A SitOnIt Seating Interview with Lorraine Malcolm
August 03, 2015
Lorraine Malcolm, Designer
Inner Design Studio
Is there a certain philosophy/approach you take to design?
My attitude is, “we’re there visiting, they live there”. We don’t push. We try to go with the attitude of “if you like polka dots, we like polka dots.” Now, within that, I look for what’s timeless in design and what’s innovative with new materials. I meet with representatives to find out about new materials, not just for healthcare but other areas, like hospitality. It’s a kind of cross-pollination between fields.
How did you get into design?
By accident! Growing up, I was always drawing clothing. When I went to O’More College of Design and took a tour of the fashion and graphic design. But it was really this beautiful old building, the Biltmore in North Carolina. It was a historic restoration – very Southern. And I applied and stayed in interior design.
I love fabric, patterns and colors. I love mixing floor patterns and accent walls. I always looked at fashion and bring in some of the old and the new.
How do you balance the ideal and the practical in your design? Does SitOnIt Seating or IDEON help with this?
Everyone wants the best they can get on a budget. SitOnIt Seating and IDEON help with that. I’ve used many of their products in the past. And the newer pieces like Wit – an affordable mesh back – are great.
I’ve used Wit in nurses’ stations and conference rooms because it has a nice line and a thin profile for small rooms. For patient chairs I’ve used Freelance and for nurses’ stations, I’ve used Knack stool. There are lots of great options.
I actually gave a Focus to my sister. She loved it!
What are the biggest challenges in your work?
Budget. Everyone wants their space to look better than what they had and depending on the budget that can be a challenge. Also, bariatric seating has become an issue. We’ll have beautiful task and stacking chairs and they don’t have a bariatric version, so if the users have to pull in chairs from other rooms they don’t flow. A lot of clients want all vinyl and polyurethane upholsteries and finding large-scale and look nice patterns can be difficult.
Was there a defining moment in your career and how did that affect you as a designer?
When I was asked to specialize in furniture I saw how much it helped pull together the design. I think visiting the Abbey Leix Mansion really made me shift my focus.
What inspires you in your design?
You can find art in anything you look at – nature, shadows on walls, leaves falling. I look at patterns in fabric but also colors and finishes. Furniture inspires me. But also, I had a friend’s arm tattoo inspire a floor pattern. So, anything!
What trend are you most excited about?
Patterns. Large and small. Also in vinyl and poly for texture. I like how benching is being used, for example a long bench with dividers and storage.
What trend are you least excited about?
Mauve! It’s back but browner. But not really anything. All patterns and colors come back around and that’s great.