design…
I studied at Chelsea College of Art and Design where I completed a BA (hons) in Spatial and Interior Design. I was invited back to teach at Chelsea and have enjoyed being an Associate Lecturer at the College since 2007. I worked on a number of commercial and residential developments in the US and opened my own design practice in the UK in 2015.

How would you describe your personal design style?
There is, intentionally, no house style at Joy Flanagan Design.  We offer a collaborative, creative, bespoke design service. We aim to work deeply with our clients to establish an individual design narrative based upon the architecture we are working in, the clients’ needs and desires and the unique aspects of the project. We listen carefully to understand what our clients want while at the same time pushing and presenting ideas so that the design evolves and matures.  There is a focus on the flow of the space, on creating a good plan. We ultimately aim to bring the design to life using an especially curated selection of materials, objects, and careful attention to each and every detail which will transform our ideas into beautiful, original spaces.

Where does your design inspiration come from?
Inspiration for me comes from the architecture within which I am working, the clients I am working with and the materials I very carefully source and select for each project. I also have quite an addiction to design and architecture magazines and books right across the spectrum.  My studio really isn’t large enough for my collection!  I particularly enjoy collecting regional issues and local publications when I am travelling because the ideas are always unique and often an interesting response to a very particular place or design challenge.

 In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
Design will increasingly move toward more individual, bespoke, curated and crafted interiors.  Clients want unique spaces, unusual items. People are seeking more personal interiors that support their desires and interests and which nurture their lives.   Collected interiors which effortlessly blend styles, eras and possessions that are meaningful to clients, and which tell a story tracing their lives, are something I am increasingly involved with.

Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2019 and beyond.
There is a greater openness to an eclectic, highly personal design approach, which evolves over time as clients are able to invest in furniture, art and objects.  As a result, layered, personal interiors which support collections and individual interests are paramount and may result in longer collaborations with designers.

We are looking increasingly for our homes and personal environments to provide an antidote to the demands and pressures of work, school and personal commitments. Clients want their environments to nurture them in their lives, provide them with a sense of wellbeing, and to serve as a backdrop for capturing special life moments.

Clients are increasingly looking for products, materials, spatial solutions and ideas about circular economy which help them live with greater environmental integrity. Thoughtful design which is conscious of its environmental footprint and which promotes and encourages users to be environmentally responsible will continue to grow in importance.

The experience economy will continue grow.  Clients are looking for exciting entertainment venues, spaces and places to go which are original, entertaining and provide an alternate environment to experience.

Use of colour and pattern are back!  Design is bolder, more confident.

 If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design schemes, what would it be?
Allow enough time to explore and understand your project before you jump into a build or start buying.  Dream into your scheme, ask thoughtful, important questions about your own priorities for the space and the experience you would like to have within it.  Explore a wide variety of options and possibilities, materials you love, objects you want to include.

Through this process, you will understand what is most important for the scheme and for yourself, you will know what works and what is achievable.  Then, establish a good plan which truly gets the bones of your project right and which you can layer your ultimate vision into.

 How important are The International Design & Architecture Awards?
The International Design & Architecture awards acknowledge and celebrate the creativity, hard work and commitment designers bring to their art. These awards are important as they seek out, commend and showcase the very best in design.  To be shortlisted is an honour, to win is a true mark of achievement in today’s design environment.

What projects are you currently working on?
A home in Chiswick, a guest house in the UK, and the renovation of a country home in the UK.

What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
I am in the process of developing some collaborations with makers, creating unique pieces of furniture.  I am exploring some possibilities for fabric design.  Above all I am working hard to achieve the very best for my clients and their projects.

Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself and your daily inspirations:

Your most treasured possession?
A painting of a bluebell wood by Nicholas Hely Hutchinson, which my husband commissioned for our anniversary

Your favourite holiday destination?

Your favourite hotel, restaurant & bar?
Hotel: The Orient Express
Restaurant: Oka Sushi in Barnes
Bar: The Long Bar at the Sanderson

Your favourite book, film & song?
Book: Journey by Moonlight by Antal Szerb
Film: Legends of the Fall
Song: A string quartet my daughter iyla wrote earlier this year

Your favourite food and drink?
Food: Dessert, I have sweet tooth
Drink: A great cup of coffee

Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?
Rummaging around antique shops and flea markets or at home with a good read

If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
A botanical artist or an antique dealer

Anything else interesting?
I collect rings with skulls, pink and green teacups/pots and depression era glass chickens – all to the horror of my family who have to live with these objects!

Joy Flanagan Design