Looking. Touching. Living. That is how Claudia Grajales became an interior designer. A dreamer since childhood, imbued by a decidedly visual temperament from her earliest years, her capacity for observation is a powerful spur for an imagination decanting itself into manifold aesthetic possibilities. Ever since her time as a Media Studies graduate, she was fascinated by scenic design as a limitless discipline, capable of producing environments that communicate, a passion that led her to specialize in Interior Architecture. Thus, from her stem, from her core, sprang CORE, a project based on a curatorial work of quality design in which every fabric, every piece of furniture and every composition answer to a vision at once highly personal and capable of reflecting the essence of every client and each project. She is now two decades into a path that has taken hers to figure among the key names in Mexican contemporary interior design.
What does a good interior designer need?
Beyond what I was able to learn about architecture, about materials, about light, being the daughter of a psychoanalist (even though a rebellious one, since I’ve never been in analysis) helped me a lot. It allowed me to know myself and, from that standing point, to be open to knowing others. It taught me to listen, even to those things the other person does not state in an explicit way. My decisions as an interior designer come from deep within me: from knowing what I want and what I have to forsake. They are much more conscious than casual decisions.
How do you pick your clients?
Often through intuition. I need to understand clearly what they want, and if I want what they want. I have to resonate with the client. I like people who are empowering themselves, and by empowerment I don’t mean acquiring wealth but being willing to learn, to live better. A CORE client is someone who likes who I am, how I live, what I do, and not because of my doing it but because an identification is struck.
What should a client ask him or herself before seeking an appointment?
How she lives. What he likes to do. What she does when she gets up. Where in his home does he like to hang out. I hate wasted spaces. And I don’t like to work for people who say “I want three living rooms, even if each one measures two square inches, because I want to say that I have three living rooms”. My job is to make you understand that your home is something to enjoy, and that for you to enjoy it it has to be functional and adapted to your lifestyle, not mine. I use my dining room a lot but I have clients who say “I never use the dining room; maybe when I have to hold Christmas at home”. So I tell them “Don’t have a dining room; have a breakfast room for everyday use where you can also hold a dinner party but don’t have two spaces when you won’t be using one”. Or someone says “What I really like is listening to music”; well, let’s have a great media room then. What I do is help you discover what you like and remind you that not every house has to feature spaces A, B, C and D.
Do you only create sober, contemporary spaces?
Not at all. I once did an art déco restaurant in Mexico City’s 1930s Condesa neighborhood: I did research, I went to see buildings, I immersed myself in the history and the style of Condesa, I searched for people who had certain pieces, I dove head-in. I like all styles. What does distinguish me, no matter the style, is cleanliness: I like every thing to have its space and to shine. It’s like solving a jigsaw puzzle: I put in, I move, I remove and I move again. And I don’t think there’s a recipe: it comes from a sense of aesthetics, of balance. I can even do a project in baroque style, but a clean and orderly baroque style. When you come upon a clean space, you feel good: your mind is free, you’re not distracted by things. It’s not Feng Shui: it’s feeling protected and knowing that the territory you inhabit is protected.
What is good taste?
Being respectful, giving things the space to be seen. Entering a space and not knowing what to see doesn’t seem like good taste to me, even though every element might be beautiful. Good taste is a device that allows us to appreciate everything a space holds.