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Design Flex with Foolscap Studio’s Jess Humpston

We chat with the Saturday Indesign 2019 Ambassador Jess Humpston about working between different scales, and a craft-driven approach to design.

Design Flex with Foolscap Studio’s Jess Humpston

“I took about a year off travelling last year, it was great. I did so many different things and just had heaps of time to think and figure out my next move,” says interior designer Jess Humpston. And that next move landed her at Melbourne’s Foolscap Studio. As a studio that is always experimenting and creating some of the hottest hospitality fit-outs, Jess has been able to grow and develop her design talent. And serendipitously, it also helped that Foolscap’s founder Adele Winteridge also studied interior architecture at Curtin University in Perth.

Traversing mediums and scales

Before diving into interior design Jess studied fashion design where she had her “own little label for while”. Quickly though she discovered it wasn’t quite the right fit. “I wanted to do furniture design and then I think I was wandering around the university and I came across interior architecture. It just felt like this really good melding of micro-scale human interaction, which I liked about fashion and the larger scale where you could control the environment and the furniture. It just seemed like it was good kind of layering and levelling out everything that I really liked about design,” shares Jess.

“Right now I’m working on some furniture pieces.” – Jess Humpston

As many interior designers can attest, a large amount of the job requires computer work – whether drafting or compiling an FF&E. As a countermeasure to this, Jess is constantly exploring through hobbies, crafts and the simple act of making. A maker as much as a designer, she is not afraid to let her creativity fly through other mediums. “I love to just work with my hands and actually see something through from conception to design and to making,” she says, adding, “right now I’m working on some furniture pieces. I don’t have a lot of time to work on it, but every weekend I just keep chipping away at something.”

Jess cites Faye Toogood's experimentation with materiality as a source of inspiration.

Jess cites Faye Toogood’s experimentation with materiality as a source of inspiration.

The makings of a good designer

Bouncing from micro to macro scales is what makes a well-rounded designer in Jess’ eyes. These diverging scales are “what makes the difference between architecture and then the interior. I think a good designer is someone who thinks about the big picture but can skim all the way down to consider the small details,” she says. Elaborating that a good designer is someone that can “take a step back and consider a point of view rather than an aesthetic. It’s about being a flexible thinker”.

How would Jess like to progress in her career and develop as a designer? She shares, “I think being more hands-on and having experimentation would be amazing, and an in-depth study on materiality and inspiration. I think that’s my happy place and I would really love to have integration.”

“I think a good designer is someone who thinks about the big picture but can skim all the way down to consider the small details.” – Jess Humpston

Saturday Indesign is all about bringing the design community together and learning about design in the most engaging way possible. Part of that entails installations, exhibits and talks. As a Saturday Indesign ambassador, Jess is advising on topics for panel talks, which will be announced shortly.

“As large as Melbourne is, it’s such a small community.” So get involved and register for Saturday Indesign, happening 22 June.


We also worked with Jess to develop the Craft Thinking talk, take a look and book your spot now.

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