Roisín is founder and creative director of Kingston Lafferty Design (KLD), specialising in Interior Architecture and Interior Design. Since it's launch in 2010, KLD has quickly made it's mark across Ireland and Europe with a portfolio that spans both residential and commercial design. KLD strives to create truly magic spaces for every client.
Why did you decide to follow a creative path?
As long as I can remember I was always very artistic; painting, drawing. In secondary school I found art class to be a release. I didn’t get much support at school — no one seemed to know what guidance to give. So I had to pursue a portfolio course myself. When all my friends were going to Trinity and UCD and following the predetermined academic routes, I paused my CAO application and went and did a year long portfolio course in Sallynoggin. It was a scary time for me.
In Sallynoggin I was out of my comfort zone. I didn’t really know where I fit in. Afterwards I went to DIT and did my degree there. From that I got the impression the harder you work the better you do — which I think in a creative world is maybe wrong. You can’t quantify how valuable an idea is, it’s not about the time spent it’s the quality of the thinking.
[Kingston University] was probably the only time I ever really thought about quitting something. They push you to your maximum, you will either break or you will succeed.
What had the biggest impact in your early career?
For me Kingston University in London, where I did my masters, was the most impactful. The lecturers were successful designers in their own right. As a result it was really harsh, they did not buy any fluff. Plenty of people failed. It was probably the only time I ever really thought about quitting something. They push you to your maximum, you will either break or you will succeed. Looking back at it now I wouldn’t be where I am now if I didn’t do it.
Another experience that was a real eye opener was one of my first jobs after completing my masters. I interned in Image Interiors Magazine and it showed me a whole other side of my skill set that I hadn’t thought about. That was how to articulate what it is you’re doing. It showed me that if you can’t articulate, people won’t buy into it. Sometimes marketing and talking yourself up can be seen as taking away from the creative essence. But if you don’t tell people what it is you’re doing, who else will?
How do you come up with new ideas and designs? Tell us about your creative process.
Design is a way of life, whether I’m working or not — where I go on my social time, where I travel to, what I wear — if you think it’s going to be a nine to five job, it’s not! Your work is an extension of you and that’s what makes it successful. You are exposing yourself to a lot of judgement and criticism. It’s not pleasant, you do have to develop a thick skin. But it’s the personal that makes it.
Our jobs start with an idea, an idea in someones head. It’s then a scribble and it ends up being a real space, an environment that surrounds people, that people get to experience. There’s no better feeling than seeing a complete job. It’s amazing. The power of space; how it impacts, how every single person feels from the minute they wake up every day. It’s so transformative to be a part of that.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?
The aspect that’s most challenging about being a creative is that I have no background in business. I had no understanding, or interest in business. That was a real challenge, to grow a team you have to understand the basics. I got to do Going for Growth with Enterprise Ireland and that was super helpful. Now I feel a lot more confident, we have a solid base and a strong support network. Asking for help is hugely important.
Design is a way of life, whether I’m working or not — where I go on my social time, where I travel to, what I wear — if you think it’s going to be a nine to five job, it’s not!
What are your future ambitions for your design studio, KLD?
One of the really exciting things that’s happening now is that I’m working with really amazing creatives and the clients that are coming to us are also looking to creatively collaborate. Because of that it’s genuinely equal and there’s a better result. It's a really big deal for us that we have KLD HQ in Baggot street. It’s the first opportunity we’ve had to really show people who we are and create a space that encapsulates KLD. We have lots of great projects both commercial and residential across Europe and the team continues to grow.