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We have recently interviewed Emma Franceschina, one of the talented young designers in her last year at Georgia Southern University and now a brand ambassador of ours. Emma was on the winning team of a sustainable house design project led by Professor Angelita Scott.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I am currently based in the States, Maryland and I am studying at Southern Georgia University.
I will be going into Studio 4 and will graduate in May this year. There are 5 Studios in total and the program lasts 3 years. We have semesters, which have to be sequential with no opportunity to fast track.
I went to community college where I took an architectural drafting course and then I took a gap year to travel. I am into traveling, I find it inspiring, and just came back from Paris. I also love learning about coffee, and languages and I am hoping to be multilingual one day. I speak French and English currently.
What made you pursue a career in interior design? And what are you doing now?
I have always been into architecture. I am very creative, but also mathematical, so design and architecture seemed like a natural blend of merging disciplines. Interior design is a balance between math and science and getting to create something physical that you can then enter and interact with is the coolest thing.
What is the difference between architecture and design?
- Architecture is more on the exterior side, but it echoes the interior design for sure. Lately, there is a big move toward changing the term ‘interior design’ to ‘interior architecture as it often gets confused with interior decoration. Nevertheless, both are equally important and designers and architects work in tandem as they do need each other.
When were you first introduced to Natufia?
My first encounter with Natufia was in my class for the sustainability project introduced by Professor Angelita Scott.
What is it about Natufia that inspired you?
Our whole program is very focused on sustainability, each studio promotes using sustainable efforts when we are designing, whatever it is. This project in particular was inspiring because we were introduced to Natufia. Discovering that there is this whole world of forwarding design that encourages new inventions for sustainability and that a bigger thing can be designed is very exciting. And how could you not use Natufia when it is just perfect for such types of projects?
I thought Natufia Smart Garden was an amazing product and looked very sleek. It could also be integrated into kitchen design easily. It was just like Nespresso for fresh plants, representing the clean eating farm-to-table concept which is very important for wellbeing these days and which was the idea behind our project. The design of the Natufia Smart Garden looked perfect for modern-styled kitchens which also appealed to me.
Talk us through your design for the class with Professor Angelita.
We were briefed to design a sustainable home for a sustainability-oriented family that focused on all-around wellbeing. I was specifically involved in the kitchen design with other teammates Regan Hiser, Sarah Hendrixson, and Domariz Mendoza.
The design process was aimed to be a simple design with the kitchen being the true heart of the home. The kitchen is a hub, the main place in the house so everything is built around it and with this in mind. We aimed to give it a very clean and neat look design-wise. I personally had a lot of inspiration drawn from the agriculture, food industry, and also sustainability gardening. Then I picked the color palette and started to design in Revit and CAD.
Each person from my team presented their own interpretation of the concepts.
Is sustainability generally part of your focus in interior design?
Sustainability goes down to the core of every single project. I always aspire to incorporate sustainability into all of my designs whether it’s the products or specific materials.
When you plan ahead and think of the product life cycle and when and how it will be discarded, then it defines the marker of how sustainable the project is going to be. For example, some things will release microplastic when burned. That way you can look at every little thing in the environment through the sustainability prism and everything would have the sustainability marker on it. So the approach to take is to do your best to create as little damage to the environment as possible.
What’s your favorite part of a house/place to design?
It varies from project to project. You find fun in things you naturally gravitate towards, it really depends on your inner preferences and what you as a person would resonate with. For example:
In the aforementioned project, I loved doing the kitchen. Sometimes it would be a living room.
When I did another university project in restaurant design – the bar was my favorite part.
Generally, you want to broaden your experience as you are still learning. Changing things up, always create good challenges for yourself, be open-minded to then ultimately find your voice and style – this really speaks to me.
Who’s your favorite interior designer? And what do you like most about their work?
There are so many. I love Brigette Romanek, the interior designer in LA – very adventurous in her design. She does residential designs, very colorful, full of exciting patterns, that have really cool art as well.
Jean Nouvel, a French architect, and his grand architectural designs.
Zaha Hadid, of course – is just an amazing, innovative, and fearless designer.
I like that they don’t limit themselves, and every design is unique and recognizable.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I draw inspiration from nature: colors and textures. Nature never gets it wrong. When I specifically feel in a rut, I just go for a walk. Nature is so harmonious. It always sparks ideas.
How do you envision the kitchen of the future?
I think the next step in sustainability is that people are getting on board with the idea that we need to start living mindfully and incorporate this way of living into every facet of our lives – be it the sustainable home design or clean eating. With an ever-increasing population, there is no way farmers would be able to keep up with us. It also is the trust in knowing exactly what goes into your food and where it comes from. I definitely like the idea that you are able to grow and harvest your own food right there in your kitchen. Appliances like Natufia automatically elevate the sustainability marker of any design project per se.
I see kitchens becoming more sustainable, more fresh produce focused, and packed with technology – Natufia fully sustains this idea.
What’s your vision for sustainability in interior design in the next 5-10 years?
Sustainability in interior design has been one of the top 3 considerations before starting to design a space for a while now. Interior designers really understand the importance of the hand we have in sustainable design and in general. We are deciding at the very base which materials people will use in the long run and know that there is a chain reaction down the line to be. Sustainability will be at the core of all designs.
How does the new generation perceive living spaces now and in the future?
People are realizing that they need to pay more attention to the place they’re living in
Biophilic design is a major part of it because people need to be surrounded by natural light, plants/nature, fresh air, and clean water. I think the next-gen will be more caring and mindful of the surroundings they live in.
TIPS for those who would like to start a career in interior design
What tips do you have for students starting their career in interior design?
- Be prepared: it’s going to be a lot harder than you think
- Learn the core values and processes of interior design
- Don’t hold yourself back!
- Find what inspires you