Designer Profile: Michaela Reysenn Managing Director of KAI Interiors

Name: Michaela Reysenn
KAI Interiors
Position within company: Managing director

Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc)
Following a BA [Hons] in multimedia textiles, I carried out an Interior design diploma to focus more into my area of interest. Working in hospitality at a high level throughout my studies meant I had a good understanding of the practicalities of running a Food and Beverage operation and this was invaluable when designing interior spaces.

How would you describe your personal interior design style?
At KAI Interiors we don’t like to pigeon hole ourselves into one specific design style, we work with the client brief and like to explore something different on each project. I have a long-standing love of all things vintage but I also love more minimal interiors too. My home is a mixture of William Morris influences and mid-century furniture with rich colour palettes and textures.

Where does your design inspiration come from?
We are very concept-driven and love to really spend time digging deep into the background of locations, found items and historical stories or folklore to really understand the subject matter and ensure that it is the root of our design. By starting with a strong concept we can ensure it filters through to all elements of the interior and branding so we have a considered design down to the smallest detail. Inspiration can come in so many forms, theatre, music, fashion, even a journey to work can spark something in your imagination that then leads to something exciting and fresh for a new design.

In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
We can certainly see that design is being more considered in terms of the health and psychological benefits or impacts. People are more aware of their surroundings and as designers, it is our responsibility to react to this. We need to lead the way by using eco-friendly products and materials where we can and ensure that our interiors are more immersive. People are constantly looking for something new and fresh and that is what we always aim to achieve with our projects.

Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2020 and beyond.

  1. Sustainability
  2. Biophilic- Considering the health benefits we can gain from interior design elements such as planting
  3. Longevity- Ensuring we are designing to last and in turn providing a more environmentally friendly interior
  4. Thinking outside of the box
  5. Considering how spaces can evolve for different uses and maximising on operational flexibility

If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to interior design schemes, what
would it be?
Be bold, believe in your design, ensure it is not only aesthetically beautiful but that it is operationally practical

How important are The International Hotel & Property Awards as recognition of talent and
These awards are so important to ensure designers continue to get recognition for what they do, we should be taking inspiration from each other and helping others to grow and blossom.

What projects are you currently working on?
We have an array of projects at the moment, including Hyatt hotel’s cigar terrace in Marylebone, A new concept with competitive socialising at the forefront, a Victorian public toilet turned wine bar, a large global finance company office space, cafe chains and at the other end of the scale we are carefully restoring and renovating an eighteenth-century villa in Oxfordshire which houses 70 plus bedrooms and many state rooms.

What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
Our aim as a company is to continue to work on exciting and different projects throughout the year, exploring new sustainable materials as much as we can and pushing boundaries.

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

Your most treasured possession? Headphones…When I need a boost, music can help me get into the right mindset or calm me and take me to a more creative place…

Your favourite holiday destination? I have so many destinations which I adore, I love Watergate Bay in Cornwall for a UK break, the beach makes me feel happy every time I visit. Overseas I love Australia particularly the east coast and Sydney. I also have a special place in my heart for Morocco, Taghazout Bay is so calming and it really is a very spiritual place that reminds us how small we are in this big world. It was so great to be able to work in Morocco for this fantastic hotel project, Dar Jasmine.

Your favourite hotel, restaurant & bar?
Favourite hotel- I really loved one of my hotel visits in Bangkok due to the amazing infinity pool and view situated at the top of the building however I do enjoy visiting Surf Maroc’s latest hotel which is called Amouage and is sat on the coast of Taghazout. Perfect for lazy yoga and surf days, if I ever get a chance.

Favourite restaurant- I have to say my favourite restaurant experience has to be The Fat Duck in bray purely for the culinary delights which Heston presented to us however from a design perspective I would say I love all of the Hawksmoor restaurants, particularly seven dials, its classic design always makes me feel at home.

Favourite bar- Without a doubt, Colebrooke Row in Islington is my favourite place for cocktails, globally! they are the smallest yet strongest cocktails and always leave me feeling warm and fuzzy on the journey home. Second, to that I have to say Boca Grande in Barcelona also have a great little bar upstairs.

Your favourite book, film & song?

Favourite book- Juggling family and a design business doesn’t leave much time for reading but if I do get chance it tends to be something that continues to develop my knowledge on design or business.
Favourite Film- As a child, I watched anything and everything with Julie Andrews or Audrey Hepburn in so they sum up my favourite movies for a Sunday afternoon! I do love Shawshank though and all the classics.
Favourite Song- This must be the place- Talking heads. Amazing tune. Or anything Daft Punk.

Your favourite food and drink?
Well as a woman with a sweet tooth I would say my favourite food has to be cake, cookies or Macarons…anytime, any place..
Drink..I love Rhubarb so anything Rhubarb related is great, rhubarb gimlets are my favourite summer cocktail or an old fashioned with Rittenhouse rye to end the evening…and it will.

Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?
At the beach with my family or friends..or baking with my little ones…then inevitably eating it..

If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
I would probably be a baker like my mum, the problem is I would eat everything I bake so I am not sure it would be a sustainable business idea..

Anything else interesting?
My motto in life is ‘Just do it then its done’, I tell this to my team, my hubby and my friends all the time..