What does your job as a managing director entail?
I have been privileged to lead our amazing team as it has grown from when we started VidaSpace six years ago. I get very passionate about marketing and innovation and love seeing the difference we can make in the market, both through innovative products and world-class customer service. We hate the status quo and enjoy the loud and robust discussions we have as a team to really challenge how we are doing things and if it is making it easier and more fun for the customer. Also I enjoy fixing problems. Yes they come up, especially as we deal with natural wood products which we mitigate by working with premium supply partners, but it is a reality and something we don’t shy away from helping the customer resolve it. We want customers for life and to tell all their friends about us. No we aren’t always perfect (though we are constantly pushing for it) but I can guarantee you we have a tight team of super passionate and knowledgeable people that only want to see the best for our customers and the industry. I am constantly impressed with how demanding our team is of each other internally to ensure the standard is not dropped and always looking for ways to improve, and this flows across to how we treat our customers.
What do you love about interior design?
Interior design is amazing how it can transform spaces when done really well. It is very emotive and immersive and since we started VidaSpace six years ago we are constantly getting exposed to absolutely stunning interiors projects by leading designers around the country. I think in a lot of ways it often doesn’t get the attention and investment it deserves. It is the making or breaking of a project – either residential or commercial and it’s the little details that professional designers bring to the table that makes all the difference. We have an amazing design industry in New Zealand, which is often recognised on the global stage and it is a privilege for us to play our small part in it.
Who are your design icons?
I admire the work that Piet Boon does in The Netherlands and around the world. They have a beautiful, considered approach to design and their works are amazing.
We had the privilege of collaborating with Avroko Design from New York on the Commercial Bay project in Auckland and their projects in the hospitality and hotel space are stunning.
I also follow the work that Kelly Hoppen does and think she does some amazing work.
What is one of the most interesting projects you have worked on?
Difficult to pick one! We get exposed to so many extraordinary projects where designers’ talents continue to impress us on a daily basis. One project that does spring to mind is a private residence we worked on with Jewell Cassells and Mal Corby in Queenstown. It was a great client and after spending time in the Auckland showroom with the design team and the client, we ended up supplying a bespoke wide plank oak floor, a bespoke ceiling panelling, charred Shou Sugi Ban cypress for walls and a bar unit and some beautiful Querkus Oak Allegro brushed veneers. The finishes pulled together beautifully and was a great example on the scope that our timber finishes can be used on a residential (or commercial) interior. Our team loves a challenge and working on projects that are outside the normal scope of our stock range and delivering on the very unique demands we get from leading architects and designers around the country.
What do you love about timber?
Every single piece is unique and tells a story. It is naturally beautiful and can be adapted for an almost endless number of applications, colours, and textures. It is a product that is real, has a history, has stood up to adversity as it has grown and now been turned into something for someone to live amongst and enjoy. Grown renewably and manufactured responsibly, it is the most sustainable building material we have and every time timber is used for finishes instead of other synthetic or plastic or tile or plastic or vinyl type products, it is lessening the carbon footprint of the build environment. Another hidden gem is that it becomes more beautiful with age. Yes it does change in tone and can show some wear and tear but that is the inherent beauty of a natural product – you don’t have to look far to lovely old homesteads in New Zealand that have had native flooring down for 100-150 years and it is still a cherished part of the home and will be for many more years. Further afield oak flooring is seen in homes for hundreds of years in Europe and North America. The same raw material but with today’s advancements in finishing technology and natural oils has only further enhanced its beauty and lifespan.
What is your favourite VidaSpace product?
Currently it would probably be Shinnoki prefinished timber veneers. It is a simple but genius product and I love seeing how much they are making the process of specifying and manufacturing joinery projects so much more fun and simple. Everyone’s lives are made easier in the process and it takes the guess work out of the traditional method of using an unfinished wood veneer and lacquering or oiling it to order – there is a number of extra costs, risks and delays and Shinnoki is the answer to all those problems. If I was allowed a second it would have to be Oscar Ono Forêt Collection, which is nothing less than a work of art – not a timber floor as we know it. The story behind it coupled with the extraordinary design and workmanship by the team in Paris has to be seen in person to be appreciated.
I will have a new favourite in the next few months – watch this space…….