AFDA talks to Rosina Di Maria

As principal, Woods Bagot you’ve led global projects, managed large teams and worked across countries, what does your role encompass?

My role is about leadership. Leading a team to be their best and to let them shine, I need to make sure I bring in the best opportunities to Woods Bagot. I do that by asking myself who will be the brand defining clients, clients that are life changing such as SAHMRI– which is a catalyst for the urban regeneration of a new medical and health precinct in the west side of Adelaide. Woods Bagot is a global firm that started in Adelaide 165 years ago so it’s not about location, it’s about world best and linking global into Adelaide.

How do you make a space inviting?

The first thing is to understand the value proposition. It doesn’t matter if it’s commercial, residential, hotels or hospitality, once you have a strong understanding of where you want to be you set the tone. Proportion and understanding how people relate to space is important. Essentially I am a mood maker. Understanding human beings so you understand how to provide for them, and evoke emotion is very important to creating an inviting space. Everything in a room has to speak to you, design cannot be superficial – volume, quality of materials, how things are placed – everything has to mean something. How you feel in a space is making sure that there is a story, a message and an outcome that’s communicated through design.

What are some of the motivations to choose the furniture and fittings for a space?

Furniture and fittings are tactile pieces that people will engage with, a person comes in many shapes and sizes so it’s important that we respond to a person and what that person needs. When you look at a space, you want to know how it will be used. As a designer, we have to bring the client something better, something they wouldn’t be able to imagine themselves. We need to create a new spatial experience.

What are some of the future trends in design?

We don’t talk about trends. We like to think that we are setting the new best example which people will then refer to. What we do is find inspiration from our surroundings. Our work is customised and tailored to each client.

What will you look for in the winning design? 

I’ll ask myself, if it’s aesthetically pleasing, Will it delight me? I will only judge it by what the designer was trying to achieve. How will it make me feel? How do I respond to the piece, what emotion does it evoke and is it made well with thought and precision of craftsmanship. These are the questions I’ll be asking.