Colombian-born Cristina Mejia sets new trends in a traditional interior design market
It takes a certain level of daring to live in a foreign country. It takes an entirely new level of bravery and tenacity to not only live in a foreign country, but to design interiors there as well! But, that is precisely what Colombian-born interior designer Cristina Mejia is doing in Prague.
For Cristina, living abroad in the heart of Europe is personally fulfilling, as well as essential to the on-going evolution of her interior design skills, knowledge and style (particularly in the face of the traditional kitchen designs of the Czech Republic).
“Czechs can be fairly conservative, while Latin Americans are a little more open and unafraid to try new things. In Prague, many people from different countries live here and much of the time they are my clients.”
In Cristina’s experience, travel broadens the mind and those who explore the world tend to be the most interesting and open-minded clients. Confronted with a majority of clients who are eager to try new things, in a market that favours conventional European design, Cristina frequently employs her tried-and-true design approach. It’s not a design style per se, but a client and comfort-focussed philosophy.
“I don’t like to limit my work to a specific style, but I can say that there are some features I like. For example, I like a functional space; simple, but with personality.”
To strike this balance, Cristina combines newer pieces and natural materials with older furniture and accessories. It gives the space life. A kitchen island for instance, can make a kitchen very functional when placed in the correct area. The ideal result is to provide the family with a space to cook and socialise. To make the space really liveable however, she also includes unexpected features.
“Other elements that I think help are auxiliary tables and window seats. These make a space, a home, very friendly and cosy.”
Cristina’s commitment to creating functional kitchen spaces that touch the soul also fuels her interest in environmentally responsible interior design. She views it as the next big challenge for interior designers, who should be considering how to incorporate new materials and technologies into the kitchen and the rest of the home.
“We know that environmental responsibility is an issue with which everybody needs to be committed. What I can see is that these new technologies that are more ecologically or environmentally friendly are becoming more common in design.”
And, it’s Cristina’s eagerness to explore new territory, whether it be a new country or materials, that colours her advice to new designers seeking to blaze trails in their field:
“Try to search for different alternatives to solve the same situation in a creative way. Don’t be afraid to explore new things and don’t stop the process with the first idea. It’s good to continue searching for different, or new solutions.”
For Cristina, when it comes to interior design, particularly in a foreign country, the journey is just as important as the destination.