Name: Rients Bruinsma
Company: Rients Ltd
Position within company: Director
. Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc)
Studied Interior Architecture at the Academy of Visual Arts in Maastricht, the Netherlands. Started his career at Jean Michel Wilmotte in Paris, moved to New York, where he worked for Peter Marino Architects, later for John Stefanidis in London. He set up his own design practice in 2003. Projects while working for Peter Marino included the Presidential Suite on the fifty second floor of the Four Seasons Hotel in New York, and the Costa Smeralda Yacht Club. My main experience is high end residential, but includes commercial projects such as entrance lobbies and hotel interiors.
. How would you describe your personal interior design style?
Classic contemporary, strong contrasts, sumptuous materials but used to create an understated effect. I like to work with the material’s natural colours, adding colour with fabric and accessories. Interiors should be comfortable, inviting to live in, accurately reflect the owner’s personality.
. Where does your design inspiration come from?
I love travelling, preferably to exotic places. I get inspiration from movies, books and magazines. Nowadays magazines are all electronic which is very convenient. I also get inspiration from where I live in Shoreditch, in East London, and the wide range of cities that I visit: Paris, New York, Milan, Sao Paolo, and others.
. In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
More colour, the use of natural wood in African Walnut, Teak, Mahogany, polished metals such as brass, more use of stone, not just confined to the bathroom. I can also see antiques coming back into favour.
. Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2013 and beyond.
Awareness of the environment: sustainable woods, clever use of electricity, re-cycling building materials. Personality – by which I mean giving prominence to clients’ own acquisitions and art that they may have collected during their life. Comfort (always paramount) Vintage furniture. Tropical Sixties design: incorporating teak, walnut, rosewood, Jacaranda and influences of designers Sergio Rodrigues, Athos Bulcao, Joaquim Tenreiro.
. If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to interior design schemes, what would it be?
When planning floors, walls and ceilings, make sure the floor is the darkest. This tone gives the interior a solid base to work with and the furniture pieces connect through the floor. Otherwise a large rug can fulfil this purpose. I don’t always stick to this rule, but if looking for a low risk approach then the dark floor is a good guideline.
. How important are The International Design and Architecture Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?
It’s a great opportunity for me, and having seen the shortlist of highly reputable companies, I feel honoured to be amongst them.
. What projects are you currently working on?
A 300 sq /m apartment in central Lisbon, a palazzo in Trieste, Italy, five apartments in London varying from 400 sq/m to 150 sq/m and a house in London.
. What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
Launching a furniture collection, would like to get more into commercial projects and other than that, it’s all hands on deck at the moment to complete the current projects to the clients’ and my satisfaction.
. Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself
Your most treasured possession?
I absolutely love my flat in Shoreditch. It’s not very big but has brick walls, a fireplace, concrete ceilings and floors. It’s a joy to come home to and spend weekends.
Your favourite holiday destination? I love the Swahili Coast, East Africa. The sea, the beaches, the food and the Muslim culture make it all so exotic. My favourite country in Europe is Spain. Love the food and the people are so humble and welcoming.
Your favourite hotel / restaurant / bar? Hotel, the Fasano in Sao Paulo designed by Isay Weinfeld, an absolute triumph. Chic, luxurious, understated, absolutely perfect to my taste. I also adore Hostal Empuries on the Costa Brava.
Your favourite book / film / song? Book: Cruel Paradise by Hylke Speerstra, memoirs of Frisian immigrants in many parts of the world. It was written in my mother tongue, Frisian, which comes from the Northern coast of the Netherlands. Film: Little Miss Sunshine, Song/music: Classical Spanish Guitar.
Your favourite food and drink? A simple dish of pasta or fish. Drink: I love a Negroni before dinner followed by a glass of Amarone or Ribera.
Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?
I love walking through cities, favourites are lower Manhattan or East London. Bad weather, a good lunch, then a nap reading on the sofa by the fire. I think I may be one of the few people who like short days and wintry London weather.
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be? That’s a tough one, I can’t imagine anything else. I could see myself running a hotel or restaurant.