Best of 2015: Cristina Pell shares her eco interior design story

During 2015 we discovered many creatives who had the courage and vision to make big career changes to pursue their passions. Taking such a leap of faith isn’t easy, but is something many of us dream about doing. One such person is Cristina Pell. Read her story below.

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Eco interior designer Cristina Pell has taken some time to find her dream job. But without the journey that has got her there, she wouldn’t have the depth of knowledge she can apply to her work today. Born in Portugal, Cristina initially trained as an industrial designer with a special bent towards sustainability at the University of Lisbon. Moving to Australia 8 years ago, she married, started a family and worked in a photo framing business in addition to contributing as a stylist to a local magazine.  Always on the look out for good design, Cristina decided to undertake a Diploma in Interior Design and since then hasn’t looked back. Melding her interest in sustainable design, with her eye for creating special interiors Cristina launched her own business Eco Interior Design. Today, Cristina chats to us and shares her passion for designing sustainable interiors  – read on below!

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1.  What influenced to pursue a career in interior design and particularly eco interiors?

 I think, now looking back it was an evolving thing. It’s like a puzzle put together. Design always has been my number 1 choice when studying. When I undertook my degree in Industrial Design in 2005 (Lisbon), I already held an embodied attraction towards Sustainability. My final year thesis addressed how technology and sustainability could partner together for a common goal. But at the time I couldn’t work out how to be part of it.

My journey has taken me to different jobs- from owning a little photo gallery/ picture framing business which I sold it when I fell pregnant for the second time, to being a contributing stylist in a magazine on the Mid North Coast. Throughout my various jobs, my attraction for Design was always present.

My studies in Industrial Design enabled me to focus upon coming up with practical design solutions for various spaces or products, in terms of usability, user interface, ergonomics, functionality and LCA (life cycle assessment). When I later undertook a Diploma in Interior Design, I found my way in how to  practice Design in a sustainable  manner – by designing functional spaces with green and ethical products.

As a result, in 2012 Eco Interior (Sustainable Interior Design) was born!  My business ethos is to create beautiful, healthy and safe interiors that have an organic feel.  I achieve this by incorporating natural fibres, wood and stone products sourced  from ethical businesses.   It is amazing how much an interior can impact upon its inhabitants. As we spend 70-80% of our times indoors it is important to surround ourselves with things we love and at the same time maintain a good air quality!

2.  Where do you look for design inspiration?

 My natural curiousity makes me look in the most odd places! I’m constantly researching for new materials and design innovations.  For me travelling is a great source of inspiration, especially when immersed in remote places with the locals. Many old cultures are naturally in tune with the environment and are well adapted to it. I also love reading books and following design websites. Some that I follow include Dezeen, Yellow Trace, mechantstudio.com (french) and Pinterest.  All are great sources of inspiration.

Eco Interior

Eco Interior Design ~ Mood Board

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3.  Can you share one of your favourite eco interior makeovers?

 Sure! It just happens to be the one I’m working on now. It’s quite challenging but worth every effort. It is a 4 x 40 ft shipping container house- We’ve research every single bit and product that is going into it. It will feature a green roof using Eco Pillows which relieves weight, is cost effective and transportable. Big sliding doors facing north will capture the sun, passive energy principles have been incorporated, and of course sustainable materials and products are being used throughout the interiors.  A large outside deck will also wrap around a tree. It will have some points of interest and some elements of surprise that I can’t reveal just quite yet!

4. Who are some of your favourite designer and/or products?

One of my all time favourite designers are the Campanas Brothers (Brazilian Duo), and The Eames’.  I regularly admire their work, their life, their creativity and the context where/ when they lived. Their work is very inspiring. I also admire The Bauhaus school, the visionary curriculum joining expertise from all artistic fields, to create maximum functionality and useful products.  All of this in the 1920’s! Can you imagine how amazing it would be to have Kandinsky (among others) as your teacher?

In terms of products, I do have a soft spot for tiles and cork, maybe because of my heritage. Flax linen –  I love it. And Hemp. Hemp is so versatile, from building material, to fabrics, to skin care, to food supplements. Really, it’s an amazing fast growing plant that thrives with very little pesticides.

5. What would be your dream job?

 This is it. I love it! I took a while to get here but I loved every bit of its journey. But if you ask me what would be my dream project, I would have to say I would love to be part of a team where several areas of expertise would be present. I would love to create a modular long lasting dwelling with the possibility of future ad-ons and for it to be 100% sustainable located in a remote area somewhere.  It would be interesting to test it, live in it and perhaps mass produce it in a sustainable way for others.

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If you would like Cristina to help create your eco interior, do get in touch!

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