- Technology allows clients to visualise the translation of a brief into concept
- Social media hasn't changed the game, but has doubled down on need for wow-factor
- The mix of Scandinavian minimalism and Eastern antiques creates a new niche
In the final instalment of Ex Animo with Samantha Drummond, we look at the other design considerations she has to make, not just the business strategy but the client interactions, social media, and the nexus between an eastern and western design aesthetic.
Ms Drummond was, like many in design, fond of pen and paper. As technology advanced, it became an increasingly important part of presenting a design vision to a client.
Much of her work takes place face to face and involves a deal of trust.
“A lot of my work is quite tactile, and it’s difficult to do over Zoom”.
“With high net worth clients, they are demanding and rightly so”, Ms Drummond said. “These are big-budget projects, and I have to be face to face”.
Technology has bridged the gap to an extent, but the challenge of distance remains.
High-quality renderings and virtual reality allowed Ms Drummond and her team to animate everything upfront, giving clients a feel for how she has translated their brief into near reality.
“I’ve learnt to use technology upfront, not just renders but full animations”.
The Instagram moment
Captivating a guest has always been at the heart of what Ms Drummond does, and when I asked her what difference the Instagram moment has had on her work, she said it shone more of a light on it.
With social media being so prominent now, what previously lived in the words of fine raconteurs and imaginations, is now waiting to be shared by visual media instead.
Social media wasn’t always on her mind before, but she said she’s now paying more attention to it.
“I really underestimated the power of social media and didn’t use it to the fullest potential. It’s changed significantly over the last five years”.
Consonant with her drive to create pure wonderment, Ms Drummond indicated what could form part of an upcoming project in the Philippines.
We have since become familiar with water displays, projections made onto canvasses of water erupting from fountains or descending from waterfalls. An example of such displays, but not of Ms Drummond’s, include the centrepiece of Jewel, Changi Airport in Singapore.
In the new development, Ms Drummond foreshadowed, water will not be the medium of choice.
Instead, stunning glasswork will act as a backdrop for displays to be projected onto. It was a tough find, but she said she was put in touch with world-renowned artist Nikolas Weinstein to create the glass pieces.
The vision behind the art has seen it move beyond a projection medium to being truly integrated into the resort space, wrapping around the main escalator as it takes guests up.
“It’s based on mangrove vines, an art piece you can walk through”.
“That’s the level I’m trying to take it to now”, Ms Drummond said. “Now more so, I’m trying to do more integrated ‘wow spaces’, rather than just a piece you look at. It’s nice to be able to walk through it and experience it, and it becomes part of the interior.”
The East-West nexus
Originally a family-based decision, the move to Europe has provided a welcome challenge and caprice to design work.
Ms Drummond said there is a wealth of opportunities in Europe, with many incredible canvasses to work on and aesthetics to develop.
“Europe has some absolutely beautiful cities and incredible buildings. To be able to refurbish and regentrify them, I think they’re quite exciting projects. I’d like to do some of those.”
The ancient castles and centuries-old heritage have a unique appeal to many tourists, however, she said that “a lot of these hotels haven’t been renovated for years”.
Aesthetic is also a unique proposition. Prior to Covid, tourists hailing from Asia were plentiful, but the market and aesthetic did not completely align.
“I do believe the European hotels and resorts could do with a little bit of an injection of a different aesthetic sometimes.
The Asian market has a different mindset, a different aesthetic and a different expectation.”
Ms Drummond said design cues were an intersect between east and west:
“I’ve been doing a lot of Scandinavian design with Asian antiques; I just like the aesthetic. It’s quite pared back.”
We will have to wait for these upcoming designs and what other work in Europe comes to fruition.
It was an incredible opportunity to speak with Samantha Drummond in this first edition of Ex Animo, with Ms Drummond setting the tone for future editions.