Interior designer and SLOW Founder Martina Blanchard’s concept for the business is to represent a slower, more refined way of living by showcasing designers whose products are made ethically and with authentic design form. As well as running the interior concept store, Martina works as an interior designer, leading innovative and creative projects throughout the country. We sat down with Martina to learn more about her style and design philosophy.
How would you describe your creative process?
I am very centred on how a particular space feels and what it needs to establish balance between functionality, aesthetics, and positive experiences.
I start by identifying key features of the space’s existing or proposed design form and the environment it sits in or is surrounded by.
This information is used as a starting point in creating a visual board to merge these key environmental and design features to the overall interior/exterior design, with a further focus on the smallest details as it evolves.
The aim here is to create a living design that is then further developed to a particular aesthetic, reflecting the personalities and lives of people residing in the space and offering a carefully curated point of difference that makes each of my projects unique.
What is your favourite project to date and why?
Tucker Beach house
The renovation of an existing house with added modern extension – this project is an excellent example of what I genuinely enjoy – restoring and creating something new simultaneously. Although the renovation process is often more challenging than new build, Ido enjoy it more as it challenges my creative and practical thinking at the same time!
What is your design philosophy?
Creating places for living, embracing craftsmanship/custom design in residential or commercial spaces, focusing on natural, sustainable materials and classic forms over trending styles.
How do you know when interior design is “good”
When the design creates a space that feeds positive emotions - i.e is welcoming, balanced. The best design will allow for functionality, comfort, longevity, and beauty realms, all of which are cohesively interwoven, reflecting the values and personalities of people whose lives unfold there. Incase of commercial projects the brand values and aesthetic also corresponds to the same line of thinking - creating spaces for both the brand and its valued customers has an equal importance.
Also adding attention to detail, material focus and the execution of visual interests or unique accents that will mark your home design as uniquely yours.
You’re as much a curator as a designer and known for collecting unique objects - a mix of vintage and new - do you have a process for sourcing these?
I follow a number of overseas vintage design websites/blogs as well as collecting architectural and design books - both sources are very inspirational to my own work – for me, the objects I seek or select don’t need to be rare, expensive or have an artistic credit - it’s about what layer of merit do they bring to your personal space, how do they assist with mood setting, complement the colour palette or stand out by its design form or material. For example, suppose I am seeking to fill a spot on a shelf. In that case, the sourcing of such an object depends on the design era I admire or would like to introduce to the space rather than seeking the most “known/credited” object or designer from this time – this makes it a bit more challenging as the online catalogues are rather extensive to sift through – luckily I enjoy doing this !
What led you to open SLOW?
As someone who enjoys the process of forever nesting i.e. continuously recreating my home as something I enjoy doing (we also move around a lot !) I needed greater and more bespoke offerings of good quality design that would work for different budgets and are non-confined to a particular realm of aesthetic or trend style.
I have discovered the majority of our curated brands by having them in my own home and thought it would be great to share these with more people – 6 years later and we are still curating our early discovered household names as Ferm Living, Frama or New Works as well as hosting new brands as Please Wait To Be Seated or Sarah Ellison.
Quick fire Q’s
Describe your style in three words. Authentic - Balanced – Experiential
What are three items in your home that you can’t live without? Occasional chair / Library / Plants
A daily ritual that grounds you? Small batch coffee brew / Yoga, Pilates or run on the beach
What’s your favourite space in your home, and why? Our dining area / library corner – we use our dining area as a form of a lounge with large round table that has library shelving nearby – we gather at the table as a family for the occasional craft session, daily chit chats, working on our projects as well as family dinners.
What’s your dream house? House that creates and enables connections as well as space for solitude, stimulates enjoyable moments, is airy and filled with light, have interesting/bespoke created features and good functional flow.
Who or what inspires you for decor? There are many inspirational women designers/architects and creative minds that I look up to from past and current era, it’s really hard to narrow them down but if I had to name a few: Faye Toogood, Lina Bo Bardi, Sandra Benhamo, Noemi Raymond and/or Dimore Studio.