Design Anthology - Asia Pacific Edition
We spend a day with interior designer Yasmine Ghoniem, founder of Sydney-based YSG Studio
We spent a day with Yasmine Ghoniem, on the road and in her Darlinghurst studio, to find out how she runs her interior design practice YSG Studio and stays inspired
Images Nicholas Watt
‘Last year, I got into a rhythm of spending time at the beach before lazily starting my workday,’ says interior designer Yasmine Ghoniem, who lives in Bondi. She may yearn for the return of those slower-paced mornings, but these days she’s out the door at 7 a.m. and heading straight to site, either by car or moped. The next stop is her studio, located in innercity Darlinghurst, where she joins her team of seven in preparing for the busy day ahead. And what does she like best about the mornings? ‘Social media is still asleep!’
Ghoniem established YSG Studio in early 2020 after several years spent as co-director of Amber Road, a collective she founded with her sister, landscape architect Katy Svalbe. As an interior designer, Ghoniem is known for her delicious use of colour, lush material palettes and boldly sculptural forms. While she prefers designing in 3D, she also spends a lot of time in meetings — which usually take place mid-morning — with clients, contractors or collaborators, and she relishes the times when ideas fly.
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Lunchtime is very rarely spent in a cafe actually eating food; rather, Ghoniem is on the road or in a meeting. For the Savannah College of Art and Design graduate, it feels like things are always on the go, but she still finds time to look for inspiration, which usually comes from personal memories, dreams, movies and travel. And she especially enjoys the very early creative stages of the design process. As she explains, ‘This is when you’re still building the narrative and the design outcome could be realised in countless ways. I also love looking at before and after photos once a job is complete.’
Much like the mornings (and some lunchtimes), afternoons are spent in meetings. Ghoniem’s best results come from working collaboratively and closely with her clients, so she’s very involved and hands-on in all her professional relationships. This was the case with her design of the striking Budge Over Dover residence, an ambitiously realised interior that oozes sophistication, with a colour palette that includes an auberginehued ceiling. The project has won multiple awards and really does show off what she does best. Ask her what part of the day she likes the most, and Ghoniem will answer late afternoon, without hesitation. ‘The light is magic,’ she says.
With meetings finally over for the day, Ghoniem reserves weeknights for some much-needed downtime. They’re often spent dancing samba — a loved hobby, along with playing music and ‘dreaming and scheming’ — and having dinner with friends, or watching Schitt’s Creek on the couch with her husband. Then it’s off to bed for some well-deserved rest in anticipation of another busy day on site and in the studio.