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For the third conversation in our Design Talks, we speak to Shelley Baxter, our Design Associate here at MAWD. Each and every team member here at MAWD are the creative forces behind the captivating projects we design. Join us as go behind the scenes and bring their stories and talents directly to you.

Tell us the story of how you became a designer. Do you remember a specific moment when you decided to pursue this field?

From when I first learned at a young age that there were careers in creative industries, I have always been interested in interior design, and was determined that this was the path for me.

Shelley Baxter MAWD Interior Designer
Shelley Baxter. Photo: MAWD.

Tell us about your inspirations and passions in the world of design.

For me, the most important thing in interior design is that the projects have to suit its surroundings and appear effortless. Whether it be an informal textured home by the beach, to a sleek city workspace, to a grand classic home, the interior has to feel authentic to the building and the client. Anything that is too much of a juxtaposition to its surroundings can feel less successful. There must be a synergy or connection to place.

What have you seen recently that has inspired you?

The 1 Hotels are inspiring to me. They showcase some of the best sustainable interiors, done to a 5 Star level. In my opinion, 1 Hotels gets both the small details and larger interior statements done right, proving there does not have to be a compromise on quality. Their designs are also timeless exactly for this reason, everything is natural and authentic, but with meaning and style.

Sustainability is an important area of design and one that is ever changing – new innovative materials are launching all the time which keeps the industry exciting. New materials often spark conversation, as some may look completely different to more conventional materials that we all know.

Lantern House MAWD Lobby Entry Design Desk
Lantern House, New York. Photo: MAWD.

What inspires your design practice?

Travel – I am continuously inspired by, and love to travel. Exploring new places and taking in new sights, foods, atmospheres and cultures brings me absolute joy, and I have been lucky to have explored several very unique places, each of which have their own memories and highlights. There are many places on my bucket list. However, South Africa is never too far from the top of the list!

What is your favorite part of the design process and why?

Projects can often last for years, so seeing and installing a finished project is always exciting and rewarding. Creatively, I would say I enjoy the initial concept design best.

From finding out all we can about the clients' preferences, to getting the floor plan and programming correct, and providing initial design thoughts. This initial phase is exceptionally important, and sets the stage for the overall design and development that follows.

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Knightsbridge Gate, London. Photo: MAWD.

If you could give someone just entering the design profession one piece of advice, what would it be and why?

You get out what you put in. We are a creative industry and collaboration and working with in a team is key. Don’t be too shy to put your thoughts and opinions out there. Design never has one right answer, and some of the best design work champions new and innovative perspectives.