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Welcome to My Design Alley. A design blog celebrating design in many forms - from interior spaces to new products, stores and interviews with designers both local and from around the world.

A Moment With | Gillianne Griffiths

A Moment With | Gillianne Griffiths

Gillianne Griffiths began her career as a professional musician. Today she is Director at Studio Griffiths, where she works as an Interior Architect with a small team behind her. For Gillianne, the world of music and interiors share a common language, where compositions of shape, form and rhythm produce wonderful spaces. We caught up with Gilliane to find out more about her wonderful world of interiors which are full of melody, how she challenges herself and why she loves working as a designer.

Studio Griffiths_03_Photo credit Sharyn Cairns.jpg

 Hi Gillianne, how did you first get into interior architecture and design? I began my career as a professional musician and was a music Director for years but always had a huge passion for architecture and design. Through music, I had to learn all about architecture and art, and these became a driving force in my creative expression. The volumes and forms of buildings, sculptures and paintings can inspire and shape a line of music. Subsequently, design also became a great passion and I instinctively knew it would be a natural progression when I retired from musical performance.

 Albert Park apartment by  Studio Griffiths . Photo - Sharyn Cairns.

Albert Park apartment by Studio Griffiths. Photo - Sharyn Cairns.

How do you think this experience translates in your work as an interior architect? Communication, listening and feeling. Music is a form of communication and has much in common with language – the two are almost inseparable as ingredients in any musical form.

“Like music, design is a creative process that involves combining compositions of shape, form and rhythm to produce a harmonious outcome.”

There are endless possibilities in the area of design, and music is one of which I am always inspired by and something clients can relate to. By understanding and addressing the layers of the client’s brief, I can establish the framework of the project and its uniqueness. 

 Gillianne Griffiths at work in her studio. Photo - Sharyn Cairns.

Gillianne Griffiths at work in her studio. Photo - Sharyn Cairns.

As a musician, do you see similar qualities in the language of music and space? There are many qualities in the language of music that are resonant in design – for me the two disciplines go hand in hand. Composition, shapes, rhythm and form are used to create harmony in music as they are in design. Music and walking into any space draws upon our senses – it's about listening, feeling and creating a mood. This is linked to the way in which people live and build a connection to their homes to make it their own. I'm accustomed to bringing black-and-white notes to life in the same way I can envision a room.

 Albert Park apartment by  Studio Griffiths . Photo - Sharyn Cairns.

Albert Park apartment by Studio Griffiths. Photo - Sharyn Cairns.

How would you best describe your design style? My philosophy is to approach design with transparency and without constraints that limit a space to just one style. I'm renowned for my uncomplicated and considered approach to intelligent design. I love minimalist and clean design, so my spaces are restrained but extremely functional and exudes warmth. My signature and favourite colours are black, charcoal, greys, white and tonal variations, with a very muted injection of colour. In addition, neutral earthy tones layered with accents of muted colour, unique objects and textural elements are something I'm always drawn to. In a nutshell, my style is understated luxury, sophisticated, elegant, considered and effortless. 

“For me, simplicity, style and elegance are the signature of the most successful design ideas and will always remain the cornerstone of my approach to design.”
 Toorak House by  Studio Griffiths . Photo - Sharyn Cairns.

Toorak House by Studio Griffiths. Photo - Sharyn Cairns.

What do you love most about your job? What I love the most is the end result in projects - seeing my vision turn into reality is incredibly rewarding. However, building a strong relationship with clients and improving their way of living in their home are equally satisfying. I really enjoy studying people and making design decisions that reflect what they want specifically - the ability to shape a space that a person spends so much time in is very important to me. As designers we have more power than most people think - the psychological effects of the environments we spend our days in affect us - we have a duty to improve these environments for our clients in our designs even though they may not realise it. 

 Gillianne Griffiths and her team at work in her studio. Photo - Sharyn Cairns.

Gillianne Griffiths and her team at work in her studio. Photo - Sharyn Cairns.

How do you challenge yourself? Encouraging myself to take risks and to explore new territories in design that push boundaries within myself. I think it's important to push yourself out of your comfort zone and learn new skills that complements your projects and help to create unique spaces and design. I’m constantly trying to expose myself to new areas of design that I might never have considered before.

At the moment, what is your favourite material you love to use in your designs? Wood, concrete and terrazzo. I'm particularly drawn to natural materials such as stone and wood - they work so melodiously together! Using natural elements makes us feel calm, grounded and, above all, relaxed and connected with our surroundings. I also have a great focus toward sustainability and the structural integrity of a building or interior. Therefore, my selections of materials will always gravitate to timelessness, sustainability and practicality.

 Toorak House by  Studio Griffiths . Photo - Sharyn Cairns.

Toorak House by Studio Griffiths. Photo - Sharyn Cairns.

What are you most passionate about? First and foremost my husband and family - they are my greatest supporters, and encouragers in everything I pursue. I am a huge advocator in work-life balance. Travelling - as an avid traveller, I get most inspired by the sights and sounds of the unfamiliar. I have a real passion for Europe and the historical influences and references that prevail in European design. Skiing is another huge passion and it’s my affinity with the glorious skiing landscape, colours, natural elements and ski lodges that you will see mostly emerge through my designs. 

“For me personally, meaningful spaces are born out of the layers, juxtapositions and common threads that inspire a design.”

 I'm also very passionate and inspired by fine art, music, film, photography, fashion and fabrics. As a professional musician, I absolutely couldn’t live without the inner quiet and relaxation that music brings. Beautiful music and a good glass of red wine, is my idea of heaven! 

 The moody kitchen in Toorak House designed by  Studio Griffiths . Photo - Sharyn Cairns.

The moody kitchen in Toorak House designed by Studio Griffiths. Photo - Sharyn Cairns.

Your favourite piece of furniture? There are so many pieces I love. However, the Ploum Love Seat by Ligne Roset is a stand-out for me. It's super comfortable, compact and I love the low-rise as it’s perfect for smaller living spaces. It also has the most incredible stretchy quilted fabric and flexible foam that moulds to your body. It has a wonderful visual aspect and the shape and form is divinely curvaceous. It's shaped almost like a croissant and I think it's this form which makes it so special.

 A corner in Toorak House designed by  Studio Griffiths . Photo - Sharyn Cairns.

A corner in Toorak House designed by Studio Griffiths. Photo - Sharyn Cairns.

What are you looking forward to in 2018? To create some wonderful projects and spend more quality time with my family. I would also like to see more equality in gender and in general, but mostly to try and make a difference wherever I can and to be kind.


FULL STOP


I usually wake up at: 6am.

My perfect day would involve: A run before work and a walk after work to clear the head.

I am inspired by: Vincent Van Duysen and Rosanna Orlandi.

Best advice I’ve ever received: Mistakes are a great source of learning as long as you learn from them.

I couldn’t live without: I hate to say it, but my mobile phone! It’s my connection to everything I love – work, family, friends – the whole world really!

My favourite daily ritual: A large Chai Latte.

I recently discovered: Clay Canoe Ceramics – totally amazing!

On my wish-list: Latest Saint Laurent Handbag.

I’m currently reading: Brave by Rose McGowan – powerful and profound.

And listening to: J.J. Cale.

My guilty pleasure: Haigh’s dark chocolate.

My mantra is: I am exactly where I need to be.


Thank you Gillianne! | Studio Griffiths | @studiogriffiths


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