Interior Design

Interview - Shareen Joel

Lucy Feagins
Lucy Feagins
15th of October 2010
Interiors by Shareen Joel Design
3 Bowls - product design by SJD
Super posh bathroom by SJD!
Bloom flagship store by SJD

OH well what do you know, I appear to be interviewing ANOTHER busy Melbourne designer / business owner / multitasking Mum!   Jeepers I feel like every woman in Melbourne is juggling a successful creative career with at least 2 kids!  Nice work ladies!

After studying Industrial Design at RMIT, Shareen Joel cut her teeth at Ford Motors before launching her boutique design studio, Shareen Joel Design, in 2003.  Based in Prahran, SJD now employs 5 fulltime designers, and takes on a great variety of design projects - from architecture and interior design, to product development and branding...  in the big wide world of grown-up jobs this is known as 'integrated creative brand management'!

Shareen's folio of work is just so slick and well, a bit posh.  Her interiors are beautiful in the most classic, unpretentious way - no fuss or fluffy decorative details - SJD is all about clean, clever and above all understated design.  Shareen and her team have gained an expert reputation for their impressive work in retail in particular - high profile clients include Country Road, Dulux, Seafolly, Witchery, Seed and Bloom Cosmetics.

I have long been curious about Shareen after seeing a few snippets of her work here and there... so it's great to finally get a little window into her world!  Much like her work, Shareen's responses below are succinct and un-embellished!  She's a woman of few words... but with a folio like this, it pays to let the pictures speak for themselves :)

Thanks so much to Shareen for sharing her beautiful work with us today... do pop over to her website for more beautiful projects!

Tell us a little about your background – What path has led you to what you’re doing now?

I studied Industrial Design at RMIT)... I have always been obsessed with everything visual - from Product Design to Fashion Design and Graphic Design.

I was at Ford for 10 years prior to starting SJD. My initial goal was to start a creative design studio that crossed over all areas of design from product through to interiors, architectural design and creative direction. We focus on maintaining a consistent and harmonious message across multidisciplinary design facets.

Bloom flagship store

SJD has an allegiance to simplicity, balance, classic style and proportion. We are renowned for achieving commercial outcomes whilst maintaining aesthetic integrity.  These principles are upheld by our very special team of designers.

Can you give us a little insight into your personal background, and your secret to managing that elusive work / life / kids balance?! My family history has been in the rag trade. My grandparents were tailors in Melbourne when they arrived here in the 50’s. My mother was always in the fashion industry when I was growing up and was a renowned fashion designer. My father on the other hand has a strong engineering mind and understood mechanics and manufacturing . It must have been the influence of both that led me to desperately wanting to be a designer and ultimately studying Industrial Design.

My husband Dean’s background is in marketing. He is entrepreneurial, business minded and has always encouraged me to live my dreams and take risks. Together we have 2 children who are aged 11 and 9 years old. Life is a constant balancing act which uses goes to plan but sometimes turns to chaos, usually when the kids are on school holidays.

What have been some of your favourite projects / clients in recent years?

I love the work we've done with Sheridan on product development, re-design and branding of their retail stores.

Your portfolio of work so varied! … residential interiors, commercial and retail, product design and creative direction! What is your favourite type of brief and why?

My favourite projects are any where we have the trust and support of our clients! The ability to have a clear vision is important.

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

Putting out fires and wondering when (other than lying awake at 2am) I may have the time to be creative!

Where do you turn for creative inspiration – books, international magazines, the internet, your environment, travel, nature, family or friends… etc?

All of the above. I research 24/7 and never switch off!

Double Tray - product design by SJD

Which other designers, architects or creative people are you most inspired by at the moment?

My current favourite is Tokujin Yoshioka and I also love what Phoebe Philo is doing at Celine. I also love Achille Castiglioni, Mario Bellini, Le Corbusier and Tadao Ando.

What would be your dream project?

I’d definitely love to work on a luxury yacht – I think all areas of transportation from bikes to aeroplanes are dream projects.

What are you looking forward to?

A holiday with my family and some design inspiration. I’d like to think the two are linked in some way.

Seafolly Store Chatswood by SJD

Melbourne Questions –

Your favourite Melbourne neighbourhood and why?

I love the city – all the way through to the arts centre precinct and the new Recital Centre. I love the juxtaposition of feeling like I’m not in Melbourne but I am.

Your favourite bookstore in Melbourne for reference books and inspiration?

The Avenue Bookstore in Albert Park.

Where was the last great meal you ate in Melbourne?

Izakaya Den.

Melbourne’s best kept secret?

The Shrine – at any time of the day.

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