Design Inspiration

Inside a Designer’s Mind: Design Inspiration

Anita Lang portrait

Part One: Inspiration

As this global pandemic we are facing continues to reshape the world around us, we are reminded more than ever of the importance of the spaces in which we live. By now, I’m sure you’ve been staring at the four walls of your home and noticing how your space makes you feel. Ever since I can remember, I’ve always been acutely aware of the emotional impact created by an interior environment.

What I’ve always loved about design is its ability to raise the human spirit. When you think about it, we often choose our favorite shops, restaurants or even the places in our homes by the way that they make us feel. That is the power of design…and when we put intention behind our spaces, it has the ability to elevate our lifestyles and our experiences in those spaces.

With this in mind, I thought it might be fun to share some of my creative process and design inspirations; to help those who may be less spatially inclined to reimagine their spaces through the eyes of a creative.

There are three main concepts I would like to share—from where design inspiration comes, the pitfalls of design, and how to curate a collection of furnishings that become a part of your journey and personal style.

So let’s take a peek into the designer’s mind…I promise, it’s fun in here!

Design Inspiration | Client-Driven

My design inspiration typically starts from two main sources: the clients themselves and the architecture of the structure.

The primary source of information is always the client. As the muse for the project, the client guides the design through tastes and preferences, lifestyle and personality. It is an honor to be entrusted with crafting a home for a family… the place where they will share memories of holiday meals, family gatherings and celebrations with friends. The home should feel like an extension of family, and their spaces should tell the story of their journey. It is the stage for the story of their lives.

At the beginning stages of the project, I do what I call the “full download” before I allow myself to start designing. This can sometimes be difficult for me as it is my natural inclination for ideas to start popping into my head the second I see a new space. However, I would not be doing the project justice to start designing until every aspect of the clients’ lives has been taken into consideration. To start the creative process, I relax into a meditation, where there are no other distractions, and channel everything I’ve learned about the client. I think about my intentions for the space and the joy that I hope it will bring to the clients.

During the initial concept meeting, everything is laid out on the table. From preferences of colors and materials, to favorite places they’ve traveled, and even how they like their socks folded; every aspect of their lives is important to consider in the design process. The information related to their lifestyles and daily routines allows me to start envisioning a space that provides unique, functional solutions for the way my clients live their lives.

For example, some clients of mine in LA bought a home to start a family, so I designed a kitchen island with a wraparound counter at table-height instead of bar-height, allowing little ones to gather in the kitchen, and become a place for snacks and eventually homework. Another client couple have become empty nesters which led to creating a fun “adult playground” in their basement for entertaining, wine tasting and even a car bar garage to show off their sports car collection.

Design Inspiration | Architecture-Driven

After considering the clients’ preferences, the architectural cues of the home will drive the design. This often includes my collaboration with the architect to ensure harmony in the design philosophy. As a result, the components within the interiors become an extension of the overall goals and leads to a stronger design solution.

Having worked on everything from traditional Mediterranean-style homes to modern studies in glass and concrete, the architecture of the home provides the framework for the design concept. The forms and structures of the home, the use of architectural massing, and the materials used throughout are all taken into account as a part of this process. Even before a stitch of furniture, the space will be evocative with character and warmth.

Also, to be considered is the vernacular of the location, which encompasses the physical setting, natural environment, and cultural significance. A structure will remain for decades or even centuries; and should be a reflection of the surrounding climate and people. One way to achieve this goal of appropriateness to local vernacular is by incorporating locally sourced furnishings, materials and art when possible.

All of these components—the clients, the architecture and the setting come together to create a beautiful home. With all this in mind, pencil meets paper, ideas begin flowing and the creative process begins. This is my greatest joy—a natural high—to watch the design solutions that present themselves, which will enrich people’s lives.

Next, I’ll continue with part two of three focusing on the pitfalls of design and how to avoid them. Stay safe and healthy today!