Working in architecture for years in Mauritius, it was a destined exchange with an Interior Designer that sparked a quiet realisation, one that would pluck Bruno Duval from his homeland and send him head-first into the creative world of Design. "I just left everything and decided to pursue my passion for Interior Design," Bruno recalls, having arrived in Australia 10 years ago, "I realised there was a much bigger world out there with a lot more opportunities."
Having studied at both CATC Design School and Design at Raffles College of Design, Bruno has over 15 years combined experience in Design and Design education, working across a variety of positions in leading architectural and design firms. Mainly focused on the application of design thinking, service design, experience design, sustainability and technology within built environments, Bruno's commitment to innovation and user-centered outcomes has since led him to teach others wanting sustainable careers in the industry.
Now the Head of Interior Design at Collarts, we caught up with Bruno to discuss Interior Design and how Design is an ever-evolving, ever-rewarding creative field that continues to inspire.
Hi Bruno, thanks for chatting to me. Tell me about yourself and your start in Interior Design.
Before I found my passion in Interior Design, I always wanted to become an Architect. That, paired with an obsession to understand how things are intricately connected, led me to join an architectural firm as an intern. During that time and prior to studying Interior Design, I worked for a variety of architects and designers in Mauritius. I was very fortunate as I contributed to the development of some amazing residential and commercial buildings such as the Mauritius Commercial Bank and Dubai Mall, which was the biggest shopping mall at the time—I was building my portfolio without knowing it.
" I want to inspire students to think globally. I want to equip them with the skills and ability to work on projects locally and remotely, while addressing real issues, obstacles, challenges regardless of time zones."
When did you realise you preferred Interior Design to Architecture?
Working on the Mauritius Commercial Bank with Koenig Architect was an eye-opener and a turning point in my career. The client brief was packed with new architectural and design challenges that resulted in a 10-storey 10,000m² building with open plan offices, auditoria and ancillary spaces.
The building was the first in the Southern Hemisphere to achieve a BREEAM (British Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) certification rating, through attention to orientation, shading, renewable energy and rainwater re-use. That was a turning point for me, where I realised how much I enjoyed Interior Design. But most importantly, that day I realised there was a much bigger world out there.
And this whole new world led you to study and teach Interior Design and move to Australia?
Yes, I arrived in Australia 10 years ago and completed an Advanced Diploma in Commercial Arts, Interior Design at CATC Design School located at The Rocks, Sydney. In a way, that's where my official Interior Design chapter started. After competing my Advanced Diploma, I worked for number of design firms such as Foster and Associates and MBBD where I was responsible of design concept, master planning and drawing documentation stages of several projects in Australia and overseas.
This led me to complete a Master of Design at Raffles College of Design in Sydney and provided me the tools and foundation to work in education. I then started teaching Interior Design which later led me to Blended, and Online Learning course development, coaching and lean project management.
"The skills you will learn studying Interior Design at Collarts will not only help you in a local context, but also allow you to spread your wings and tap into other markets."
With that passion behind you, what do you love about Interior Design and are hoping to inspire?
I love the challenge Interior Design brings, especially in commercial environment. Pairing strategy and psychology while applying design thinking and using technology to meet a client brief is invigorating. I want to inspire students to think globally. I want to equip them with the skills and ability to work on projects locally and remotely, while addressing real issues, obstacles, challenges regardless of time zones.
The skills you will learn studying Interior Design at Collarts will not only help you in a local context, but also allow you to spread your wings and tap into other markets. At the end of the day, good design is more of a way of thinking that's looking at the client needs and beyond—along with what's happening in different industries as well and trying to pull all that together as opposed to just focusing just on the look and feel, and working in isolation.
How does this desire to think globally inspire your teaching?
Over the last few years, there's been a shift in how people work not only in Design, but also in other industries. Being able to think big and operate on an international level is essential. I want our Interior Design students to start thinking about virtual reality, augmented reality and other tools cross borders and go above and beyond what traditional Interior Design is.
Totally. What advice would you give to people who are passionate about Interior Design, but may not feel that they come from the right background or lack the knowledge to get started?
Thinking about a career in Interior Design is a great first step because that means deep inside, you have an element of interest and passion you need to listen to. Capture your passion, bottle it, and make the most out of it. Interior Design is certainly an industry that's evolving, that's extremely exciting, and that offers skills that are transferrable.
Bruno Duval is the Head of Interior Design at Collarts, delivered in collaboration with Mercer School of Interior of Design (a division of Australian College of the Arts) .