Q&A with Simone Suss of Studio Suss
Studio Suss was founded by Simone Suss, and works with a diverse range of clients for retail & commercial clients as well as private & residential projects. Their signature style is fresh & contemporary, yet timeless, and can be found in projects throughout the capital. They were recently shortlisted for the Andrew Martin International Designer of The Year Award 2017.
Studio Suss were selected to design one of the bedrooms for Holiday House, an interior design showcase that took place for the first time in London from November to December 2017. Their stunning teenage bedroom was a stand out feature of the house and was much featured across social & traditional media.
They have been asked to design an entrance for Decorex, taking place at Syon House, 16th – 19th September. Simone Suss will also be taking part in the seminar ‘Bespoke: how to guarantee original design for every project’ on Monday 17th September.
Studio Suss works with a variety of Chelsea Design Quarter members and we are delighted to welcome Simone as the next designer in our Top 5 Picks series.
Simone, thank you for taking the time to talk with us. Firstly – tell us a little about your background and how you came to interior design?
I studied International Management with American Business Studies at Manchester University and in the USA. While studying I promoted the Hacienda nightclub and always loved the graphics of the flyers and posters.
During my early career I worked with blue chip brands across print publishing and the internet. I then moved into interactive TV where I managed international distribution for a games channel followed by an interactive gaming department at Sky.
Whilst on maternity leave I retrained as an interior designer and completed courses at several schools including Inchbald. I loved applying design to the brief of different spaces so started Studio Suss after designing and building my own home.
I am a member of the British Fashion Council Fashion Trust, and a Patron of The Royal Academy of the Arts. In addition to fashion and art, I have always been inspired by geography, nature, travel and music.
Are there any stand out projects you are especially proud to have in your portfolio?
We absolutely loved collaborating with Sophia Webster on her flagship store in Mount Street, Mayfair. It was great to work together to create a unique retail space that translated her signature brand codes into a bricks and mortar reality.
Are there any interior design projects that you would either love to have done, or would like to do?
I’d love to work on more tourism projects as I get excited about bringing out the local narrative and making each design unique to the area. We’re about to start working on a hotel on the South Coast and I can’t wait to work with local artisans on some unique pieces. I’d also love to work more internationally as I love to travel; particularly New York or anywhere near a beach!
You work on a mixture of commercial and residential projects – is it a very different way of working & do you have a preference between the two?
With commercial projects we create environments that reflect both the brand essence and desired customer experience. With residential projects we create environments that reflect the client’s personality and ultimate experience within the space. We have a broad range of clients but ourholistic approach to the design process is the same. Our clients are always at the centre, and we work with them to create the brief, so that the design solution optimises their needs.
Each sector has different challenges and opportunities but we’ve been lucky enough to work with great clients across both so it’s impossible to choose.
Do you think social media and a strong online presence are important for developing a business? How has the growth of social media impacted your business?
I think that they are important as a shop window and to showcase our portfolio but the growth of our business is definitely based on our relationships with clients and our network of suppliers. Social media is a great way to keep up with the most current collections of suppliers; we’ve found many great products on there. It’s also lovely to look at beautiful photos and connect with potential clients and suppliers.
However, as my children start using social media I try to contextualise it for them; Instagram allows everyone to broadcast touched-up pictures that they want the world to see. It is not reality and we shouldn’t measure ourselves in followers, likes nor engagement. Life is better lived in the real world.
How would you describe your personal style?
My style is infused with art, fashion and graphic design. I love working with colour and mixing different designers whether in fashion or interiors. However, everything is underpinned by functionality; each space is fit for purpose and whatever I’m wearing is normally with trainers!
What do you see as the biggest challenges currently facing the interiors industry?
As a designer I really appreciate craft and I think that the interiors industry is facing the same issue as the fashion industry with competitors ripping off designs for a fraction of the price. We never copy designs; there are so many amazing designers that we can usually find something unique in every price bracket.
On reflection each decade has a defining look, how do you think people will describe the current style of interiors in years to come?
I think that the previous decade was very minimalist in comparison to this decade. This is the first decade where social media has become important for interiors and I think that has made people design for visual impact and how things will look on Instagram, particularly in commercial settings.
Are there any trends or styles that you think are due to make a come back?
It’s lovely to see traditional items being mixed with contemporary twists, for example rattan coming back in fashion, being paired with different materials. We try to keep our interiors timeless and think that natural materials are always in fashion for example marble, wood, metal inlays. There’s a definitely trend for using bold colours e.g. rich blues and greens and also for considering the ceiling of the room as the “fifth wall” which I love!
How did you choose your Top 5 Picks?
I’m always designing to a client brief so this was an opportunity to really look for items that stood out to me. They are all very different and items that I have either already specified or would genuinely love to incorporate in schemes!
What does the future hold for Studio Suss?
We’re at Decorex next week, creating one of the much lauded entranceways and also speaking on a panel on Monday 17that 1pm about Designing Bespoke. We’ve got some great projects in the pipeline; a hotel and apartment complex on the south coast, some commercial work near our office in King’s Cross, a couple of refurbishments and also a new build home for one of our existing clients with a truly amazing art collection. I’m looking forward to an exciting year ahead!