Enrica Van Der Linden from EVDL Architectural Design, and Kim Williams from Kim Williams Design, haven’t quite got their heads out of the clouds just yet.
At the end of last year, the formidable duo was internationally recognised with four honourable mention awards at the International Design Awards (IDA) for their Enamel Clinic Design Project titled Organic Harmony. The celebrated Cape Town based interior designer and her architectural-genius associate were collectively tasked with transforming 1000m2 Enamel Clinic space in the mother city into something that was comforting, soothing to the soul and a world away from the sterile unattractiveness typically associated with dental practices.
Work began during the height of the pandemic and despite this placing additional pressure on the entire team, their bespoke and sustainable, never-seen-before concept has quite literally been the talk of the design world. It earned them a place in the official selection of projects for the IDA and even a finalist position for the coveted Loeries Award in the Interior Design subcategory.
They share their fantastic achievements with their client, Enamel Clinic, who undoubtedly have been the biggest winners. Not only does their beautiful and enticing new space create a unique customer experience, but it has also improved employee morale and created a four-fold increase in revenue.
There have been several plusses for the professionals too, who explain that entering any type of competition, whether local or international, is a dream come true for any designer worth their salt.
“Not only is it a wonderful opportunity to showcase to the world our creativity, hard work and passion for our craft, but it gives us recognition and helps set us apart from others in the industry,” says Van Der Linden.
It’s a sentiment echoed by Williams who credits confidence as the biggest takeaway from their fantastic win. “For designers like us, being acknowledged and being able to showcase our work on the same platform as some of the best in the world is a huge achievement and a lifelong dream. It just boosts the confidence our clients have in us and our designs.”
Sprinkling magic from the very beginning
The Enamel Clinic was a very special project from the get-go and one that doesn’t come around often for designers.
“The client gave us complete design freedom to execute our vision for their space and once they had seen the visualisation of the design, they were exceptionally excited by what it could do for their brand,” says Van Der Linden
There were plenty of challenges along the way, especially with regards to technical equipment which had to be positioned correctly but most of these tend to be unnoticeable to the naked eye.
A lot of thought went into creating a space that was not just functional but was soul comforting. Using curves instead of straight walls, floors and ceilings, and rounded shapes, as well as sustainable elements and décor pieces from local artisans, they transformed a space giving it an organic and harmonious feel, making clients feel more connected to nature and leading them out of a defensive state – a central behavioural psychology strategy.
Whilst it was overwhelming and daunting to submit all the required documents for the awards, the process did give the duo a welcome chance to reflect on how beautifully their design and décor ideas married together.
“This entire process validated our holistic approach; from understanding the client, their brand, and the experiences they were trying to create, and then translating that into a visual and sensory experience with interior elements that enhanced our clean, organic, and very minimalist design,” says Williams.
Looking ahead, the future for this creative partnership looks incredibly promising. “Often as a designer, it is challenging to motivate your clients into a new way of thinking and shift their vision towards something they are not accustomed to seeing every day. The awards demonstrate to our clients that they can trust our design vision for their spaces.”
To close, Williams and Van Der Linden share the following five top tips for any budding designers who have their sights set on earning a gong or two in the next few years:
- It’s never about you – the core of any good design is being able to understand what someone else is trying to achieve and the experience they want to create.
- Be as unique as you can: good design is never a cut and paste and so try and bring something unique to the project that will make it special.
- Don’t compromise – no matter how small the budget is, never compromise on a sustainable design concept.
- Be fearless: Keep pushing boundaries and taking risks. That is when the most beautiful designs come to life.
- Show up for your client – give it your best always. Hard work pays off.
To read more about architectural designer, Enrica van der Linden, visit www.enricavanderlinden.co.za, and for more about interior designer and behaviour strategist, Kim Williams, go to www.kimwilliams.co.za.