When Britain takes centre stage at Ambiente, Janice Kirkpatrick can expect a big round of applause. She’s in charge of the 2017 partner country presentation, which will be very British and emphasise quirky individuality. It’s a great combination. The Scottish designer is not only an internationally renowned brand strategist, but also quite the expert on horses. We found out what other surprises she has in store.
Janice Kirkpatrick knows all about hard work. She keeps busy bees in the garden of her farm in south-west Scotland. Living so close to the sea the lives of these insects aren’t easy, but nectar from the iconic Scottish thistle provides the welcome boost they need. Janice loves her rural idyll and her Clydesdale draught horses. If you saw her in the stables with her wellies on, you wouldn’t think she was a leading graphic and product designer and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. It’s amazing just how many hats Janice can wear, from brand strategist and curator to Professor of Design at the Glasgow School of Art, she works for radio and television, edits and revises specialist literature.
- BBC Scotland Headquarters
A modern style career
Last but not least, Janice Kirkpatrick is a gifted entrepreneur. In 1986, together with her husband, architect Ross Hunter, she established the Glasgow-based design studio Graven, which undertakes interior design and luxury brand projects that are realised worldwide. The couple’s close cooperation is underpinned by a 30-strong team. Together they’ve won many prizes, successfully staged major brand presentations and created interior spaces. Their work includes the recent revamp of British Airways lounges, the redesign of the 500-seater restaurant ‘Lagune’ in VW’s Wolfsburg headquarters, interior design for the BBC Scotland HQ and the new, award-winning Radisson Red hotel concept. The interior of the hotel haven ‘Radisson Blu, Mall of America’ in Minnesota, which is attached to one of the world’s biggest shopping centres, also bears their straightforward, modern signature. Without this distinctive style, the small ‘Tinderbox’ café would not attract half as many customers, night and day – it’s only a hop, skip and a jump away from the design studio, with a bar straight out of an Edward Hopper painting.
- Radisson Blu, Mall of America
- Tinderbox café-bar
30 years’ work
‘When we launched the studio, branding was a new term in this sector and nobody had investigated corporate identity’ recalls Janice. As on her farm, Janice Kirkpatrick began to cultivate the strategic business tools she needed for premium design. Today she’s an authority on the subject and shares her bountiful harvest with students at the School of Art. Her most successful interior designs are in places where large numbers of people work and relax: in lounges, offices and hotels. Janice aims to create inspirational, sensitive spaces in which visitors can rest a while. Innovative, fresh features are her trademark, and she typically creates harmonious colour and form concepts which resonate all around the world. Yet Janice’s real signature lies in telling a historic or regional story using textiles or typical objects. One lovely example of this are the cheeky red fringes on the lamps at the restaurant at Glasgow’s luxury hotel Blythswood Square, a real institution built in 1823. They act as a reminder that this space was once a grand ballroom.
- Blythswood Square