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Interview with Lesley Bloomfield Faedi

Home > Designer Interviews > Lesley Bloomfield Faedi

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Lesley Bloomfield Faedi (LB) for A’ Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of Lesley Bloomfield Faedi by clicking here.

Interview with Lesley Bloomfield Faedi at Saturday 21st of April 2012
Lesley Bloomfield Faedi
FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
LB: I’m actually from a non-design background since I’ve been an English teacher in further education, working essentially in language centres and companies for the past 20 odd years in France. I have always, however, been fascinated by the creative world. As a young child, born and bred in Wales (GB), within a creative environment of handmade clothes and curtains, embroidered napkins or fabric jewelry boxes, exquisite piano playing and colourful garden displays, I was always making things for family and friends. My creative side was further revealed by an aspiration to become a professional dancer which was eventually superseded by a desire to pursue a career in languages. Of course, 25 years of living and working in France, has involved me renting apartments and embellishing their interiors. A final house purchase involving much renovation and general refurbishment , sparked off an endless flow of sketches and subsequent decoration of the whole house with fancy curtains and all sorts of attractive gems. It also aroused curiosity amongst family and friends and they encouraged me to take this passion a step further. Today, I am an English teacher and freelancer making essentially bespoke creative window treatment items for local clients, these being private or business oriented individuals (restaurant, dental surgery, gym club, tiling company, interior design boutiques/showrooms and so on…). I am now looking to really moving into the design business to a greater extent and doing teaching to a lesser extent, if provided with the opportunities.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
LB: For the moment, I’m what you could call a ‘one woman band’. In other words, my status is that of a one-person business with a company registration number. I have a select number of clients (private individuals and business clients). I provide made-to-measure creative items, but essentially curtains. This is why I tend to call my self a curtain designer more than anything else. I have my logo “Lesley Bee” (an embroidered bee and inscription) registered in France and a select number of European Community registered designs to my name.

FS: What is "design" for you?
LB: For me design is the creation of something which is tangible or intangible in a purely manual, intellectual, personal way. This tangible or intangible artistic element can be very special, beautiful, different, even practical or functional.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
LB: I love making window treatment items simply because they are a central piece in a room like a painting on a wall for all to see. A room is not complete without the presence of curtains or blinds and aesthetic ones at that. They are the final touch and they must be unique, original, glamorous, elegant, even extravagant or audacious.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
LB: I think the design I actually like the most is my recent winning design “Ribbons , Strips and Diamonds” because like many of my creations a lot of hard thinking, sweat and blood went into this item. I also feel I developed a special relationship with the client in question. But then I almost always do. I need to have a feel for the client’s personality, tastes. When the client is totally involved in what you are doing, your motivation is so much greater. The desire to create the “perfect item” is stronger. There is even more passion involved in the creation process. I also tend to thrive on difficulty. The more complicated the task is, the more creative I become.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
LB: I think the first article or rather articles I made for a business was a collection of combined net and material blinds. These were made for a restaurant.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
LB: I really appreciate working with all sorts of fabrics which initially, you might say, or the experts might say aren’t necessarily compatible. I like to combine two or more fabrics together and love associating net with fabric, preferably taffeta, which allow me to play with light subtly or outrageously. I also like the idea of using other raw materials or elements, like piping, beads, feathers, cobwebbed effect material for dressing up a table , in fact just about anything I can get my hands on to create something really different. You can appreciate these ideas more by taking a look at my designs “De-escalating Shades” and “Autumn Leaves” which came in as runners-up in the 2010 – 2011 and 2011 – 2012 A’ Design Award Competition. I have a penchant for elaborating my own shapes rather than having ready-made patterned material. It’s a bit like stenciling a plain coloured wall. I’d also add that the lining is as important as the curtain itself as I aim to incorporate coloured lining or even a combination of traditional lining with fabric which can be seen once a curtain is hoisted up and attached to a hook with tie backs. Colours are also my affair. I can be as much sober as daring in my choice and combination of colours .

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
LB: ….when I least expect to be. It has to come naturally and when it does I have to quickly get it down on paper, a bit like a writer who may come up with ideas in his sleep and on awaking, hurriedly writes all his thoughts down on paper.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
LB: Practicality is of course of the essence with curtains and blinds (insulation, solar protection, echo dampening, warmth, masking of an ugly view, filtering of light) . However, aesthetics and uniqueness are of utmost importance to me too.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
LB: …..excitement, enthusiasm, passion, frustration.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
LB: ……relief, pride, satisfaction.

FS: What makes a design successful?
LB: A design is successful when the designer’s passion is perceived by the onlooker in his work and more specifically, if it's an innovative , practical, aesthetically pleasing to the eye consumer durable, easy to comprehend and complete right down to the last detail. If it is environmentally friendly then all the better and an added bonus in light of today’s way of thinking.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
LB: It depends on the product type and its main purpose. Some designs are purely aesthetic and serve no practical purpose. Others are purely practical and in some instances the outward appearance is not absolutely essential (a car part , for example). Other products may require both the practical and aesthetic elements ( a coffee percolator) to be considered interesting or worth looking at.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
LB: I think the key word is “harm” or “absence of”. A designer needs to be constantly aware of the fact that his product should not cause physical or mental harm to anybody, employees and customers included.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
LB: Design today is an essential ingredient in the selling process.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
LB: My last exhibition was at the International Trade Fair October 2011 (200,000 visitors), at the Parc des Expositions, in Metz, France.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
LB: Generally, I’m driven by a natural instinctive desire to create , a certain sensitivity, curiosity spontaneity and audacity . I can be extremely imaginative and enthusiastic about all things. My British heritage in terms of interior design, a creative family , strangely enough the people I meet regularly in companies or in language centres in my teaching job and a social circle devoted to creation, equally contribute to my design inspiration in the same way as the person standing in front of me and the room/house/ apartment itself do.

FS: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
LB: As I said before, I think my speciality is the combining of different fabrics , raw materials and other elements to provide an originally shaped article designed to attract the onlooker’s attention.

FS: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
LB: I live and work in France but I don’t think I’m entirely influenced by French culture in the development of my designs. If there’s any influence emanating from French culture, it comes on the contrary from a lack of window treatment items and from the desire to want to maintain as much light as possible in a room. My design “De-escalating Shades” is a very good example of this. On the whole, my inspiration does not come from French culture, it‘s more from elsewhere and from my well-anchored British heritage, my circle of artistic friends as well as my constant love for and involvement in DIY in my own home.

FS: How do you work with companies?
LB: I work with companies in the same way as I work with individual clients, that is, I accompany them from beginning to end in the development of their window treatment project. This normally involves approximately six visits starting with an initial phone call or e-mail, leading to a first few visits to the client's place where his or her wishes and tastes are discussed, measurements and a photo are taken and a sketch and quote are provided and eventually accepted. Further visits are made to fabric stores and to the client's premises and when the design is complete, the final visits involve trying the product out for alterations, touching up and finally, ironing and installing it. I also work with two boutiques and notably one boutique owner who is an interior designer and who can include me in some of her projects with her clients.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
LB: I would say that first and foremost, companies need to appreciate the designer’s work and the sincerity behind it, whatever the background. After it’s a question of feeling, complicity , trust, loyalty. You have to get on with the person afterwards. Human relations are very important in a business relationship.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
LB: If there’s a sketch down on paper and the client has approved it, even participated in it, I always need to warn the client that originality involves being adventurous and therefore trying things out. Sometimes the ideas down on paper are not always applicable in practice, or in trying to apply an idea which may not be working out too well, I can stumble across something completely different and the design then takes on a whole new form.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
LB: ……a large modern painting done by an artist friend of mine and many of my lamps, for I’m a fan of original lamps which I tend to purchase every time I go somewhere abroad on holiday.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
LB: I feel like a young designer myself, not in age of course. I think it would be a little pretentious on my behalf to give young students advice. But now that you ask, I think the best advice anyone can give is to be yourself, remain natural, instinctive and spontaneous. Guidelines, training, and instruction are always useful, but you shouldn't become too disciplined in design otherwise you lose your sense of creativity. It’s a bit like a young puppy that needs to be trained to become acquainted with the do’s and don’ts, but it must also be allowed to run free and explore its environment.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
LB: I think the one negative aspect of being a designer is that you are dependant on customer consonance and dread customer dissonance, especially when having spent a lot of energy and time on a project. Frustration is often part of the creative process until you finally complete the product as you would like it to be. When the designer is satisfied with the final result and as a bonus gets recognition from a public it’s most gratifying. It’s the perfect reward.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
LB: Your creations must resemble you. Be as true to yourself as possible ! There will always be people out there who will like what you do and others who won’t. That’s life !

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
LB: ..observational, disciplinary, inventive, creative, skills.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
LB: …a sewing machine, pins, needles, thread various furnishing trimmings, fabric, scissors, tape measure, sewing books, interior design and DIY magazines.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
LB: I'd like to think that my motto is "little and often". But in reality, when I’m totally involved in a creation, in deep thought or going through a particularly frustrating period, I can work for hours on end if only to get to the bottom of a problem and resolve it or to find the style or effect that appeals to me most. .

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
LB: It can take anything from 15 hours to 30, 40 and more? It depends on the complexity of the job to be done and the number of items to be produced.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
LB: Where do you get all your ideas from and more generally, how do you find the time to do everything in the week ?

FS: What was your most important job experience?
LB: My most important job experience involved the creation of two three-part window treatment sets entitled “Ribbons, Strips and Diamonds", a winning design for this year.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
LB: ….mainly local clients, including private individuals, businesses and design shops.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
LB: …any kind of project that leaves me room for real creation, where I have few restrictions, just maybe a few guidelines.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
LB: As much as I still aim to continue making bespoke design curtains (and other articles) for clients locally, I would be interested in reaching a wider market and certainly would not be indifferent to establishing links with professionals/companies within the interior design or upholstery sectors. My aim is to have my work recognised by others because I feel this is the only way I can continue to progress, to better myself and live this passion of mine to the fullest.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
LB: I develop my designs myself.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
LB: For the moment, I’m busy and am looking forward to the next creative challenge.

FS: How can people contact you?
LB: I can be contacted by e-mail (lesleybee@free.fr).

FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
LB: No, I think we’ve covered just about everything.


FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

A’ Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.


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