Conversation with new GSA Associate Michelle Jansen van Rensburg
Published on 18/04/2013 Group GSA
What place have you visited that inspired you?
I love to travel and if I had my life over again I would become a Travel Journalist, hopping from country to country immersing myself in the people and culture, and documenting it all in text and photos. I have been fortunate enough to have travelled a lot but there are still so many countries I have not visited. There are many travel destinations that inspire me simply by their natural beauty, history and culture…or good shopping…but ‘reality’ inspires me. The most inspiring country I have visited so far has been Mexico.
The country and people are poor, but their lifestyle and culture are colourful and vibrant. Their art and craft is naïve, human, not perfect. The next country I would like to travel to is Japan, because I love Japanese design, Sashimi and Sake…then India…Vietnam…China…Russia…etc.
What is your favourite designed space in Sydney?
I am a big fan of adaptive reuse of space, old industrial buildings where the original character has been juxtaposed with new modern elements. I love to buy my fruit and veg from Eveleigh markets on a Saturday morning, there is fantastic sense of community there. The old train sheds adjacent to the markets are not highly designed but they appeal to my urban personality. They are large flexible spaces that easily transform for all sorts of events.
Which artist/designer’s work inspires you at the moment?
My favourite Designer is Patricia Urquiolia. http://www.dezeen.com/tag/patricia-urquiola/. She is a product designer: furniture, lighting, fabric, tiles etc. Her work is global, feminine, ethnic, with beautiful textures and patterns. I am constantly inspired by her aesthetic.
Something about you that people don’t know?
Even though I am an urban kind of girl, I practice sustainable gardening principles at my home in Enmore: I grow veggies, I have a worm farm, compost heap and 3 chickens (fresh eggs).
What was your first job?
My first job was for a small interior design firm in Johannesburg South Africa: they specialised in hospitality and retail design. The office was located in a house that had a lovely big garden, pool and 2 dogs: and even though the work was quite fast paced, the environment was relaxed. If we worked on weekends, we would have a swim for a break. 16 years, many companies and many countries later, I am now thrilled with my position at GroupGSA and the opportunities and possibilities it holds for me and the Interiors Team.