The home of architecture and design in Asia-Pacific

Get the latest design news direct to your inbox!

5 Minutes With… Sophie Safrin

Meet Sophie Safrin from new Melbourne interior design studio, Hot Black

5 Minutes With… Sophie Safrin


February 27th, 2013

Your top 3 influences.

  • My Head
  • My Heart
  • My iPod


The moment you knew you wanted to be a designer.

I’m not sure I really had a moment. I applied for Interior/Exhibition Design at Swinbourne and after being told in the entry interview that I needed more diversity in my Folio I was pretty devastated!  I took the risk and left it as my first preference in my university applications and thankfully was accepted.


Favourite local landmark/building.

Australian Centre for Contemporary Art on Sturt Street in Melbourne.  The use of materials and its sculptural elements get me every time.


Favourite material.

At the moment Innofa Stretch Textiles by De-Jonge – what an amazing textile! The ability to explore and express further 3 dimensionally makes what we do worth doing.


Favourite international landmark/building.

Ron Arad’s Design Museum in Holon, Israel.  The use of materials and the feeling that the façade is continuously moving was a pretty special experience.


Biggest career moment.

They are all big – every door leads you to another!  Though, when I walked back through the doors of Swinbourne University as a lecturer rather than a student I had a moment and it didn’t entail ‘pay back time’!

Project Wise: Designing the head office for the British Olympic Association in London; where I had exposure to all of the Olympic torches.  The evolution of the torch design was amazing.  Conceptually, the project challenged the realms of interior design, [especially] where the internal architectural gestures that housed the timeline of the torches, penetrated through to the exterior of the building.


Dream project to work on (real or imaginary).

It’s coming or its parked in my mind for now but probably 12 months away.  A community-based design project involving Melbourne, Design Students and a……… lets just leave it at “watch this space”.


Dream person to collaborate with.

A tough one to answer: Felice Varini – A genius! Antonio Guadi for his mind. Ron Arad for his inspiration; I exchanged some words with him at a function in London and I loved his story and Patricia Urquiola for her [attention to] detail.


Favourite decade of design.

Definitely the 1930’s.  The height of art deco and the world’s tallest building, the Empire State in New York, amazing! There was Picasso, Duchamp and of course Dorothy and her yellow brick road.


Favourite chair.

For me I think it’s how one engages with a chair and I would have to say I get most joy from the Eames rocker.  It’s amazing how many people are lured to that chair. I’ve seen my grandmother sit in it, my nephews and when my puppy Tonic is barking at it rocking; I know she is really saying: “I want a turn!”


#1 concern for the design industry in the coming decade.

What I have noticed is there is a very fine line now between interior design and interior styling. It seems that it’s all about objects and their placement- don’t get me wrong I love objects.  I have just noticed the emphasise is no longer on the way materials meet, their detailing and the evolution of line work on a drawing into a constructed space.  It’s the objects and the relationship they have with other objects that are becoming the talking pieces now in interiors. Is it interior design or visual merchandising?


Which items in the workplace can you not live without?

‘Post It’ notes. I’m a big fan.


The most unusual/interesting thing about the way you work.

I’m a mess.  My desk is never clean!  I have ‘post-its’ everywhere! cIs it unusual or interesting? I call it organised chaos and have come to learn that I just can’t concentrate in clean environments.


Hot Black


INDESIGN is on instagram

Follow @indesignlive

The Indesign Collection

A searchable and comprehensive guide for specifying leading products and their suppliers

Indesign Our Partners

Keep up to date with the latest and greatest from our industry BFF's!

Related Stories

While you were sleeping

The internet never sleeps! Here's the stuff you might have missed