In terms of style, Kristina believes strongly that this is something that should remain almost indefinable. An interior designer’s mission is not to directly impose their sense of aesthetic but to holistically assess the space and its environment on its own terms before seeing how and where is appropriate to overlay a space with the designer’s eye and own personality. To see how a space lives and breathes, and how the finest qualities of that space can be emphasised, this is the challenge that must be overcome to make the space naturally and effortlessly workable. To, therefore, discover what works for it.
This entails a consideration of the space in terms of its purpose, the emotions of its occupants, and how it relates to the surrounding natural factors that shape it. What does the space intuitively feel like? Sun or shade, water, and wind, how do these elements inform the specification of materials and textures to blend the space with its milieu and deliver the sentiment that it simply feels right?
Kristina combines multiple professional viewpoints to inform her design conclusions. As a certified interior designer, a commercially successful artist, a talented fashion designer, and writer, she works in the spaces between the architects, the developers, the designers, owners, and occupants. In this functionally connective role, Kristina develops a nuanced approach to understand the energy of a place, to release and uplift it, and to ultimately inspire those who live, work, or play within it.
Once a space has been assessed for its natural characteristics and the elements that will work right for you, Kristina uses her practiced, confident eye to overlay this with a firm design direction that is always edgy, breathtaking, and that elegantly ties together interior thematic direction with supplementary relevant themes of travel, food, or fashion.
A Sense of Place
Such challenges inform Kristina’s initial approach to a new space, and how to consider it for further design direction. They form a holistic view that combines the qualities of the space itself with the stated occupant intention. Much as how people have greatly evolved in recent years in their attitudes toward consciously seeking improved bodily inputs for health reasons, organic foods and considered purchase choices based on sustainability, and doing less harm to the ecosystem, they are also finding that they have been missing a certain sense of connectivity with their immediate surroundings.
It may seem more obvious that you might consider making changes to your home, improving the place which you rest and recharge, and making a home more…well…liveable. The fact is that workspaces are also somewhere we spend a great deal of our lives. Until recently, they have primarily been designed as functional locations to control and focus the activities of a group of people in one place.
How things have changed.
Improvements in the way we use technology have meant that more of us can opt to define exactly how we tend to do our best work, and what that means in terms of defining the spaces around us.
It is in a company’s fundamental interest to allow employees to feel a sense of comfort and ownership for their workspace. After all, this comfort leads to sentiments of confidence and respect, and that the company values the diverse talents and abilities of each employee. Creating a sense of belonging through considered environmental design allows people to thrive in their workplace, and to possibly even recharge while working and take that energy into their home or recreational lives.
Kristina’s design seeks to develop this connection between the energy or spirit of a place with that of its occupants.
This sense of an energetic tie that binds us to a space is critical. Imagine for some reason not feeling connected to your home. It would put you in a perpetual state of being untethered, it would deny your sense of refuge and ultimate respite. When you do feel connected, your home enfolds and comforts you, so that when you walk through your door you can immediately feel a sense of both protection and release.
As such, in the workplace, Kristina focusses on bringing spiritual elements into play that enhance the ability of that particular environment’s energy to flow in an unobstructed, enriching manner. Liberating the energy of a place allows its occupants to tap into it, participating in the currents and adding to it with their own energetic input as it affects them. The initial method of energy liberation is achieved through Kristina’s knowledge of feng shui, sensing where the currents lie and whether they are impeded or able to flow in the space. Either considerable or subtle modifications to the interior design will unblock flows and harmonise the energy pathways, allowing a space to regain a sense of self. This may be interpreted as a sense of place by some occupants, the intuition again that you understand it feels balanced and right.
It feels as it should.
We may easily understand this quest in a residential environment since relatively few occupants will imprint the space, but with stronger long-term energy. In commercial environments, this can pose an even more challenging obstacle since there is a more likely state of constant interruption and change as people come and go, employees depart, and new team members arrive to bring their own individual energy to the shared space.
Equally, retail spaces face the challenge of fostering a sense of immediate and short-term belonging in customers. How to engage and capture attention? How to generate a sense of curiosity? How to instantly make a customer know that they are free to linger and explore at their own pace?
Because of this spatial uncertainty, it is even more apparent why we need to adequately consider and plan for healthy workplace energy. Like a strong river current over which many different boats plot paths and work the waters, a workspace needs to be flowing in an understandable direction that the occupants, much like those of the boats, can easily discern. This creates a grounded base flow upon which the occupants can prosper and grow.
So, how does Kristina functionally create balanced, beneficial energy in a space?
Kristina incorporates diverse design elements in both residential, commercial, and recreational spaces that further engage the energy flow to amplify and enrich the space for occupant use. For example, her signature method is to develop personalised poetry for each specific client and paint this across vertical features. Taking corporate slogans or branded features beyond just the company mission statement can instead charge a workspace with more meaningful purpose. It humanises and personalises, providing occupants with constantly interactive moments of pause and reflection that intermittently distance them from problems or difficulties, allowing solutions to materialise independently, or comfort levels in consumers to be reached faster within retail spaces.
Art is also a powerful visual method with which to unlock energies. When we stop to consider artwork, we disassociate ourselves from our short-term concerns and expand our long-term internal horizons. We consider not just the whats and the whens of our hectic schedules, but the hows and whys of creative endeavour. A beautiful piece of crystal pours forth energy, or a certain painting mesmerises us.
Art takes us out of ourselves.
Kristina’s artistic talent allows bespoke pieces to be developed for specific interior projects, or for more generalised thematic directions to be implemented via art purchase guidance. Whether in the home, the office, or a restaurant, Kristina is able to develop an art strategy that generates an intended emotional response, whether it be relaxation, reflection, or inspiration.
Working with sound, Kristina is able to interweave music and tone that resonates with the energy of the place. Many public spaces, offices, and retail structures give too little consideration to how we react to sound, and opening up aural horizons to the possibility of engaging people’s behaviour needs to flow way beyond simply playing music. If a sound strategy only considers the need to ‘shop more’, ‘work harder’, or ‘chill out’, then it may also neglect to consider the energy of place first.
Kristina works to build upon her fundamental understanding of spatial energy to develop sound and music that fit the space, lending a subtlety that flows to create an intended atmosphere and ambience. Sometimes this requires less, sometimes more, but the results will always be crafted to ensure that an interior environment’s soundscape is a functional element of the overall design strategy.
Touch is perhaps the most obvious form of interaction with place. We reach out to find understanding via surfaces, textures, and temperatures. We are warmed and comforted, or cooled and sharpened. The instinctive smoothness of polished wood, the resistant challenge of coarser linen, or the calming control of a stainless steel counter. All such interactions stimulate specific sensory reactions, and Kristina’s artistic experience combined with a sense of energy in the space means that she can select an appropriate palette of tactile reaction that works to define the responses you are looking to achieve.
Comfort and pause in retail spaces, sublime surrender at home, form and functionality in a hygienic workspace, or progressive flow at the office. These are all aspects of occupant interaction with the environment that Kristina ties into the specific energy of a space by her selection of materials that give moments of touch and physical connection meaning.
In all of these sensory interplays with space, Kristina incorporates natural elements as much as possible to expand upon the existing natural energy in that space. Interior planting and floral arrangements provide visual and tactile stimulation, not to mention direct health and hygiene benefits. Plants, in particular, can be selected for their ability to grow and thrive within the space, developing their energy that contributes to the whole.
Equally, inspiration from nature can be found in animal patterns, prints, or furs, and the emotions they elicit among occupants. Kristina considers all these aspects holistically to derive designs that produce exquisite results by tapping into the natural magic that flows around and through spaces. This is her definition of what it means to follow a spiritual pathway in terms of design direction. Encapsulating the essence of place by defining the natural ebbs and flows, and the opportunities that lie within those flows for the insertion of natural elements that emphasise them, keying into the energy already existing in the local environment.