After 20 years as director of interior design firm SJB, Andrew Parr reflects on a career in design and the future of the company.
May 13th, 2015
Name: Andrew Parr
Role: Director Interior Design, Melbourne
Company: SJB Interiors
How long have you been with SJB?
I joined the company straight after graduating from university – 28 years ago. For the past 20 years, I have been Director of SJB Interiors.
How does it feel to celebrate SJB Interiors reaching 20 years, both as a company and personally?
This has been a wonderful and gratifying chance to reflect on many exciting projects which SJB Interiors has been involved over the past 20 years. As we have looked back through the photographs and revisited so many beautiful designs I am reminded of the great clients, the great work and so many great people with whom we worked to bring our designs to life.
What is equally gratifying, and where I feel very fortunate, is in that I can count many long term clients as personal friends as well. I am indebted to them for their continuing support of SJB Interiors and of the faith they put – not just in me – but in my talented team as well. Their understanding of my design ethos, which has given me such diverse and challenging design projects, is such an intrinsic part of who I am as a Designer and of what my agency represents.
What has kept SJB going? What makes this firm relevant and different?
I believe it is the work itself which feeds our creative process – and keeps us relevant. SJB Interiors is continuously engaged in design projects of varying complexity. From a simple renovation to a large scale multi-residential/mixed commercial development or a simple office fit out.
We design interior spaces for apartment hotels from Copenhagen to Crown Street – and then we have the privilege of designing the interior spaces for a heritage listed, historically significant, hotel in our nation’s capital. That’s why this career is exciting. That’s why we remain relevant. It is the work, the opportunities and the results that we deliver. That’s our point of difference.
Having the chance to design and build my own homes has allowed me to experiment with form, colour and function. Being able to reinterpret the norm – to achieve something that is sophisticated and beautiful, comfortable yet contemporary – that is relevant. That is different. That has also been the best form of professional development.
SJB highlights – personal and company-wide?
There have been so many that it would be hard to list them all. Definitely opening our office in Sydney and watching SJB Interiors grow into the successful business that it is today – the exciting projects in which both offices are immersed – and the long standing relationships I have with our clientele.
What next? Do you have any exciting plans for the future?
We are currently involved in some exciting projects in Brisbane including the Howard Smith Wharves redevelopment project – which is great project to be involved in. There are some really exciting things happening up in Brisbane currently – it would be great to see SJB Interiors actively involved in their evolution. I would still love to design a holiday resort … one day definitely!
What advice do you have for aspiring architects or designers?
My advice is to look, listen and learn – and then keep looking, keep listening and keep learning.
You need time to invest in your creativity. Read lots, be informed and explore what other people are designing – not just other interior designers. What are the trends – and who is setting them.
Each space is unique and presents its own set of challenges and opportunities. The privilege is that we, as designers/architects, are given an opportunity to reinterpret those spaces – to bring to life a vision of what that space could or should be. When done successfully, we leave behind a space that others can enjoy and experience. But above all – believe in yourself and your talent.
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