Let us introduce you to Mallori Hamilton. Mallori is a beloved member of the WB Interiors design team. As Senior Project Manager, she is responsible for design and construction coordination of new construction and renovation projects. The Colorado State University alumna has worked on numerous projects from remodeling an expansion of the lobby of Perimeter Church in Johns Creek, Georgia to working on the design of a 10,000 square foot custom, high-end residence.
Our team-based studio is all about having designers like Hamilton who love designing “functional, tailored and unique environments that enhance the lives of its users in every way.”
Mallori entered the 2016 Sandler Seating design competition and her chair design was selected as one of the top two designs. Sandler Seating, founded in 1982, produces modern and contemporary furniture collections utilized in various markets. The international furniture company prides itself on “enhancing every hospitality space with beauty and craftsmanship.” Sandler Seating created the design competition to challenge designers to “exercise their creative minds” and give them an opportunity to win a trip to Venice, Italy. The chair design was judged on aesthetics, functionality, uniqueness, ingenuity and compatibility with the Montbel line.
We had the chance to chat with the Senior Project Manager about her path into interior design, her inspirations, and how being a detail oriented designer has helped her throughout her career including her design of the “Wayne Chair”.
Q: Did you always know Interior Design would be your career path?
A: Yes, and no. Ever since I was 8 years old I would look through magazines that were just house plans. My mom would always buy them and we would look through them together, and I would tell her what I thought was wrong with them, or why I liked them. I would look through them and read them as if I were reading a book, going cover to cover. I knew that I liked design, and that I was interested in it, but I wasn’t sure until I got into college (Colorado State University). I was majoring in music initially, and took interior design classes. The spring semester of my freshman year I switched to interior design and decided that that was what I wanted to do.
Q: As an interior designer where does your inspiration come from?
A: It is hard to say, there are so many great designers and architects out there. I think architecture as a whole inspires my designs; I’m definitely more architecturally minded. I read numerous magazines and constantly research the latest and greatest products. I am always looking at other designers and architects for inspiration. It could be anything from patterns that you see outside, to old architecture from great architects in the past like Frank Lloyd Wright. Also inspiring Spanish architects like [Antoni] Gaudí, who did crazy meticulous architecture and was free-spirited with his work. I don’t think there is one person or one type of design that influences me. It depends on the project for where I look for my inspiration and then I go from there.
Q: On the website we saw you mentioned that your grandfather influenced the design of the Wayne chair, has he also influenced any of your other designs?
A: This was the first piece that I had him in mind. He used to refinish furniture and growing up seeing that I had him in mind while I was designing. The chair was mainly a tribute to him. I would watch him in the process of refinishing the furniture, he would be in his garage working on different piece of furniture and I always admired that and thought it was cool. The way he would take furniture from being an old ratty thing to make it into a beautiful piece. It was so artful!
Q: Tell us more about the “Wayne Chair”. What was your design inspiration? How long did it take? What type of space or room is it best suited for?
A: The influence of the design itself came from Eames and Thos Moser. I love a lot of their work due to their attention to design, detail, construction and joinery. I found out about the competition in March and during my commute I would think about what I wanted the chair to look like. The design stayed in my head for about a month or so, then I made a few hand sketches to just get the thoughts on paper. After that I made some different renditions and put it into CAD to make sure it was actually ergonomically sound and made sure it could actually be built. I ran it by my dad and close friend that actually build furniture to make sure that the design could actually be built. I would say the whole process was about two months or so. The best space that it’s probably best suited for is a hospitality space, whether it is in a hotel, high-end lounge or restaurant. It would also work great in a residential space.
Q: You also mentioned on the website that “It is in the smallest of details that the flavor of life is savored” is your favorite quote. What does this quote mean for you and how does it influence your designs?
A: I think that I am very meticulous and all about the details. I believe that it is in the details that can make or break the design. This is true for product design as well as for a complete interiors package for a space. I can look at a light, look at the details of that light, and determine whether I like it or not. I can like most of it, but if there is one tiny detail like the canopy of a light fixture or the way hanging cord is attached to the socket that I hate, then I won’t use it. I went on a modern architecture home tour in Atlanta and I liked the exterior architecture of some of the homes but once inside the home, I strongly disagreed with the approach to the interior design. It didn’t relate to the language of the home’s exterior design. I really like for everything to coincide, as well as for the details to be thought through. The quote can also be applied to my life. I don’t want to miss out on any of the details in life. Our lives are all so busy and I don’t want to miss out on anything because it’s in life’s everyday moments or details that will create memories for a lifetime.
Q: How did it feel to have your design recognized in the competition?
A: I think it was so cool, I was pretty blown away. I didn’t think I had a shot. When I got the e-mail I was totally shocked. In the voting process when people were sharing it on Instagram and Facebook, the most important comments for me were from people I didn’t even know. Obviously, my friends and family are going to compliment the design because they have to and they’re biased. The most amazing comments were from the people that didn’t know me at all that were noticing the details of my design and loving it. Artists and designers tend to be subjective of their work, but to get positive responses from various people was really gratifying.
Q: The prize for winning the design competition was a trip to Venice, Italy. Was the trip to Venice your motivation for entering the competition, or was it simply creative motivation?
A: It was the creative motivation. I love entering into different competitions. It really allows you to stretch your abilities outside of the daily projects. It was really exciting to design a piece of furniture. In school I did a lot of furniture design in my projects; this has always been something I’ve enjoyed doing. Of course getting the trip would have been awesome, but it was more for the competition and creative motivation.
Q: What would be your advice to those young aspiring designers who are looking for a career in the interior design industry?
A: There’s just so much to tell them that it is hard to narrow down. Young designers will get a great foundation in school, but there will be much more lessons to learn once they are on the job. So the sooner someone can get an internship, the better. If someone wants to make it their career and not just a job, I recommend continual research and learning. Also, I strongly encourage this; interior designers should learn about construction. They need to have a solid background in construction; I would even recommend getting a minor in construction. It will help so much, especially in the commercial sector; because they will be able to design while understanding how the space is being built this will contribute to creating a great relationship with the architects and contractors. Understanding the architects and contractors point of view, gives a designer a tremendous advantage instead of simply comprehending the interior design side of the business.