I pursued Interior Architecture as a career because, I am passionate in seeing a new perspective into life on a day-to-day basis and helping to improve and inspire our wellbeing. I have always desired to be in construction since I was seven years of age – I was drawn to the whole process of building and developing a space. I explored in the basic areas of moving things around in my parents’ house, painting the walls, helping my mother to pick certain items for the house in my days of young. As I grew much older, my passion increased, and I was determined to make a career out of my fascination of buildings being constructed and making them beautiful.
I have always believed that architecture is a need and not a greed. It is a career that constantly gives back to the community and helps to define what a healthy lifestyle should look like and the energy we should have moving forward. Architecture encourages you to have a focused mind, think critically and helps to improve your perspective on what you want to see in your personal life.
What route did you take to becoming an Interior Designer?
I studied 3D- Art and Design at Richmond Upon Thames College in London, UK, and then went on to do a sandwich course at Portsmouth University to study Interior Architecture & Design. I exposed myself to various opportunities such as Design internships for 3-6months or taking up international contracts, small scale design works to expand my experience and portfolio.
The Reality: How does your work affect people’s lives and the world around us?
The way I design supports the perception of space in a positive way. It is known that people live their lives indoors, as the space we occupy has a major role in our psychological behaviour. So, I am selective with my design features to generate a spectrum of positive energy in using unique shapes, vibrant colours, textures.
As an Interior Designer, what does a typical day at work look like for you?
I’d describe my typical day as busy. Yes - I know it’s vague, but it’s the truth. I like to have my fibres in the morning and my greens to give me the energy before I start my morning workouts or city walking in the morning. I zone out with Music in my ears and dedicate my time for mediation; then, my day kicks off… I would say, my design workdays are very ordered, I cross check my emails and previous queries that needs urgent responses. I have multi sticky notes that helps me remember what I need to do within my day, and I just start! I also do site inspections - this is my way of checking if the contractors are doing their jobs properly and a way to sign off a few engineering works. I tend to have client meetings where I explore and present interior mood boards to my clients. This is my way of engaging with my clients and planning the project timeline to fit into the budget and scope of work.
My area of work is very competitive – it’ll keep you on your toes for sure. I will say, the challenge I face at work would be responding to project needs with a fast turnaround. It must be micro-managed well, in order to meet each client’s expectations. I try to take breaks in between, so that I don’t come off balance
"I work with all kinds of people within the construction field. For example, the contractors, architects, designers and of course my clients. It helps me to stay engaged and to know what is new in the market. The aim is always to bring forth timeless ideas and functional designs to maintain humanism."
What’s the best thing you like about your role?
I love the fact that I can meet new people and design. I believe in authentic growth and I love to develop myself by learning more about my field and partnering with new developers. A key skill I've picked up is communication and attention to detail. Communication is key - if I did not have this skill, nothing would be invented. Attention to detail - is a skill that makes you excellent, you don’t need to be the smartest student, just do the basics well.
The industry is about consulting and making sure we are creating functional and sustainable buildings.”
My name is Toyosi Kukoyi - Toyo for short. 27 years of age and still growing! I am an Interior Architect as well as a Project Manager in construction. I design commercial and residential projects in the United Kingdom and internationally, covering the locations of Nigeria, Dubai, Sierra Leone, China and United Kingdom. My experience in the industry so far has built my capacity to oversee and complete commercial/residential projects valued between £5m-£20m.
What are some of the most exciting projects’ you have been involved in so far?
The most exciting project I did was a burnt down three-bedroom house in Bow, London. The design brief was to convert the property into a six-bedroom house for professional tenants as a rent-to-rent scheme. I enjoyed working and developing the design concept behind the scenes. It was an opportunity to engage with other engineers, architects and site contractors. I would say, this project pushed me to break all boundaries that were stored within me, it played a role on how I can work under pressure and deliver. It was a project where I could make all my mistakes and learn as it was my first.
How do people react when you tell them your job role?
They are amazed and appreciate the craft that I do. I observe that all my designs evoke positive energy, and they look forward to my next inventions or are eager to know what my next designs would be.
“I would say being a female Interior Architect is amazing, however you must carry and represent yourself the way you want people to appreciate and acknowledge what you do. Yes - it is male dominated, but I believe we as women can change the narrative. It would not have to be so focused on male or female dominance. I believe in excellence and quality work; that’s what will make ‘us’ as women stand out.”
Do you think there is a stigma or misconception preventing young women from joining the industry?
I believe there is a stigma that Interior design or Interior Architecture are ‘hobby jobs’, but they’re not, It's more than that. The industry is about consulting and making sure we are creating functional and sustainable buildings. We need designers and people to understand this concept development. It's not about looking fancy or making the house look beautiful; it's about setting the trends on how humanism should look and inspire the next generation for great innovation.
What advice would you give a young woman thinking about a career in your role?
I would say to my younger self, do not hold back. There is nothing to fear even if you do feel the fear, face it and overcome it. It’s inevitable that there will be challenges, but challenges make you wiser. Grow through your mistakes and you will be the best Interior Architect that you ever wished for. For me, there was no specific route, but I believe in the route of consistency and vision.