People

Francesca Albertazzi + Emma Kelly

i. We work as an: Interior Design & Project Management Firm – Rudy Winston Design.

ii. We do this creative work because:

Francesca:
What a weighty question… why do I do what i do? Because It’s what I do, I mean – it’s in me. I’ve always walked into a space and thought about why it’s the way it is and what I would change to make it better. I could draw out floor plans of most of my childhood friends’ homes because I spent more time looking at the spaces they lived in then playing with dolls!

Emma:
The Project Management side of a company may not be as obvious of a creative endeavour but I really value a certain level of self-sufficiency and figuring things out on my or our own. We created this company ourselves. How we work with clients, how we run our business is something we created together.

iii. A ‘typical’ day for us under Covid lockdown involves:

Francesca:
Much the same as pre-covid, as I have a home studio and so a typical day involves a morning walk through the garden to check on what has bloomed and what needs tending to later, as well as a serving as an all-sensory, relaxing entrance into the day (today the Casablanca lilies started opening up and the garden was filled with their heady scent…). I’ll work on projects, answer emails from my desk for a few hours and then make lunch and take another tour in the garden, feed the fish and scheme a new planting arrangement for one of the beds come spring…

Emma:
A calmer version of a typical day pre-covid. Our business has always been run from our home offices but previously we were frequently out meeting with clients or suppliers, or on project sites. Most of those meetings are virtual now so more time at home. My pugs are loving it!

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iv. Personal qualities that help me in my work are:

Francesca:
Hmmm… you’re asking me to talk about myself, which I don’t do easily! I persevere until I’m satisfied, I’ll never say ‘good enough’ for anything, I want the design of a space to be the best it can be – it’s not perfection I’m striving for but harmony. Also, I’m honest. Emma always tells clients that I’ll never let them go ahead with something if I don’t think it’s the right choice (just like I would never tell a girlfriend she looks good in something if I don’t think she does and hope the for the same in return!).

Emma:
I think I have a good balance of understanding how clients feel during a renovation project – it can be very stressful! Having empathy for them while also understanding how our process can help mitigate that stress and how some clients can get in their own way. It’s a balance of having them involved but not too involved for the best outcome of the project.

I also have respect for the talented people we work with and recognize every project is a team effort. We really can’t do our jobs without them. From every trade person, our contractors, suppliers – we need them all to get the project done.

v. The greatest challenges around doing this work are:

Francesca:
As one who adores vintage, I find it difficult to shop for vintage items here as there isn’t that much to choose from at medium to low pricing. I long for the open-air flea markets of the UK, Italy and France and dream of having the ‘tough decision’ of choosing between this 17th century earthenware jug or that 17th century earthenware jug…

Emma:
Setting client expectations around what a renovation entails. If someone hasn’t renovated before or even if they have but it’s minimal experience it can be a challenge to really help them understand how complicated renovations can be – we’ve been involved in well over 100 projects and there’s something new on every single one.

vi. Creative childhood hobbies:

Francesca:
Drawing and colouring, climbing trees (and then sitting on a limb and drawing the leaves in front of me) and, when I was quite small, I remember making houses out of sticks and bark and ‘decorating’ them with dandelions for the snails…

Emma:
Dancing! Ballet, jazz, hip hop, musical theatre. I spent the majority of my time outside of school through childhood and teen years in dance class. It’s a lot of collaborative team work!

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Illustrations by Francesca Albertazzi

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vii. Other creators who inspire you: 

Francesca:
There’s a long list of historical figures that inspire me but I am currently really impressed by Beata Heuman’s work. It’s so confident but also so thoughtful – her design for custom furniture is considerate of the function of the piece as well as one’s interaction with a piece, curving in the sides of a dresser so that it doesn’t impose as much on the room if it were squared, this kind of thinking really drives me.

Emma:
Women in all fields inspire me. There seems to be a widespread stereotypes that men working in a field are more serious about their work than women. In design for example, there’s often a stereotype about female designers – they just make spaces look nice with pillows and love to shop while men don’t seem to face this same stereotype.

viii. Training that has helped me in this career: 

Francesca:
I have always been a designer and I strongly believe that each job I have had has fed the next and I constantly pull from my years of ‘on the job’ training: my theatrical design career (set & costume design) taught me so much: the telling of stories, the working with a creative team, and the sense of magic and wonder that design can have on people. My exhibit design career reinforced the importance of concept in the work I do, that there is no point in moving forward with a scheme without a strong concept for the project in place.

Emma:
Every job I’ve had since university has had a large component of the work be focused on communication and working with various stakeholders on a project. Some of those jobs included some formal training but most did not and I had to figure it out as I went. A lot of experience working with all different kinds of people is great training.

ix. A common trap that can hurt people in this career:

Both
A common trap in this profession is to think too highly of one’s self or to focus too much on the perception of your work instead of the work itself. Instagram is a great tool, but it isn’t your actual business. A good designer or design firm is constantly checking themselves and striving for better, stronger, smarter choices.

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x. Some proud career moments:

Both
Anytime we receive a note of thanks from a client, a heartfelt thank you for the work we did in their home to make it brighter, warmer, happier, nicer, more functional, it’s a proud moment. To think that the work we do has a deeper effect on people than simply decorating a space – that it affects their happiness, their family life – it’s truly an honour to be able to do this for people.

xi. If you want to work in our field, we suggest that you:

Both
Speak with professionals in the trade, start getting to know them and them you and start by working in the field. The best school is the job. Don’t be afraid to reach out to an established designer or firm and ask if you can meet with them for coffee to get to know more about what they do and ask for advice. We have met with junior designers many times and are always happy to try and help out.

xii. A professional goal we have for the future:

Both:
To design a room, or handful of rooms, in a boutique hotel in Europe!

xiii. If you want to see our work, go to:
Rudy Winston Design www.rudywinstondesign.com or Instagram @rudywinstondesign

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Francesca + Emma

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www.creatorsvancouver.com

Photos by Janis Nicolay

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