Candice Van Dyk

Mooi Design is delivering some of the most stylish and eye-catching rooms in Canterbury, thanks in no small part to the international experience and wide-ranging inspiration of owner Candice Van Dyk. We asked her about what makes good design so important during our latest interiorgation…

Firstly, what’s the last piece of design that really impressed you?

I spend a lot of time in Hong Kong and recently visited the mind-blowing Iron Fairies Bar. The eclectic décor includes an installation of some 10,000 preserved butterflies suspended on tiny metal rods overhead. Watching them sway back and forth was simply mesmerising.

Why is interior design important?

It’s about how a space functions but also about the mood it creates. I truly believe that we draw from our surroundings. If we’re surrounded by a space that makes us feel happy, calm and inspired then that becomes the energy we convey to the rest of the world.

As many designers have said before me, creating a beautiful setting is important, but it needs to function. I don’t think enough people credit interior designers for achieving this functionality.

We always strive to understand how a room is used, how individual pieces should interact and how we can pull all of those pieces together to create a cohesive space that can function perfectly.

Talk us through your design methodology? Who inspires you?

We always begin with the client, what their tastes are, how they use the space and what they want to achieve. Many clients know what they like but aren’t confident in selecting furniture or pulling a coherent scheme together.

While my design offsider Renee and I love certain looks and colour combinations these may not be what our clients love. So our aesthetic will differ considerably from project to project. There are always limits to time and budgets too – and people want to get it right the first time. We take pride in getting it right.

We pull inspiration from many places. I highly regard Eve Waldron, whom I worked with in the U.K. Eve has both a fantastic style and can deliver large scale projects. She can creatively direct a concept through to installation. I adore Australian interior designer Greg Natale. His use of colour and texture, bold and sharp patterns is masterful.

Then there’s the work of Kelly Wearstler, whose use of strong, contrasting scale patterns on a large scale is truly striking. Catherine Martin, the multi-talented textile designer is also influential. We love her James Dunlop and Mokum fabrics. NZ artists Greer Clayton and Gordon Walters epitomise what we cherish about art. We love the impact their works can have on a space.

What dangers do you see in blindly following design trends? Is New Zealand hooked on “fast fashion”?

We tend to avoid following trends because we design with longevity in mind. There are some great trends around at the moment, things like black tapware for example, but we want our clients’ spaces to look fantastic in ten years time and, as importantly, to reflect their style after this time.So, while we can pull on aspects of a ‘current trend’, it’s wiser to draw most of our inspiration from the people who will use the space.

New Zealanders are sensible when it comes to design. We are modest, not flashy, and definitely embrace a more ‘humble’ lifestyle than the interiors I worked on overseas.

My feeling is that New Zealanders will certainly pay for quality – but they expect longevity from their furniture and designs. They don’t want to spend thousands of dollars every year updating their look to be ‘current’. Yes, there is a section of New Zealand society that is focused on fast fashion. However I think our clients are focused on quality.

This is where working with Kovacs is great, because the furniture is made here. I can take clients to the showroom, and we can look out to the factory and see our couch being made.