Emerging Designer—Emma Cormick
Emma Cormick | Interior Designer/interior architect | emmacormick.com
Switching from one industry to another can be a daunting thought for a lot of us but for some the feeling in their gut to make that change overrides all that fear. But making this change doesn’t always have to feel like this fear-inducing act, sometimes it just feels like the natural thing to do.
This definitely was the case for Emma Cormick who has made a seamless transition from being a digital media designer, service designer and 3D modeler to becoming an interior designer/interior architect. The core principles and skillsets from the two disciplines were quite similar so Emma found the transition to be surprisingly easy! Instead of designing user journeys across digital touchpoints she was now designing them across physical spaces. Same method, just different materials. Naturally we were curious to know why she had made the change, so we asked her…
‘I enjoy digital and all the possibilities of that area—but as time passed, it became increasingly apparent to me just how important physical spaces are to people’s lives too. Usually, we spend most of our lives indoors and whether we realise it or not, our moods and how we interact with the world, and each other, are heavily influenced by these spaces. I wanted to help improve that.’
This wasn’t the only reason for the change—she had seen her fair share of terribly designed housing, offices, clubs and public spaces and felt the need to do something about it. Terrible design, more often than not, is due to budget constraints but for Emma these budget constraints didn’t have to mean bad design it just meant you have to be smarter and more considered with your choices.
‘An hour spent considering the design of a space can result in hours upon hours gained back in worker productivity for an office, or years gained in tenant retention in an apartment for example.’
Our job as designers is to solve problems for people but that’s not the only thing we have to keep in mind. We have to be able to understand how the end user will experience the product or in this case, the space. This understanding drives the choices that Emma makes in her designs.
‘I’m inspired by anything that really helps people to live sustainable, self-sufficient, fair, and dignified lives… People often think of well-designed homes (for example) as a playground for the rich and architecturally interested, but to me it’s more important for people doing it tough to have designers pay attention to them, as they are the ones who would benefit from it the most. Even just better natural light and ventilation, or a balcony in public housing can make a massive difference to someone’s quality of life, their mood, headspace and their ability to reach their potential.’
She believes that design is for everyone regardless of class, age, income or education and the physical space is no exception. When it comes to measuring the impact of a real-world project there aren’t many tangible ways to do so compared to the readily available data in digital products. Human measures are harder to quantify but there are more subtle, intangible ways.
‘When you’ve done something good for people, you can feel and see it. It will take some time for a lot of my physical projects to be built now that they’re designed, so I’m waiting on that first experience.’
The desire to solve problems and deliver the best possible outcome can sometimes be to the detriment of your own personal well-being. It’s important to remember that being consistently great is much better than being mind-blowing for a brief moment. We have to remember to enjoy ourselves doing work that we love and find fulfilment and satisfaction from it too. As Emma puts it ‘Look after yourself (and each other!) so that you can be of best use to everyone, personally and professionally.’
Read this and many other amazing articles in issue eight of Ligature Journal. Pick up a copy at Tiliqua Press.