Interview with Cassie Potts an interior design artist from Melbourne

Cassie Potts “believes that any room we spend our time in should present not just a sense of comfort and sanctuary but should also be a place that provides an aesthetic and emotional journey that delights the dweller”.

Q:Tell us about the moment when you decided to follow a career in the field of interior design.

There really wasn’t a definite; defining moment for me in terms of me seeing Interior Design as my career.  My history in is Visual Art (rather than a more conventional background in Design) with a focus on Installation Art.  So my path into Interior Design started with my turning my own apartment into a gallery space.

View in gallery

I have always enjoyed creating artistic compositions out of functional design/interior elements; and after I created small arrangements of objects and furniture; rooms just came together for me by creating links and synergies between these autonomous visual arrangements.

Friends who loved my own home asked me to then style their own…and a career path was born from this.

View in gallery

Q:Did you have other options in mind at the time?

I taught Art and Design for many years.  I have also dabbled in designing clothes and still have a passion for fashion (particularly men’s styling).  However, I find Interior Design much more gratifying and something that everyone seems to delight in, whereas designer fashion is something only a fairly small number of people seem to appreciate.  I continue to write a men’s style blog (menwtw.com), so I do still get to keep a finger in that pie… I do love writing!

Q:Where do you look for an obscure source of inspiration?

I have a strong sense of irony and delight in anything kitsch, so I love furniture or decor that comes out of developing nations such as Mexico and India and have been made from the most unlikely of materials such as tacky advertising signage or empty vegetable oil drums.  I love the gaudy colours and the reference to another life/context that comes from using these recycled materials. Being a huge fan of pop-art I suppose I also like the shameless dynamic eye-catching colours on labels of tins and bottles in these countries. Bright pinks, greens and yellows; and 1960’s-70’s styles fonts and images.

Q:Favorite thing about your job?

Creating art that people get to living in.

Q:What is your first design project?

Apart from my own apartment; a gorgeous warehouse apartment in an old wool-store (Brisbane, Australia).  The dark brick and floors were gorgeous but gloomy.  Another challenge was to retain the sense of (huge) space whilst dividing the open plan up into distinct, functional living spaces.  I used weighty pieces of furniture and decor to retain the sense of strength and awesome largeness of the space.  I defined different areas with different wood/textile tones and injected life and light into the space with brilliantly illuminated pieces of art.

Q:What’s your favourite room to decorate?

The kitchen!  It is such a warm, friendly space and because it is never going to be a sparse area due the all the appliances, benches etc I adore taking advantage of this and inserting as many visual delights into the space as I can get away with.  Like I mentioned; I really like the labels on many tins of food etc and so I often include food products in my colour scheme and layout which is fun…playful.  Stainless-steel and wood also come together beautifully in this room and are two of my favourite aesthetic features in a space; so the kitchen is definitely a favourite room for me.

Q:What’s your current paint colour obsession?

I will always love white, because it provides such a great backdrop to vibrantly coloured furniture and decor.  Also a dominant interior theme of white means that you can include more items in a space without making it seem cluttered.  However, I also think a light grey, such as a dove grey, is such a wonderful colour in interiors.  It compliments so many other tones whilst making a red or yellow chair (for example) just *pop*.  Yellow will always be a favourite colour for furniture and decor and works beautifully in a room painted grey, white or even a muted shade of blue-grey.

Q:What is the trend for bathroom/bedroom/kitchen and living room this year?

Huge question!  I apologise if my answer is a little bit abstract but I nearly feel like it has to be delivered like the verbal version of a mood board, which is not overly organised or linear.  When I talk ‘trends’ its often in the form of juxtapositions between textures, colours and concepts.  For example I see a lot of light natural materials/fibres with bright colours and even matt black; the lightness of the untreated/painted wood providing respite between the dense block of colour on a painted wall or piece of furniture.  On the flip side, I see interiors being fun spaces that tell a detailed (yet subtly restrained) tale of the occupant’s life, so I see (for me) 2012 being a year of opulent, eccentric interiors, full of diverse yet ornate furniture, textiles and eclectic art and design objects.  However, this opulence would be set against (even balanced out) by a backdrop of different shade of grey and even black.  There are enough current trends, existing in parallel to suit any client.

Q:What’s exciting you in the design world right now?

Bloggers!  Their interest and talent in collecting an synthesising inspiring imagery from all artistic and design disciplines is a constant source of inspiration to my practice…and my own blog!

Q:What do you consider to be the most iconic design piece of the past century?

I think the Arc Lamp or Arco Lamp (eg. Bauhaus Arc Lamp, Castiglione Arco Lamp…) is such a striking and practical interior item.  I love the sense of tension, yet balance of this object whilst being fantastically suitable to so many spaces.

Q:What do you think is the easiest way to update a room?

Plants and quality art.  Plants can easily freshen up any room, and interesting; ‘good’ art can add vibrancy and elegance to a space with very little other [distinctive] furniture.  Also, ‘get rid of stuff’.  If a place is dated, then strip it back to the bare minimum…and add a plant!

Q:Anything new and exciting that you want to share with the Homedit readers?

Watch my spaces! Mdartinteriors.com.au; mdartinteriors.tumblr.com, facebook.com/mdartinteriors, twitter.com/mdartinteriors.Exciting things are *always* happening!