Interior design is an evolving industry. It takes a special kind of talent, passion and expertise to marry client demands and deadlines with industry resources and creative direction. For our newest graduate interior designer Georgia Hunt, it’s all just part of the challenge.
Originally from Albany, Georgia was 17 when she made the move to Perth. Graduating from Curtin University with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Interior Architecture, Georgia has been working with us since April 2017.
Interior Design’s New Talent
A recent Curtin University graduate, Georgia has always had a passion for art. Drawn to the conceptual and artistic elements of interior design, Georgia utilised her unique style of art to express her ideas – and it worked.
‘I knew I wanted to do something creative. Once I started getting into it I never really considered going down any other path.’
Throughout her interior design studies, Georgia has developed creatively and professionally into a talented interior designer with fresh ideas and an innovative point of view. As part of the SPH interior design team, and as part of one of Perth’s premier architectural and design firms, Georgia is excited to further her career under the supervision of leading industry experts.
Finding Professional Opportunities
For new interior designers in Perth, finding graduate opportunities can be a struggle. Due to the competitiveness of interior designer positions, Georgia points out that students are exposed to a variety of creative paths within the field of interior design throughout their studies.
In order to put theory into practice, students are encouraged to reach out to firms and employers for opportunities of internships or unpaid work experience.
‘The circumstances are especially competitive in Perth at the moment – half of my friends moved to Melbourne as soon as they graduated due to post grad job opportunities.’
Contemporary Ideas and Confidence
During her Honours year of study, Georgia chose to focus her thesis on the manifestation of non-binary gender identity in interior architecture.
‘I started off wanting to write about designing for different genders and sexualities, then it snowballed into the gender Z and gender non-binary movement that’s happening on social media at the moment.’
Inspired by the modern movement of non-binary gender identity, she explored how interior architecture could mirror these changes within socially expected gender constructs. Georgia’s thesis was well received by her tutors and peers, resulting in it being used as a promotional tool encouraging prospective students to complete Honours studies.
‘I was asked to present my thesis on a number of occasions because the tutors started to notice that I was a bit more involved than other people.’
She also spoke about her thesis to university creative directors at the Interior Design Educators Association (IDEA) conference.
‘Curtin asked me to present my thesis to set the bar and to show what Curtin has happening in terms of contemporary idea makers!’
‘They were happy to give me these references as a result of my commitment to my Honours project, ability to speak about it to the public and my general involvement with the university.’
For current students looking to gain a competitive edge, Georgia explains that speaking up during studies and getting noticed by creating quality work can lead to professional opportunities within the university and in the field of interior design.
Do You Need a University Degree to be Successful in Architecture and Design?
For those interested in entering the field, Georgia explains that a university degree isn’t always necessary.
‘I think Tafe courses are really great for practical applications and their students come out of their education a bit more ‘work-ready’ than university students. One of our Directors went to Tafe – and he is obviously a very successful interior designer!’
On Curtin University’s courses, Georgia explains that interior design studies teaches you how to think as a conceptual designer – something that creative people don’t automatically do.
‘There’s a lot of learning content, discipline and training your mind to make connections that you might not otherwise consider without experience in the field.’
The Importance of Work Experience in Interior Design and Architecture
When it comes to being successful and respected in the field of interior design, Georgia emphasises the importance of asking questions and offering to sacrifice some time in the form of work experience.
‘There are so many more benefits to learning from real life experience first than just having your sights set on a full-time contract position.’
While at university, Georgia was able to gain valuable industry experience with a family friend who happened to be a designer.
‘It was a really great introduction to the industry and a foot in the door early in my career.’
Georgia acknowledges that unpaid work experience can be intimidating. While most students need to be in paid work in order to cover living expenses, finding the time to complete some unpaid work experience in the field can be a rewarding investment.
‘Being a creative is a bit of a luxury because we get to do something that’s fulfilling and interesting all day every day. So, if you put in the work and the time, then doors will open for you.’
Before landing a graduate position at SPH architecture + interiors, Georgia completed two months of part time work experience where she was able to demonstrate her skills and passion for the industry.
Breaking the Stigma of Unpaid Work
When it comes to unpaid work experience or internships within the interior design and architecture industry, Georgia shuts down claims that graduates will do ‘anything to get ahead.’ Speaking from experience, Georgia says that the exploitative perception of unpaid work is inaccurate.
‘I’ve never been asked by an employer, but I have always offered – and it doesn’t have to be much!’
Not exclusive to interior design, unpaid internships and work experience are a common practice across industries.
‘Everybody I know at university did part time unpaid internships and didn’t really have a problem with it.’
Georgia explains that while university studies are incredibly valuable, they can sometimes be theory-heavy. Coursework can have limited opportunity for practical application, making work experience a great way to put theory into practice.
‘At the end of the day the amount of knowledge we have coming out of university isn’t enough to be thrown into the field as a designer.’
While unpaid internships and work experience can be a great asset, Georgia emphasises the importance of graduates standing up for themselves if they feel taken advantage of by an employer.
The Evolution of Interior Design
In regards to the changing landscape of interior design, Georgia is quick to discredit claims that the industry is slowing down. With suppliers at capacity, Perth’s interior designers enjoy a steady flow of work.
‘Ever since I got here there’s never been a time where the landscape’s looking dull.’
As part of one of Perth’s leading interior design companies, Georgia joins SPH architecture + interiors at an exciting time.
‘I know aged care is definitely changing as it’s becoming privatised, which is something that SPH is at the foreground of.’
When it comes to industry trends, Georgia points out that it’s not always about conforming. Encouraged to attend after work events and keep up with design market developments, interior designers and creatives at SPH architecture + interiors are inspired to share new ideas and concepts with the team.
‘My mentors here at SPH are really knowledgeable and up to date – they’ve been teaching me so much.’
Although Georgia is still fairly new to the field, it’s clear that the profession of interior design is changing. With the emergence of new products and innovative ideas in the built environment, interior designers are challenged to stay at the forefront of practicality, functionality and aesthetic appeal.
‘There’s so many amazing products out there – it’d be hard for it not to change. It’s definitely worth making the time to listen to the new stuff coming on the market.’
In addition to finding inspiration in supplier products and industry developments, Georgia turns to the power of social media for new concepts and ideas.
‘Having good social media content really helps – it’s definitely one of my biggest influencers.’
A Promising Future for an Innovative Perth Interior Designer
Georgia is grateful for the opportunity to work with one of Perth’s leading architecture and interior design companies, recognising and valuing SPH architecture + interiors’ investment in her career.
As a new graduate with fresh and contemporary ideas to contribute, Georgia offers a unique perspective on design while also gaining invaluable industry experience and knowledge. You’ll find Georgia working on a number of emerging projects throughout Perth alongside the experienced interior designers at SPH architecture + interiors.
We at SPH are always interested in talking to up and coming interior designers and architectures, don’t hesitate to get in touch.