Profiles: Studio 34 South – Interior Architecture and Design Studio
Every few weeks we interview an inspiring entrepreneur or artist chosen from our online network, Profiles. This week: Studio 34 South.
Studio 34 South is a studio for interior architecture and design located in Amsterdam. Samantha Ellinson from Australia and Chechi Valentine from Buenos Aires set up the studio a year and a half ago. We talked to them about the transition from being an employee to being your own boss, about the synergy of working together and about what it is that makes their designs so special.
My career as an interior architect started in Australia before I moved to Amsterdam. Here I first worked for an international company and then for a local agency. I always wanted to work as an entrepreneur and at a certain point it was harder for me to keep working as an employee than it was to take a leap.
Of course running your own studio has it’s ups and downs, but there’s nothing I would rather be doing.
De link, Mr. Frank
When I started freelancing three years ago, it soon got too busy. In that period I rented and office at Mr. Frank (a movie production office at Brouwersgracht). When I spoke to the owner, Miguel Texeira, one day, I asked him about his experiences working with a partner. He immediately said: “You need to meet Chechi, I think you will get a long great.” He also said he liked working with a partner because it makes your company grow faster and it’s more fun.
Chechi: While this was happening I was still working for a studio and I wasn’t thinking about starting my own business. Miguel and I are good friends and he insisted I met Samantha.
Eventually we set up a professional blind date.
From a professional blind date to running a studio
Chechi: The meeting with Samantha definitely planted a seed. It got me thinking about a new scenario. Sam told me she had a lot of work and could use some help. I was working four days a week and I started to assist her one day a week, so she could take on a big project.
I was excited about the work we were doing together straight away. It got me more and more excited about the thought of quitting my job and seeing what would happen. One day I thought: let’s just do it!
We’ve been running the studio for one year and a half now and it’s remarkably fantastic. We really complement each other very well. We divide our work in a very natural way, often times without discussing it and the work process feels organic.
The best thing about running your own studio is the fact that you’re in charge yourself. In our area of expertise you mainly work for clients. When you work at a studio, the owner of the studio is the one that connect with the clients. He or she determines what happens and when. I really like talking to clients myself and making decisions about design and execution. It makes me feel more confident about my work as well.
Pompen & Verlouw – a car shop from the thirties turned to a restaurant
Samantha: One of the highlights in the past year and a half is the work we did for Pompen & Verlouw (a restaurant in Den Bosch, located in a former thirties car shop).
It was the first design I felt was really ours. With our own unique style. Sometimes things get compromised in the building process. Clients decide to pick a cheaper supplier or change the materials. Here everything turned out the way we planned it.
The building was completely stripped when we started. We had to renovate everything. It was important to us to maintain the DNA of the building. We wanted to use the architectural elements to remind visitors of where they are. The wooden bar for example makes you think of a fifties steering wheel. We wanted to revive the history of the building in the details. Because of all these detailing the building won the Kring Vrienden award for maintaining the authenticity of a public monument. In general our work has a strong conceptual focus. We enjoy making a plan and thinking about the smallest of details.
Sky is the limit
Samantha: Of course we’re still in the starting faze of our studio. But we’ve been very lucky with the projects that have come our way. We just decorated a gorgeous home in Amsterdam Oost en we’re really thankful for our network of former colleagues and friends that also brings us projects now and then.
In the near future we’d like to do more local and more international projects. We might expand to Australia one day, there’s still a lot of work to do over there.