In the latest instalment of our ‘Life In Design’ series, we sit down with Alexandra Kidd, principle designer at Alexandra Kidd Design studio which, for nearly 15 years has been one of Sydney’s leading interior design studio’s specialising in diverse residential and commercial interiors.
Fanuli: Tells us a little about yourself.
AK: I am a designer, teacher, proudly female, Mother, sister and purveyor of beauty.
Fanuli Where did you grow up and what path led you to study interior design?
AK: I grew up in Sydney. I was exposed to the design world from a very early age. My Mother was committed (read obsessed) with rearranging and styling the home every Saturday whilst immaculately cleaning every possible surface. I would wear her heels and jewels waving my arms around pretending I was orchestrating the whole thing.
My step mother is the doyenne of lighting in Australia and we were always at adult-only dinner parties with designers, architects, artists and generally fabulous creative people doing amazingly creative things.
At first, I wanted to be a set designer in the footsteps of a darling family friend, his advice was to study interiors because you’d always have a job. I did that and have never looked back. Every day I am thankful that I found my calling and am truly blessed to be living this creative life.
Fanuli: A typical day at work at the Alexandra Kidd Design Studio involves…
AK: The day starts in a fog of breakfast, school uniforms, forgotten homework… Followed by a few minutes of breathing and then into the studio for some peace! The day usually starts with site meetings or studio meetings to check in with the teams and plan the day/week. The kettle is always on at AKD, so a nice cup of tea and then sit down to a morning of emails and phone calls. The afternoons are usually reserved for presentations or creative time, sourcing, planning, playing with samples and fabrics. I finish the day with some meditation to brave story and bedtime.
Fanuli: You worked for other local and established interior designers before going out on your own. How important were these learnings in fostering your personal design sensibility and kick starting AKD?
AK: Yes, I worked with a couple of studios before launching AKD. This time was integral in establishing my design aesthetic and teaching me the complete design process. I worked on a number of very large hospitality projects and this was the steepest learning curve for understanding the role and place of ID within a large project team.
Fanuli: What has been one of your favourite projects you have worked on?
AK: That is too hard to answer… I am very proud of the diverse body of work that we have worked on and more importantly the relationships that we have fostered. I think every project is special for a reason. A family relocating from overseas, a couple downsizing and entering the next chapter of their lives, a family bursting at the seams, a professional creating a personal oasis, or a blossoming relationship – each of them touches us in a different way and for different reasons. I am passionate about the emotional connection between people and their space, so the stories and the characters are integral to our design process.
Fanuli: How much does Australian craftsmanship and design factor into different facets of your work?
AK:We are passionate advocates for Australian design, craftmanship and manufacture. I lived for 6 years in the US and was yearning to come home and work with artisans and artists, something I found lacking in the States.
We love locally made products and in the last few years have been thrilled to discover local suppliers of lighting, hardware and furniture. We love this story and believe it adds to the feeling and authenticity of our projects.
Fanuli: What do you love most about your job?
AK: The diversity of a day and the diversity of the people, the beauty that we are surrounded with on a daily basis. It really is a dream come true. I believe a creative life is such a luxury and I am deeply grateful.
Alexandra’s Sydney Favourites.
Your favourite Sydney neighbourhood?
Potts Point… I am blessed to live and work in this community. I love walking the streets and seeing friends and clients the sense of community and dynamism is warming.
Your favourite place for brunch?
Fratelli Paradiso is perfection. The staff, the interior, the food and the people watching.
Your favourite place for a drink?
I have a soft spot for Lotus in Potts Point many happy memories [and drinks] shared in this intimate and stylish ‘back bar’. Recently the team and I have been basking in the sun and atmosphere at Molo bar in Woolloommoloo.
Your spot to get inspired?
The beach. It is the place that allows me to think big … to clear my head and usually to problem solve. I’m also usually filled with positive energy and possibility after some time at the beach. From the sand on my feet, a fresh swim and that feeling of sun on the skin… Big creative ideas come!