Name: Rachel Usher
Company: Rachel Usher Interior Design
Position within company: Director & Founder
Tell us a little about your background in design:
Holding a bachelor of science degree, and after pursuing a long career working at a strategic leadership level in a large public sector organisation, I changed career paths and established my own design company in 2012. Initially this was a small movement which quickly gained organic momentum, as past clients began recommending me to new clients, and so on. As my reputation as a designer strengthened so did the profile of my design work which attracted attention and recognition, something which I am extremely proud of.
How would you describe your personal design style?
I suppose it is slightly masculine, I appreciate simplicity, and strong shapes, I tend to wear strong simple shapes and I guess that I design similarly, I am interested in what something is made of and how it feels, I appreciate texture over pattern.
Where does your design inspiration come from?
I think that we are all influenced by the world around us, what I love about the UK is the international fusion that exists here, and I like to see things when I travel, but if I’m honest, most of it is gut feeling, its about how I want a space to make me feel and that’s so intangible. I think that is probably why I much prefer texture over pattern as it gives a message of warmth. It’s not that pattern is wrong, it’s just that doesn’t suit me.
In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
I think there is a significant and necessary movement towards environmentally considered design. I won’t profess to be in any way carbon neutral, I think that we are facing both challenging and exciting times ahead.
Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2020 and beyond.
Understanding the emotional relationship to good (or bad) design.
Indoor outdoor living.
Sustainability / environmental impact.
Flexible living spaces.
If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design schemes, what would it be?
Ditch the bling.
How important are The International Design & Architecture Awards?
As designers and architects, we should learn from, and celebrate the best in the industry from across the globe. Raising the profile of all applicants, by peer scrutiny and recognition is invaluable and ensures that talent is recognised and elevated.
What projects are you currently working on?
A whole house project with a strong and clean architectural aesthetic, a luxury garden pavilion for entertaining, a farm house, a traditional period property, and a penthouse apartment.
What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
To raise my international portfolio, and to put the north of England firmly onto the design map.
Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself and your daily inspirations:
Your most treasured possession?
A Georg Jensen necklace that I bought with the last money my Dad had in his wallet when he died. I wear it every day.
Your favourite holiday destination?
California – I visit as often as I can. I love the laid back easy going lifestyle and the people are also apparently happy beyond rational explanation.
Your favourite hotel, restaurant & bar?
Hotel: The Tree House, London
Restaurant: I could name a fancy restaurant anywhere in the world but the truth is the Blacksmiths Arms near my home is a favourite of mine.
Bar: Bootlegger Tikki in Palm Springs for amazing Cocktails.
Your favourite book, film & song?
Book: Kinfolk Entrepreneur
Film: A Star is Born
Song: Counting Crows – Mr Jones
Your favourite food and drink?
Tapas, I like ‘bitty’ food, I’m more of a grazer. Yorkshire Tea, I drink gallons of it.
Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?
I have a home in Palm Desert, CA – so it would be sat on my patio looking at the San Jacinto mountains browsing through LA’s excellent design magazines.
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
I’ve always felt like I should be saving the world and feel guilty that I’m not! I’d advocate for women in the developing world. Economically and politically unstable countries have fewer women in positions of leadership – I’d like to see a world with an equal balance of empowered educated and respected women shaping the future.
Anything else interesting?
I was a police officer for 20 years, I have seen life in all of its colours, being able to work in the design field creating designs which I love continues to remain a surreal experience to me and probably always will.