'There has never been a better time to be a woman in the property industry'
Joint winner of the Emerging Talent award at the 2017 KPMG Irish Independent Property Industry Excellence Awards, Roisin Lafferty speaks about her work
When I heard my name called out as joint winner of the Emerging Talent award at last year's property awards, it felt really, really good. There was a certain validation, a validation of Kingston Lafferty Design's creative approach and execution, and the value and importance of our contribution in a highly-competitive and thriving industry.
In a year where one of our company's goals was genuine collaboration, sharing the award with Joe McGinley, founder and CEO of Iconic offices, after recently collaborating on a series of projects together, was further cause for celebration. It was also wonderful to see other brands and businesses that we continue to collaborate with, including Cairn Homes Plc, as winners on the night.
I love my job, I love the industry and the amazing creative and talented people it attracts. I feel very lucky I get to recreate my dreams and imagination for a living. I have worked hard to get where I am - I have had to build my business acumen up from zero, exercising that muscle to come somewhat closer to my creative ones. I am so proud of KLD and what it has achieved. We currently employ people from all over the world, which adds further diversity and design perspectives.
I could not have done this without all the amazing designers, artists, collaborators and mentors I have worked with over the years. At KLD we are uncompromising about the relationships we build. We come with a creative passion matched with and deep understanding of the industry we are in.
The KLD approach
Interior architecture and design is a carefully researched and crafted discipline placing human behaviour at its core to provide improved ergonomic environments. It is important for us to create exciting spaces for all our clients. What we look at in KLD is how these spaces are inhabited and experienced, be it workspaces, hospitality, retail or residential.
For example, in the workplace we look at the human form and its actions in the space and endeavour to design a holistic embodied sensory experience, creating connection between the human body and the architectural body.
All aspects, from the initial layout to the integrated lighting, furniture and build up of materials and finishes are considered. The KLD approach ensures the best result for our clients; adding value to people's lives and to businesses and brands.
Times are extremely exciting for KLD with a cluster of thrilling, creatively-led projects ongoing across hospitality, student living, office and retail sectors to name a few.
One such project is almost complete. The Vaults, a new tourist attraction based in central Dublin in a stunning Victorian schoolhouse, is the first of its kind in the city. Fusing Irish history, drama and experiential design, The Vaults takes visitors on an exciting journey culminating in a stunning parlour, which we designed. The parlour is a combined café and retail space with whimsical and playful references, delicious food and drinks. Look out for it.
Women in the industry
There is no doubt that 2017 and 2018 were both extraordinary years for women. The #MeToo movement has been a global phenomenon, a wake-up call which demands that both women and men look at themselves and question their belief systems to decide what is acceptable and what is not.
While there is no question that property and construction have been, and remain male-dominated, there has never been a better time to be a woman in this industry. Women now have more agency than ever before - witness the stunning work done by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara of Grafton Architects, who are trailblazers.
My own discipline of interior design and interior architecture can be seen by some as fluffy and secondary. However, it is the interior of a building that everyone experiences the most. The spaces you surround yourself with impact on you hugely. The most important thing for KLD is to make these spaces beautiful, unique and exciting. That is what has been at the core of our success.
• The 2018 KPMG Irish Independent Property Industry Excellence Awards is now open for entries; see propertyexcellenceawards.com