Interview with Gillianne Griffiths of Studio Griffiths

Gillianne Griffiths brings a highly disciplined and unique approach to all design challenges, having worked in diverse creative fields as a concert pianist, music director and interior designer. The elegant and harmonious nature of Griffiths’ compositions translate naturally from her musical background, resulting in simple, modern, livable spaces. Griffiths is the creative director of Studio Griffiths, a Melbourne-based Interior Architecture and Design practice, founded in 2014. The young studio is already celebrated: they’ve been shortlisted for major awards such as the Idea Awards 2017 and the Australian Interior Design Awards 2018. 

Gillianne Griffiths

What made you decide to launch your own practice? 
I began my career as a professional musician and was a music director for years but always had a huge passion and interest in architecture and design, so that led me naturally to studying design and eventually launching my own practice.

What is the biggest, unexpected challenge you face as an interior designer? 
Time management – I just find there are not enough hours in a day to balance the relentless deadlines and it’s tough to be a designer and business owner as you get pulled in so many directions all day! Managing client expectations are also a challenge – high expectations versus timeline and working within a budget can give you one big headache! However, the hardest challenge for me when you’re so busy is to try and stay on top of the latest trends. My design style is elegant, sophisticated and timeless so I find it challenging to stay true to this whilst being completely bombarded by social media. Whilst it’s important to stay on top of trends it’s equally important to know how to tastefully execute them that is synonymous to your style.

What did you learn as a professional musician that helped you most as an interior designer? 
Communication, listening and feeling. Music is a form of communication and has much in common with language – the two are almost inseparable as ingredients in any musical form. Like music, design is a creative process that involves combining compositions of shape, form and rhythm to produce a harmonious outcome. There are also many qualities in the language of music that are resonant in design – for me the two disciplines go hand in hand. Composition, shapes, rhythm and form are used to create harmony in music as they are in design. Music and walking into any space draw upon our senses – it is about listening, feeling and creating a mood.   

Studio Griffiths
Studio Griffiths, Main Ridge Residence [Image: Sharyn Cairns]
What do you love about working in Victoria?
I love Melbourne and most Melburnians who love their city are generally happy. Melbourne also has a really strong arts and music scene and there is always a lot happening from visual arts, performance, live music, design and it’s getting better and better!  

If you could design for anyone, who would you want to design for? 
Sarah Jessica Parker – I mean, can you just imagine that WIR and shoe closet design?

Is there an architect who has changed the way you work? 
I love so many but the minimalist and pure aesthetic of Vincent Van Duysen’s work really resonates with me. From his choices and execution of materiality, limited colour, wonderful use of texture – all his spaces just emanate calm and understated luxury!  

If you had to pick, who is the most exciting interior designer working today? 
Loving the work of Richards Stanisich (Kirsten Stanisich and Jonathan Richards). I also love David Flack’s work (too much colour for me) but his work is very exciting!

Are there any materials you particularly like to work with?
Wood, Concrete & Terrazzo. I am particularly drawn to natural materials such as stone and wood. I also have a great focus toward sustainability and the structural integrity of a building or interior. Therefore, my selections of materials will always gravitate to timelessness, sustainability and practicality. 

Studio Griffiths
Studio Griffiths, Toorak Residence [Image: Sharyn Cairns]
Favourite tool of the trade? 
Harvest time tracking software – changed my life!

Best design-oriented holiday destination? 
New York and Milan

Best vista in Australia? 
Cradle Mountain, Tasmania – I’m an avid skier so I naturally gravitate to mountains!

Worst blight in Australia? 
That monstrosity we call the Crown Casino

What books do you have on your bedside table?
Just finished reading ‘Brave’ by Rose McGowan – totally amazing!

Is there an artwork you have come across that has inspired your practice? 
‘Nature Hesitate’ by Sophia Szilagyi hangs proudly in our office. I love how she romanticises with nature and I certainly gravitate to her dark and moody melancholy which strangely enough I find very calming.

What in an upcoming project that excites you?
Currently on the drawing board and a wonderful opportunity is an exciting multi-res project in Armadale. 

If we learn something new every day, what is the last thing you learnt? 
Focus on the achievable goals and reward yourself for small milestones, and provide yourself with room to learn from any mistakes.

Gillianne Griffiths – Creative Director & Interior Designer
Studio Griffiths – – 1300 788 436 
Instagram: @studiogriffiths 



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