Name: Natasha O. Usher
Company: Nude Design Limited
Position within company: Design Principal and Founder
. Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc)
I began my undergraduate degree design in the United States at California State University and finished up at University of Tennessee in Interior Architecture, Ergonomics and a Minor in Art History. My design career in Hong Kong took place through representing high calibre international design firms which eventually lead to my interior design consultancy practice in 2000 “nude” Natasha usher design enterprise.
Since the establishment of nude, our interior projects include a multitude of local and international projects. Sizes have ranged from small retail identity roll-outs from 600sqft to 40,000sq.ft health clubs as well as full hotel developments. In 2001 I began developing a small range of furniture exhibited throughout lifestyle showrooms in Hong Kong. I still continue to develop design pieces in my projects in order to promote local design talent both distributed in Asia and overseas.
While still actively managing nude, I spent several years heading the Interior Design department for Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts International since 2004 which has greatly expanded our business knowledge within the hospitality industry.
. How would you describe your personal interior design style?
My business caters to clients who demand for an “international unique design image” where we aim to provide professional advice and creative solutions. My personal style is to express an “international” vibe in my projects to remind us of the world we live in and how cross cultural influence in design, fashion and food has a strong global relevance stronger than before.
. Where does your design inspiration come from?
Almost anywhere, typically I like to look at fashion magazines, other designers in Europe on what they are doing which inspires me on how to approach my own designs. Sometimes my ideas may come from nature or a product when I see a beautiful pattern or colour that can be translated into a piece of furniture, rug or detail.
. In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
I personally find that Interiors are similar to fashion trends with an interest to shock, wow and appeal to the senses. However, there is a loyal affinity to the basic classics, whether it’s in your wardrobe or a piece of furniture that has a timeless appeal and we find new ways to accentuate around while remaining as our general style. As both fashion and homes are very personal, it can directly represent a person’s character and taste which may also change with the seasons. Architecture I find is more evident in trends moving towards organic forms with a focus on sustainability and engineering that needs to be addressed. Unfortunately, interior design in Asia when addressing sustainability still proves a slow practice in urban projects especially when most developers primarily look at the bottom line in investments. I do foresee more consumer trends toward intelligent homes and technology especially as Asian city dwellers have a natural love for technology, gadgets and convenience.
. Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2016 and beyond.
1. Don’t be trend driven only as it may not be a sustainable way forward
2. Challenge ourselves where we can implement sustainability in as much of our design as possible
3. Look at other fantastic design solutions and try to take it further and improve it
4. Make it your concern on how waste and non-toxic materials can be managed in your own projects
5. Look at design inspiration in a global context, the world is so connected and so should be your designs
. If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to interior design schemes, what would it be?
Ensure who manufacturers or constructs your design can build it and deliver. By actively involving yourself in the construction and buildability process, you are more likely to execute great work. Designs are only great when it can be practically built to specifications or it will be mediocre and constructed badly diminishing your work.
. How important are The International Design and Architecture Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?
I think that the IDA awards are important to help acknowledge and share your talents with peers in the industry but ultimately, it provides a personal sense of accomplishment that you have done great work that others can recognize.
. What projects are you currently working on?
As my design background is quite diverse from working in hospitality, we are currently working with developers on service apartments, restaurants and show flat villas.
. What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
To maintain relationships with our Clients and work with more developers which continue to provide us with more diversity in our projects
. Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself
Your most treasured possession? My dogs
Your favourite holiday destination? South Africa Botswana
Your favourite hotel / restaurant / bar? Too many options to have a favourite
Your favourite book / film / song?
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown / Avatar / You’re Beautiful – James Blunt
Your favourite food and drink? Escargot bourguignon and Ice Milk Tea
Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?
A hike with my dogs and fiancé, cooling off with Paddle Boarding at the beach,
followed by lunch at the beach café winding down till sunset.
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be? I can’t imagine not being a designer.
Maybe an environmentalist…