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In conversation with photographer and digital storyteller Shini Park

In conversation with photographer and digital storyteller Shini Park

Meet photographer and digital storyteller Shini Park. We chatted to her about the role vintage plays in her interior design choices, where she goes for inspiration, and what Vinterior pieces she is coveting.

How do you describe your interior design style?

I like to believe that I’m still deep in the journey of finding my very own ‘style’, but I’m starting to sense a lot of preference towards Japandi minimalism with a touch of Bauhaus geometry, Mediterranean tactility and a flair for Art Deco. I find the most joy in marrying geometry with organic forms; so generally my staple pieces (i.e coffee table, sofa, dining table) are vintage that defines the space, topped off with a bit of colour, organic, and quirky accessories to add personality.

Where do you go for inspiration?

I try to steer away from what’s trending on social media and look for ideas in old films and vintage photo books. The number of times I’d found inspiration in the background of a photo in a rare coffee table book or a painting is astounding! I’m still on the hunt for an art deco sofa as seen in a Vilhelm Hammershoi painting.

What part does vintage play in your interior design?

Not only does finding a vintage ‘centrepiece’ – a protagonist of the room if you will, ensure that my space is not affected by the ever-changing trends, but it also acts as an ode to the architecture, life’s circumstances and the cultural context of the city that I live in. I’ve collected design classics, all pieces that truly represent the history and culture of where I lived: in London, I sought after heritage and young talent (Chippendale, Tom Dixon, Fred Rigby), in Copenhagen I delved into the magnetic world of Scandinavian sensibilities, and in Warsaw, I discovered post-war gems that bottled decades of suppressed design history and utilitarianism.

Do you think your fashion style influences your interior design style or is it the other way around?

It’s a two-way conversation! The echo is similar, however, for both fashion and interiors: I seek investment pieces that can stand the test of time, vintage treasures that inject an appreciation for art history, and a conscious effort to be more sustainable by way of purchasing previously-loved or vintage items and giving them a new lease on life.

Do you have any favourite furniture designers or design eras?

I used to live right next door to Gubi and Lisbet Olsen in Copenhagen and grew to love their ideology for design. Their apartment was more of an art gallery and I absolutely adored the influence of abstract and fine arts in their everyday life. I’m always on the search for pieces from Charlotte Perriand, Gio Ponti, and Aldo Rossi so I suppose my preferred design era would be the post-modernist 50/60s, although I have a penchant for traditional Korean Hanok interior geometries and the gilded glamour of Art Deco!

One piece of advice when buying vintage/preowned furniture?

Don’t be afraid to experiment. Buying vintage is entering the exciting world of art history, so don’t hesitate to buy and sell as you find the perfect combination of form & function. Also, if you have the skills and talent, please buy worn-down vintage and repair/restore them, a bit of love and care goes a long way.

One piece of vintage furniture you recommend buying and do you have your eye on any pieces of furniture at the moment?

I have my eyes on a Jean Royere sofa, but a Noguchi lamp will never go out of style.

What are you currently reading and do you have a favourite reading chair?

Regrettably, I’ve fallen out of the habit of being able to sit down and read a novel these days (I blame social media and my ever-shortening concentration span) but when I have the time, I sneak in a page or two from Fernando Pessoa’s “The Book of Disquiet”, which always has profound wisdom – or at least a curious insight into the state of being, that revitalises me when I’m a little jaded. My favourite reading chair is a vintage rattan chair, made by an unknown craftsman based in Peterborough.

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