Tina Vaia is an English creative consultant with a wealth of experience in making inviting physical spaces and interiors. She worked with J&M Davidson’s creative director Katie Hillier to imagine and produce a new look for the brand’s flagship stores in Tokyo and London.
JMD: Is your work systematic or spontaneous?
TV: I'd love to be more spontaneous and try to keep as much time for the creative part but it doesn't always work that way. Timing these days is always super quick, so you hope you get a clear brief that allows time for sampling and testing. Making my signature terracotta pots is a more organic and hands on process. For these I spend more time with Trini (a ceramist) and we talk about whatever manifests in production.
JMD: Tell us about the work you did for J&M Davidson and what that entailed.
TV: I refurbished both stores in Tokyo and London. As we decided not to complete rebuild the spaces, I used existing furniture and updated the interiors with new materials, such as resin and wicker, and added in my pots. I changed out simple things like shelving to give more personality and warmth that felt more on brand and added in small idiosyncratic props to give a bit more personality.
JMD: Describe your workspace? How often are you there?
TV: I have a studio in my apartment where I live in Valencia.... it's totally overcrowded, there’s only room for me and the dog. I start all the projects there, and then move onto Acierta (a production/design company) who have their own in-house fabricators which makes it easier for me when working on projects.
JMD: Where do you find inspiration for your projects?
TV: Travelling, as cliched as it sounds. I love old stores in Europe and obscure museums, I always come away finding something good.
JMD: What or who has had the biggest impact on your career?
TV: Probably Joyce Ma in Hong Kong. I went to work there years ago when she and Browns were probably the only multi-brand stores. She has a great vision, didn't stifle you and was always supportive of what you were doing.
JMD: What’s your favourite secret hideout in London?
TV: The Shakespeare Pub in Stoke Newington