As many have endured over a year surrounded by the same four walls, the work of the London-Berlin-based interior designer Amy Brandhorst has never been more vital.
After beginning her career as one half of the design service Topology Interiors, Brandhorst has gone on establish herself as an interior designer in demand, with recent collaborations including Habitat UK and Adidas Germany.
As well as garnering experience to develop a signature aesthetic, the work of an interior designer extends further than perfecting the feng shui, understanding the importance of environmental responsibility has become increasingly relevant in recent years. On the path to a prolific career, Aware stole a few minutes with the interior designer to learn about her journey thus far and how to transform interior spaces with the planet in mind.
Amy, how did you initially become interested in interior design?
When I was growing up, I moved house multiple times, which apparently is really common for interior designers. My parents would find horribly decorated houses and turn them around into our family homes. It was never anything fancy but it was always so fun to see how the spaces transformed. I love architecture, furniture and painting, so interior design seemed like a natural direction for me career wise.
Could you tell us about your career journey thus far? Which particular milestones stand out to you?
I started off working for a Berlin-based real estate company doing Business Development and later running their interior design service, then I moved on to co-founding a London-based Interior design service Topology Interiors, after which I established my own interior design business in Berlin. At the end of last year, I accepted the position as Head of Design at Homewings, which has been such an experience thus far. The milestones that stick out for me are launching and managing the interior design service at the real estate company, designing a space in Habitat UK’s flagship London store on Tottenham Court Road, designing for Adidas Germany and now the hotel project I am currently working on in Canary Wharf.
Do you feel your role as an interior designer has changed due to the pandemic?
To be honest, not so much. I’m still designing for B2B clients – so hotels, front of house spaces, build to rent blocks and short stay apartments. However, the pandemic has really affected the supply chain of raw materials and the cost and feasibility of transport, which has had a huge impact on what furniture is available for my projects.
The term sustainability is thrown about with abandon nowadays but have you noticed a shift in attitude from the industry in recent years?
Yes, professionals in the interiors industry are generally more conscious about what furniture is made from and from where it is sourced. There’s an increasing dislike for ‘fast furniture’, although this is definitely a luxury – ’sustainable’ furniture usually comes at a cost. There are two types of consciousness in the industry though – there are furniture brands who produce furniture from a small percentage of a recycled material, which doesn’t have a huge impact. Then there are brands who are dedicated to reducing their carbon footprint and who work exclusively with ethically certified manufactures. Being sustainable isn’t easy but I see the industry taking steps in the right direction.
How do you incorporate environmental consciousness into your practice?
When we take on a project at Homewings, we encourage our clients to donate the existing furniture in the building to prevent it from going to a landfill site. We also try to work with furniture suppliers that are based in the country where the project is, so it doesn’t have to travel so far. Then working with local tradespeople and using sustainable fabrics.
How can Aware readers brighten up their spaces with the planet in mind?
Try to upscale an item of furniture instead of getting rid of it. If you are buying new furniture, find brands who use natural fabrics or recycled materials, or buy second hand! Buying second hand is one of the best / easiest ways to reduce your impact on consumption.
Could you tell us 1 do & 1 don’t when it comes to interior design…
Do: place some personal and sentimental objects around your space – I find that many people are too focused on creating an interior ‘look’ that they forget to include objects they actually like.
Don’t: have a lot of clutter. It’s proven to have a negative effect on your mood!
Sustainable interior/furniture brands we should know about?
by Eliza Edwards