Lorena Gaxiola is a Sydney-based interior designer with international experience.
Born in Mexico, Gaxiola set up her business - Kuatro Design - in San Diego - and has worked on projects in the U.S, Asia and China.
She first landed on Australian soil and 2010 and is currently working on her own range of homewares.
Architecture & Design spoke to her about the influence of Mexico on her designs, why colour should be more utilised and why designers sometimes need to say no.
What are your design principles and approaches and why?
My approach is usually about analysing the scale and proportion of a space. I also like to give the space its own unique personality. It’s important to give the environment not only beautiful pieces but to allow for the products to also have a presence and a story to tell.
Often people think of placing small furniture in small rooms or to paint with light colours, but if the character of the person living in the space is full of life, I rather mimic that with colour or big scale pieces that represent the owner’s personality.
What impact has growing up in Mexico had on your design?
I’m fearless when it comes to colour. Growing up in a country full of personality and character can do that to you.
Has having a child had any impact on your design approach?
Absolutely. The birth of my daughter Demi gave me an enormous amount of creativity. I feel very creative and I’m much more open to new things.
Can you tell A&D about your work in China?
I have been doing work in China now for five years. The Chinese market is thirsty for fun, colourful and a western style of interiors; they have traditional values but are very open to new ideas. When Chinese developers visit the US to source design firms, they are not just looking for creative designers but are also looking to work with designers that can understand the Chinese business environment. Setting myself in Sydney allowed me to manage the workload.
What do you think of Australian design and our approach to interior design?
I come from working in the US where more is better and that is not necessarily always the case or the right approach. Australian designs are cleaner and less cluttered, but at the same time interiors feel a little muted. I love how the minimalist look is often contrasted by beautiful architectural appeal. What Australia is missing is variety in product - I believe that if we had more to choose from, our interiors would have more character. I’d like to see more colour and textures to spice things up a bit.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
It’s okay to say no. We are in a service industry and we always want to please our clients but sometimes it’s necessary to say no. It’s important to establish limits.
What material would be your dream piece of material to work with?
Glass. I love the translucency of it, it’s very quiet and timid yet powerful and elegant.