17th October 2021 |

Up next in our Glug x ibis Styles ambassador spotlight is Emma Fisher. Emma is an up-and-coming graphic designer and illustrator. She has an enormous passion for print and utilises the practice of screen print to translate her work to paper, and home textiles.

The theme Emma chose for her mood board was optical art or op art for short. A style of visual art that uses optical illusions which is something Emma has been intrigued by within her own screen printing practice and inspired by artists such as MC Escher.

She created a series of three inspirational motifs to convey her concept for each area of the hotel. Instead of simple colour swatches, she took this opportunity to play with the use of colours and textures within these motifs and utilised them as the key reference points and inspiration to inform her subsequent designs. 

Using recycled screen prints as a resource to inform the colour palette of her designs, she also included ascents of all these colours within the interior itself, balancing these colours with space and base tones of pastel colours, along with black and white to help balance the experience for the guests.


What were you trying to communicate within your mood board design?

I was trying to communicate a feeling of pure pattern and colour indulgence, very much my dream hotel space. Although there is a lot of colour and pattern in the design this would be offset with neutral spaces that would balance the overall effect.

How did you interpret the ibis Styles brand and then implement this through your mood board?

I interpreted the brief for my design from the individual style and personality that comes with the Ibis Styles brand. I admire the uniqueness of each design and wanted my style to be reflective of that too. 


Is there one key element of the ibis Styles brand that inspired your mood board?

The individual nature of all the Ibis Styles hotel was a key element that inspired my design. I like how each hotel is unique and with that gave myself creative freedom to push the boundaries of my design.

If you could design an ibis Styles hotel, what would the storytelling be/how would it look?

If I could design an ibis Styles hotel the narrative would be surreal and optical illusion inspired. I have always been a fan of M.C Escher and a reference to his incredible work would be the dream. I’d have upside downstairs, mirrors reflecting the floor and phantom doors to create a disorientating but playful experience, obviously mixed with my colour palettes in design. 

When developing a mood board where do you begin?

When developing a board mood I often start by saving references in new Instagram folders, I dig out photos from inspiring travel trips including Japan last year - before collating this content digitally and getting in all together on a few contact sheets to review how everything looks together. For this project, I printed all my references and decided to indulge in a collage approach instead of digital angle, something I enjoyed doing and helped create more of an organic design process for the final design. 


What would you say is the most important thing to remember when mood boarding?

I think when mood boarding the most important thing to remember is not setting yourself too many limitations. This is the best opportunity to get everything on paper, go as crazy as possible and don’t think to, there’s plenty of time to refine your ideas further down the line! 

Have you focused on any particular theme, or area within your mood board?

I decided to loosely focus on 3 different rooms for my mood board. The scope of creating a whole hotel is infinite but also overwhelming for a single page. By creating these only parameters has made me think more in-depth about the personal experiences associated with each space and ultimately how these would need to work in the design. 


Where in the world would you love to design a hotel?

If I could pick one place in the world to design a hotel it would probably be Morroco. After a trip to Marrakesh a few years ago I fell in love with the beautiful buildings and mosaics in the city. I would love to see my designs translated into modern mosaics in this way! 

What’s your favourite time period in history for design, and why?

I’m a big fan of the Memphis design group of the 1980s. Their work was characterised by plastic laminate design and asymmetrical shapes. 


How do you start to put together a colour palette within your work?

Curating a colour palette now comes quite naturally to me, although this is something that I have finely tuned over the past 5 years. I like there to be a consistent colour theme that runs through the majority of my work, and this to be identifiable whereby the subject matters may change, but the work looks part of my own identity. I like to work with several key colours in my work, the majority of these have been formed in the print room, hence the neon accents too. 


How is your design reflective of your own practise within the creative landscape?

My design is reflective of my practice and my continued exploration of colour and pattern. Having the opportunity to translate this into concepts for a physical space has been so much fun, and made me push the boundaries of my work. 

Where do you source your imagery from when mood boarding?

I gather a lot of imagery on my travels around the internet, and from my photo collection. My phone is full of hundreds of images, of varying themes and topics, many just of colour. Referencing this pool of imagery help me create new ideas, and it’s a nice reflection of my inspiration over the last few years too. I’d love to spend more time delving into books but in a fast pace brief and short project lead times I often find myself working while commuting and this gives me the flexibility to create on the go, saving images on my phone to reference at a later stage. 


Expanding further Emma finished by saying:

"I wanted the communal and welcome lobby to be bright and airy. Light colours with a subtle nod to the op art theme could be created with painted staircase murals and some 3D installations amongst actual stairs. In the mood board to illustrate this concept, I built up the layers using college which also reflects and create natural shadows something that could feature in the illusion theme of the design.

With the often intense environment of the city, I feel it is import to connect to nature wherever possible and wanted to bring the outside in, and balance intense block colour of some rooms with rooms of more monochrome palettes, minimal soft furnishings and lots of plants to create an almost futuristic greenhouse space!"


You can check out Emma's portfolio and channels by visiting her website.

If you want to speak to Emma, get advice on your own mood board for our Glug x ibis Styles competition, or hear her talk then make sure to attend our upcoming event. You can purchase your tickets here [see more]. Make sure you get in quick before it sells out!

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