Q&A WITH SONIA B DESIGN
Why and when did you set up Sonia b design?
Interior design is in my blood. I grew up in the world of construction, property and design and am inspired by my grandfather, a builder and property developer who set-up a family business in bathroom and kitchen design.
Designers can really make a difference to how people live and work. Inclusivity and accessibility are key parts of this and of upmost importance to me. I decided to be an active part of it and re-trained as an interior designer. After a year supporting other practices mainly as a freelancer, I set up Sonia b design end of 2021.
For me, design is all about understanding your client and finding the solutions to meet their needs, whether these are wellbeing, health, space, adding value, safety or making a space unique and different.
Where had you worked before deciding to set up your own business?
Before re-training and creating my interior design practice in London I pursued a career in risk management and strategy in engineering and financial services meanwhile undertaking various home refurbishment projects in France and London.
Before setting up Sonia b design, I worked with – and still do – a variety of interior designers and interior architect studios based in London and Oxford both on commercial and residential projects. I also collaborated with a project manager delivering offices design and fit out in Kings Cross.
What sectors of the market do you cover with Sonia b design?
We work on both residential and commercial projects in hospitality, events and offices.
It is really rewarding to work on such a variety of sectors whether it is by helping people with their business strategy and create a space where they can implement it or delivering someone’s vision and needs for their home.
Commercial principles can apply to residential projects and the comfort of domestic can apply to commercial. We look at ways to inject commercial and hospitality performance and designs in a home, whether it is by using commercial fabrics or in the design of a space and furniture. We recently have been asked to design a home on the lines of a members club and equally to create more homely kitchen meeting space within office environments.
Equally, we stress test ergonomics to the same level of rigour across all types of projects.
How would you describe your design style?
We do not have a design style per say. We always start with the clients’ needs, aspirations and personalities. Our priority is to deliver a design that is functional, practical, safe and comfortable. We start by looking at the shell before developing a scheme. Accessibility is very important to us. We intend to consider different needs in our designs at all times and make sure that everyone can have an enjoyable experience in commercial spaces and that a space is adapted to specific needs of a client in residential projects.
What projects are you currently working on?
We work across the UK and are currently working on several projects across London.
These include both residential and commercial projects such as offices, a multi entertainment space in North London, a four bedroom home renovation in Wandsworth and supporting Surface Design Show 2023 programme, signage and Designers Hub design.
How important is sustainability and the circular economy in your design style?
In view of the global carbon footprint impact from Architecture and Construction industry, we have a duty to approach projects with sustainability and inclusivity in mind from the beginning. This, not only includes specifying materials and working with suppliers that deliver a positive impact on the environment and people but also seeking to reuse and repurpose buildings and materials. Repurposing and reusing can be achieved at various levels, whether it is fully repurposing an existing building or repurposing and reusing materials. This is particularly important in restoration where working with period features and materials can prove challenging but when restored with care is when the magic happens. It is also about being responsible towards our community and help people in need as much as possible. For example, in one of our recent projects, we donated granite worktops to Langdon charity who provides new homes for adults with learning disabilities.
What are you favourite design trends at the moment?
There is an overarching theme that resonates with us, which is a focus on wellbeing, emotional connection to a space and between people. This translates in various forms, whether this is expressed through certain materials and colours with earthy tones, curved shapes and embracing layouts. It also materialises with the increasing need for “resimercial” where we are bringing the comfort of home in offices, increasingly bringing nature in spaces or again by layering lighting to offer changing moods. Finally, and very importantly, spaces need to provide a flexible, inclusive and uplifting environment for their inhabitants.
This is very much in line with our approach, where we always encourage our clients to focus on what is meaningful to them, make them feel comfortable in a space, rather than following trends.