Hi Virginia, can you tell us a little about your background in the Design Industry?
I’m an Architect who loves Interior Design. I grew up in Dunedin and studied at the Auckland School of Architecture in the 1990’s. The school was a good grounding in design – while I felt a bit daunted embarking into the (now very) regulation driven world of construction, I feel we were pushed to develop our creativity and problem solving skills, which has served me well over the years.
Soon after graduation I started working on projects for myself, and have since run my own Architecture practice, Lino Architecture. (www.lino.co.nz). I’ve been lucky to have designed and been involved in some amazing projects. Mainly smaller-scale residential work, I love the contact with clients and seeing the huge difference good design makes in people’s lives. My favorite projects have involved commissioning custom fittings and furniture pieces, – we’ve done everything from screenprinting vinyl for bench seats, to die-cut steel screens.
I now have 3 children, and have managed to continue working alongside motherhood – so I’m lucky to have a career that has given me the flexibility to work my own hours.
Having always had a passion for wallpaper and fabric, in 2012 I came up with the idea for an iPhone app that would ‘recognise’ patterns, and let you know where to buy them. Through a friend I was introduced to computer programmer Steven Dodd, and we have since been developing our app ‘patternsnap’ (www.patternsnap.com). I’m thrilled with the way the app has developed – we now have nearly 50,000 samples on the app, from over 170 brands, with more companies joining us every week. As well as using image recognition to identify similar patterns, the app lets you browse the collections, save and group favorites, share and view details, colourways and product shots. We see it as an incredibly useful design tool – we’re releasing a manual search function later this month, and aim to develop more features particularly catering to Architects and Interior Designers.
Was there a ‘lightbulb’ moment with Patternsnap?
Yes there was – I didn’t get my first iPhone until late 2011 (how had I coped before then!), and I distinctly remember how amazed I was the first time I used ‘Shazam’, – the app for identifying songs. I remember thinking it would be great if an app could do that for visual things. I’d often be travelling and see great shop and restaurant interiors, but wonder what the beautiful fabric or wallpaper was. I couldn’t find any app out there that did just that, so I thought there might be a market for one. I had also recently discovered pinterest, and realised there were huge numbers of other people out there, like me, who coveted fabric and wallpaper, and interiors in general.
It was therefore a particular thrill for us last year when Harper’s Bazaar called patternsnap ‘The Shazam of the Interiors world’, as that really was the initial inspiration.
What have been some of the challenges and rewards with Patternsnap?
To date, we’ve largely self funded patternsnap, with some help from family and friends – and it has been quite a lot of work, which I have been doing alongside my Architecture business. So it has meant lots of late nights and quite long hours, and a seemingly never-ending ‘To Do’ list!
However, when I read blog or press articles about the app, and realise that someone on the other side of the world is using our product, and loving it, that makes it all worthwhile.
We’ve also got a great team, and I love working with them, dreaming up new developments, and sharing the triumphs. Jeannie, who writes our blog, and is in charge of Internal Marketing, has a limitless supply of enthusiasm for patternsnap, and that comes across in everything she does.
What we have all really enjoyed, is creating this wonderful new way to explore fabric and wallpaper – there really are some stunning, bespoke designs on patternsnap, from incredible designers that we have discovered, from all over the world. The feedback from our wallpaper and fabric designer community has been fantastic as well.
You are obviously very confident with colour and pattern – can you give our readers any advice regarding design in their own homes?
I have quite eclectic tastes, and you are right, I am a bit nuts about pattern and colour.
I think our homes, even more so nowadays, are really like our sanctuaries – where we can relax and be ourselves. So my decorating advice is always to make it personal, and make it mean something to you. There are so many incredible products out there, and wallpaper and fabric are relatively inexpensive ways of making a huge difference in an interior.
Be bold and express yourself in your interior. I think if you can find something – whether it is a wallpaper, or a piece of art, that you absolutely love, then a scheme comes together from that really easily.
Thanks to Virginia from Patternsnap
You can read more about Patternsnap here