With a reputation as an expert in luxury commercial and residential design, Sara Cosgrove has gone from strength to strength in the past few years. Since speaking at Decorex 2013 when working for The Studio Harrods, Sara has since gone on to establish her own design studio, and is currently working with the new Principal Hotel Group and Starwood Capital on a new European hotel brand development. With a palpable knowledge of design, and the passion to match, Sara is renowned for her attention to detail and ability to work with high net income clients.
Before joining us at this year’s Decorex as part of the Seminar Programme, we catch up with Sara to discuss her career, inspirations, and the influences between hotel and residential design…
Firstly, can you tell us a little about your role?
My role is incredibly varied at the moment. I am working on designing some beautiful new home products, as well as working with a new hotel group on over 10 hotel refurbishments. I am also travelling widely, attending design fairs, meeting with suppliers and other designers.
What first drew you into the world of interior design?
I have always been passionate about creativity and the arts, and initially wanted to become a fashion designer. I changed course quickly however and ended up studying design at KLC. I quickly realized that interior design gives you a fantastic opportunity to create new spaces and therefore new experiences for people.
Who or what would you say is your biggest inspiration?
I am very lucky to have had lots of great mentors during my life, but none more so than my parents. They were always passionate about working hard, and I have learnt a lot from them.
What is the biggest challenge in your working life?
Juggling multiple projects and multiple teams can be a big challenge; during busy periods it can be tough to find balance. Nonetheless when you love what you do it is always worth it in the end.
If you could describe your work in 3 words, what would they be?
Varied, layered, and evolving
What would be your favourite object in your own home?
I have a trunk that I use as a table, which belonged to my great grand mother. It still has the travel stamps she had when she travelled to America from Ireland and back in the 1920’s. It’s quite bashed up, but for me that reflects its very varied history. When I was a kid it was used as my toy box.
When we saw you at Decorex last year you were working for the Harrods Design studio, can you tell us a little about this?
I was with Harrods for over 5 years, whilst I was there I set up the in-house private commission design studio, it was an incredible role where I oversaw lots of varied design projects and teams.
What made you make the decision to start you own interior design studio? And how has it been going?
I have worked for many top industry names and felt that the time was right to do my own thing. I am now working with a new and reinvented Hotel firm on a fabulous new hotel brand, which I am very excited about.
What does the future hold for you?
Lots of travel and lots of creativity! I have stared work on my own range of home products inspired by the natural world of Ireland. We are also planning on relaunching several hotels in the UK, which will be very exciting.
You are speaking at Decorex on the influences between hotel and residential design, can you tell us a little about your thoughts on this?
I work on both residential and hospitality projects so have to constantly adjust my approach. Residential design is so personal and intimate to the individual, whereas with hotel design you are trying to create an environment that will appeal to a wide range of people but on an intimate level. What always fascinates me is how many hotels are influenced by the residential design world and how hotels often influence private homes. I started to think more and more about why this is. So we will be exploring this topic further in my talk…
As a renowned figure within the industry, what would your advice be for aspiring designers?
It’s a very exciting time for the industry, with a lot of exciting projects going on. In order to stand out you need to be passionate, be up to date on industry trends, work hard and network!
If you could describe Decorex in 3 words, what would they be?
Exciting, industry led and a must-see!