(PJS)
Hey Sam, thanks for taking the time to chat with us. For those who don’t know you, what is it you do?

(SG)
Thanks Josh. I’m the Design Director at the interior design studio CTRL Space; a team of nine talented people and together we design spaces for both the NZ and AUS markets mainly in the hospitality category.


(PJS)
TWhat does an average day look like for you? Tell us some of the projects you are most proud of?

(SG)
Work, work, work (and some exercise if I can fit it in). I guess I put a lot of my energy towards creative thinking and problem solving with my team and clients. We’ve opened some bangers over the past year or so that have been received really well, including Hotel Ponsonby, Euro Restaurant, Lilian and most recently Siso.



(PJS)
WLate last year you won Emerging Design Professional of the Year here in New Zealand. That’s really cool. How was that experience for you? Does an award like that change things or does it just solidify what you were already doing?

(SG)
I was over the moon! I’ve worked hard to get to where I am and to receive such positive affirmation from my industry and professional peers was so rewarding. It certainly acknowledges that there’s value to your work, it’s a warm fuzzy feeling.


(PJS)
We’ve talked with interior designers and architects in the past who say there’s often a consistent style to their work. Is this the case at CTRL? How do you balance your personal style in balance with the firm’s?

(SG)
I’d say that’s one of the biggest creative challenges/ opportunities I have - to produce something unique each and every time. I must admit that there are often slight crossovers and design nuances that appear in more than one project but hey, it’s because they just work so well. In terms of my personal style, it honestly changes every month, I’ll let you know when I figure it out myself.


(PJS)
As a Design Director you must be responsible for leading some big projects. How do you stay on top of your game? Where do you draw insight and creative inspiration?

(SG)
Our projects are getting bigger for sure, especially when we work with a hospitality group or developer. I think confidence is key - I always try to be a step ahead. For inspiration I look abroad; Australia, Europe, Central America, the states, wherever my research takes me. I’m a sucker for comparing our work to that of the best overseas, always aiming to be at the top. I guess it’s creative competitiveness that drives my work.


(PJS)
Now a little more personal. How would you describe the way you dress? Are there any pieces in your wardrobe that define your style?

(SG)
This is a hard one! I’m super particular about cut and fabric, I’m into pieces that are slick and a wee bit unique. One of my favourite pieces is an oversized heavyweight navy denim jacket with classic stitching from Zambezi - I’ve worn it three winters in a row.


(PJS)
Tell us some of the items you can’t leave the house without?

(SG)
I discussed this with my partner this morning and to be honest it’s my blunt umbrella and a packed lunch, I can’t stand being wet or hungry.


(PJS)
What is some advice you’d like to give to anyone that would like to follow a similar path?

(SG)
Reach out to people who you admire, you’ll be surprised how willing people are to share their own experiences and knowledge. Also, just get stuck into a project and see what comes of it - effort is free.


(PJS)
Lastly, what does a life well-designed look like to you?

(SG)
I’m not going to lie - I’m pretty keen on the mansion with a pool and tennis court, bach on the beach, and a massive launch. But for now, I think a well designed life is a balanced life; work, play, projects, friends and family - all the good stuff.

In Conversation with Sam Griffin of CTRL Space