paul raeside - kitchen.jpg
Interviews

Jenny Jones: To design you have to time travel.

design stories x eporta

We met with architect Jenny Jones, founder of Studio Jenny Jones to understand her design story.

Jenny Jones
Reception at Accenture Fjord
Jenny Jones
Reception at Accenture Fjord

Tell us a little bit about yourself and Studio Jenny Jones?

I set up Studio Jenny Jones in 2013 having worked with some of the greatest architects in the world. As a studio, we are curious and believe that design is a catalyst for change. For us, there is a close link between the design of a space and the impact it has on your behaviour.

What made you want to become an architect?

My uncle and great-uncle were both architects. When I was little, my uncle would come back to Scotland from the RCA where he was studying. He'd show me and my sister his models and drawings… I think that was a big influence.

Also, at school I was “arty and clever”, architecture played to both these strengths.

Library space at Accenture Fjord
Library space at Accenture Fjord

What's the best part of being a designer?

The range of skills that I call upon throughout the day, and throughout the design and build process. It means I'm very rarely in repeat mode... I enjoy the ever-changing and dynamic nature of my role.

What's the hardest part of your job?

The flip side of what I've just described as being the best part…

Every design process is an enormous recipe of technical and emotional ingredients. Each has a unique resolution, there's no set process to refer back to.

Activity booth at Accenture Fjord Office
Thinking space created for Accenture Fjord office.png
Activity booth at Accenture Fjord Office
Thinking space created for Accenture Fjord office.png

Can you give us a specific example of when eporta has helped you on a project?

For Accenture Fjord, I needed to propose a company that respected the project, and our company values. eporta appreciated the design we'd created, understanding that we'd chosen items for a reason. Some sourcing partners propose alternatives that supposedly achieve the same look for less. The quality and aesthetics of which rarely match the original. You guys proposed a few alternatives, and they completely worked.

Kitchen garden Accenture Fjord.
Kitchen garden Accenture Fjord.

What's your proudest design moment to date?

Right now, going back into Fjord, and seeing how they're using the space. You envision how they'll engage with what you've designed and how it will work for them. Seeing it acted out, in reality, is surreal.

For example, they'd always imagined that the shelves around the kitchen were their garden wall. Part of the process involved Stephanie Battle, the artist, coming to do a workshop with the team to create their own plant pots (see above). Now they've got pickles and kambucha growing... they've got the whole thing going on. They're really using the space, and it looks amazing.

Walled Garden House, Press Castle Scotland.
Walled Garden House, Press Castle Scotland.

What inspires your projects?

You almost travel in time when you design, to what it will be like for the folk living, working or visiting there. I create “scripts” based on the projected use of a space. I imagine how it will be used, how objects will be used, what the performance is. This inspires how I configure the space and decide what pieces go into it.

What would be your one piece of advice for a designer just starting out?

If I boil it down I would say enjoy it, be patient and keep focused. Played right, this can be a long career where you are always learning.

The other thing I would say is, value your skills. Don't do things for free, you should charge for your work. Even if you're starting out, there are lots of things you can do that your client can't. After all, that's why they've asked you to help in the first place.

Lotte Flagship Store in Seoul with Plaid Designs
Lotte Flagship Store in Seoul with Plaid Designs

Our quick fire round- the first answer that crosses your mind is all that counts.

Where is your happy place?

In the here and now.

If you weren’t a designer, what would you be doing?

This is quite funny – we were talking about this the other day – I'd either work in theatre performance or be a lawyer. As architects, you do these legal exams and I really enjoyed them. Plus, getting information from clients during a brief is similar to how lawyers gather their insights. Now I think about it though, maybe I'm more like a therapist?

Table 205, designed by Jenny Jones and Paul Raeside.
Table 205, designed by Jenny Jones and Paul Raeside.

Can you describe eporta in 3 words?

Diverse, current, contemporary.

Photo Credits for project imagery Paul Raeside

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