A professional resource for the design curious

Get the latest design news direct to your inbox!

5 Minutes With… Susan Standring

With over 20 years of experience in commercial interior design, Susan Standring has worked on projects in Singapore, South Korea, China and across Australia. Currently a Senior Associate at HASSELL, her recent portfolio includes major hospitality venues such as Esquire Restaurant in Brisbane, the Parkroyal Darling Harbour in Sydney and the Ovolo Hotel Melbourne. Standring took 5 Minutes to share her design inspirations with Indesignlive.

5 Minutes With… Susan Standring


May 15th, 2012

Describe your design philosophy.

My intuitive response when creating design solutions is to be ’thoughtful ’ – I try to engage both the user, the observer and those who assist in constructing.

My aesthetic design appeal is contemporary with an eclectic infusion to address a sense of place or cultural context. Humanism through attention to detail and tactile qualities somehow always becomes evident in my work.

Name your top 3 influences.

There is a quote from Albert Einstein that I love: “Look deep into nature and you will understand everything better”. This quote reminds me that it is important to stop and take a breath, especially when the pressures of a project become daunting. Nature calms me.

I also find great inspiration and learning in travel. Without it I think I would wither! It broadens my perception and appreciation of the world on many levels – emotional, behavioural and physical.

Curiosity is another thing that drives my passion, making me want to continually enquire, explore, evaluate and learn. Admittedly, when work programs become hectic, my curiosity drops and I fight the demon of going into auto-drive. This mode of behaviour can only go on for so long, as it’s not fulfilling.

The moment you knew you wanted to be a designer.

I think everyone always has the question of “am I doing the right thing?” lurking in the back of their minds. However, the beginning of my professional career was extremely rewarding, as the exposure and level of responsibility exceeded my skills.

My first design project combined design intellect, communication skills and the need to be attentive during the physical manifestation of ’a thought’, and it was during this time that I realised design was really the area I wanted to work in.

I felt a deep sense of ’contribution’ to the experience of other people.

Favourite local landmark/building.

My home! It’s a pure and authentic expression of myself. It’s a place where I have surrounded myself with my favourite objects, and a place I can share with friends and family. It’s a place that rejuvenates me.

The Heidi Gallery is another place that resonates with me, as it is a humble building that showcases the energy of what happens when a structure is re-lifed. Once a private home, it is now a public shared art gallery that homogenously integrates the interior and exterior.

Favourite international landmark/building.

Sagrada Familia by Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona. Why? The combination of scale, intense imagination and creativity, exquisite detailing with delicacy in form and playfulness in design elements.

Similarly, the rooftop of Casa Batilo, also by Gaudi, is another favourite. How did such a visionary who conceived such magnificent ideas have such a sad end?

Dream project to work on (real or imaginary).

I would love to work with a client/friend on realising a health resort in an exotic tropical location.

It would be a dream to work on preserving the natural surroundings and integrate all my favourite features into this design response – from the base building to all aspects of the resort’s interior and operations, right down to the flush button on the toilet!

Of course, such a project would entail travelling the world to undertake a research tour of current benchmark projects and trekking to remote parts of the globe in search of fittings and accessories. I would also love to become a reviewer of ’unique’ hotels and resorts around the world.

Dream person to collaborate with.

My partner – on the basis that he has indicated he would never want to work with me in order to preserve our relationship. I wonder what he means by that?!

Favourite decade of design.

The mid-1950s to the mid-1960s. The design style, fashion and music of the era really resonates with me. It was an exciting time, full of challenging new ideas. I particularly like Arne Jacobsen for his diversity of design application in architecture, furniture, silverware, door hardware and tableware.

Some examples include his cutlery which was showcased in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey and the suite of chairs that were designed in collaboration with Fritz Hansen.

The shining example from this collection is the Swan Chair that has been used decade after decade ever since because of its timeless complementing aesthetic.


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