Finding an Eye for Design

Design is often in the detail – the small touches or bringing to mind a memory or emotion

Article by Marie Soliman

Favourites Place: Cala Presili
Moment in history: Now, this moment.
Drink: Daiquiri
Things in your house: A piece of old Victorian door that I have sanded and painted myself to form a piece of art
Time of day: Early mornings; a new page everyday.
Book/film: The girl with the dragon tattoo
Quote: There are plenty! They grow by the day. I have my own “Bible board” on Pinterest. It’s almost as a diary of emotions and lessons. But for a good four years the winning quote is: “A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.” Mandela

Over the past 14 years, I have been so lucky working globally and designing side by side with some of the world’s best designers from HBA, to Lawson Robb and IDS. I took my experience and started out on my own creating Bergman Interiors. I often ask myself, “what if I fall?” but then I always hear myself say “but what if you fly!?” It’s this mentality that means I never stop trying or believing that anything can happen if you keep working for it. From sketching in nature to painting massive canvases; designing, creating and art are my daily routine and passion, alongside raising my beautiful daughter who has helped me connect with myself and others like never before.

The most common question I get is how do you design a space? What do you do? Or what are the steps?  To design a space is to start dreaming about it as if I am going to live there – as if it were my own home. Designing a private residential space has very different and more subtle demands and offers a unique experience that is completely different to my work in hotel and commercial design. For me, it’s all about the quality of presence and belonging, creating a space that is beautiful yet functional.

I always advise clients to invest time in research before purchasing any item; it is important that the pieces unite as a composition not just selecting a one-off piece. It’s a common mistake that people like a sofa so they buy it, but sadly it doesn’t work with the lounge seats or light style that they already have so then everything has to change around the sofa.

Choosing the right art is extremely important. Art has the ability to completely transform a space and add a sense of luxury, providing a focal point within a space. A piece of art can turn a simple living room with basic furniture into a stunning space. As I tell my friends, a good tip is that a colourful piece of art can detract the eye away from any mistakes such as uneven walls. If you don’t have the budget for art then another trick is to have a play with rugs. Rugs can be the art of any room and help uplift the floors, whether they are rich floors or simple tiling. Use IKEA and then add a touch of glamour from someone like Jonathan Adler with a few accessories from perhaps Lux Deco. Trust me – no one will realise it’s IKEA! Having said that IKEA now has a beautiful range from Tom Dixon so check it out.

Every client and every house has a different story that creates the perfect platform to design something spectacular and unexpected. My advice to those starting out, is to picture an empty room as a blank canvas just waiting to be coloured. Using a neutral palette is key to creating a timeless look; it’s easy to compliment a neutral base with dazzling pieces of furniture and colourful artwork, lighting and accessories. For example, at I love using warm materials when designing homes; a rich ash oak timber floor with a hint of brass detail in the furniture to create a feeling of rough elegance.

I seek inspiration for my work through travel searching for stories behind people, places, sound, and nature. I bring these stories home with me and often find that they enable me to see the world from a different perspective which I strive to bring to my work. Working primarily with paint and non-traditional materials such as alcohol ink, yupo, chalk and acrylic, my recent works are a reflection of my travels in different cities, cultures and nature. I spend time collecting moments from wooded areas, butterflies, ocean views and peaceful lakes, translating them through art. I would advise anyone stepping into design or art to use their passion, their experiences and their stories to inspire what they do, more often than not this leads to the unexpected and the wonderful.

I love the quote written by William Morris, ‘the true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of the daily life,’ and this is at the heart of what we strive to achieve at Bergman Studio. We respect and understand each of our clients’ lifestyles to enable us to design a space that makes their life more enjoyable.

Through life whether business or personal I also live by the quote of Nelson Mandela “A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.” But I have added “fearing no mess.” Over the years I have learnt to never believe that you are destined for one job, one passion, one career. As a child my father loved creating sculptures and I used to help him create small sculptures and as a child revel in the mayhem and mess that the process created. As an adult, I used my passion for arts and shaping things to create something beautiful to help friends and family choose furniture pieces and art for their houses that reflected their personalities and styles, this led to where I am today – a designer and artist. riddle_stop 2


“Always trust the process, there are no mistakes”


Marie is one of the founders of Bergman Interiors.



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