Donna Collins is a creative Interior Design and Architecture Practice. We got the chance to interview her about what her company does, and what her creative career has been like so far! We love being able to hear different people’s creative journey and sharing their story.
What does Dot Projects do?
Dot Projects is a creative Interior Design and Architecture Practice. I’m a sole practitioner and so really I named the business Dot Projects because my work is a collection of the Projects that I do. I like the idea of working collaboratively with other creatives and wanted the name to be inclusive of any type of creative endeavour, whether that be an architectural design, an interiors project, a collection of photos, a drawing, painting, an article I write for the paper – or anything else that may come along and that I’d like to be involved in. Naturally as I’m starting out in business my work is almost entirely small scale domestic architecture projects and commercial interior design, as that is where qualifications and professional design experience lie.
Dot is a variation of the many nicknames my family gave me as a kid. I liked the idea of incorporating an element of my own name into the business and it relates to my final year college project which looked at the idea of a single dot developing into a line, then a plane and organically developing into a type of built form. Every project starts with a Dot and becomes something unique and special.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to set up Dot Projects?
I had the choice of study either architecture or art at university and so I made the personal compromise of studying architecture at an art college in Edinburgh College of Art, deciding I could incorporate the artistic practices all around me into my design work and have the best of both worlds. I did this and alongside architecture studio projects spent a full term working at the Edinburgh sculpture Workshop exploring different crafts and methods of making, reflecting this in my project work. I loved the study of architecture in this way and went on to gain my professional qualifications and worked in large practice for years in order to do this. I have always enjoyed working on small, or to put it another way – human scale, projects and was naturally drawn to focus my work on the Interior aspects. For me you can focus on how a space will be used and the overall feel of a place through the use of colour, texture and light, really bringing a feeling to life and making buildings enjoyable places to be.
I’ve worked in architectural practices, interior design studios and for property developers but I have always sought to marry my love of art, design and architecture together in a really creative way and I felt the time was right to try to do this myself.
What/who influences/motivates you?
Artists such as Camille Walala I adore. She has such a distinctive and fun style, it is bold and unapologetically Walala! She has been able to work as a visual artist yet also complete a stunning interior design scheme for the hotel Salt of Palmar in Mauritius which is absolutely beautiful and just emanates her style. She has produced large scale mural art on buildings and designed various fashion ranges working seamlessly between different disciplines.
Roisin Lafferty of KLD interiors is a big inspiration as I just really love their work and it always is so creative and finished to an extremely high standard.
I’m really influenced by such a wide variety of people from all walks of life. I feel inspired by people who are taking risks to do something they love. There are so many of my contemporaries just going for it and doing their own thing whatever that may be and seeing that always spurs me on.
What has been your biggest hurdle and your proudest moment or accomplishment with your business so far?
My biggest hurdle has been to really truly believe in myself. I’m probably naturally quite shy so it’s been a challenge to really put myself out there and promote myself but life is all about self development and the whole process has really taught me to value myself and be proud of the work that I do.
My proudest moments are honestly every time the phone rings and I get a new enquiry. Getting positive feedback from clients also makes it all feel worthwhile, like your work is really making a positive contribution to that person.
Could you give some advice for any young, emerging entrepreneurs?
If you have a good idea, then truly believe in yourself then just go for it. Life is short and if it doesn’t work out, dust yourself off and move on to the next thing. If you sense you’re not in the right place now that probably isn’t going to change, so you have to. One thing I’ve learned from speaking to other people that have started their own business is that if you have that itch, it probably won’t go away until you try it, so get at it!