Oliver Heath, is judging the 2016 Creative Conscience awards (architecture and interior design), we asked him five questions and here is what he had to say.
Who has been your biggest influence?
Time spent in the presence of Mother Nature.
With 3.8 billion of years spent in the research and development phase of the most beautiful and practical products that sustains all life around us – there’s an awful lot that we can learn from nature and the way we live beside it.
I’m constantly in awe of the design, circularity and solutions that exist all around us in nature – what greater inspiration could we seek?
What is your greatest professional (and/or personal) accomplishment?
Whilst winning competitions, being recognised by fellow peers in the design community is always wonderful I have to say sometimes it’s the smaller more personal moments that really leave a sense of accomplishment.
Heartfelt letters that I’ve received from homeowners, on the likes of BBC DIY SOS, grateful for the design work that I’ve put in that leave the greatest impact. Knowing that your thoughts, design and attention to detail have improved the lives of people for the better is enormously rewarding and confirms that design really can be a force for good.
What are you passionate about and what motivates and inspires you?
I’m passionate about Biophilic design – how strengthening the human connection with nature in the spaces that we live and work can make them happier and healthier places to be.
I’ve always felt that design can be so much more than an extrinsic display of wealth and opulence; that we should instead be focusing our design skills and knowledge on how it can improve human health and well being – reducing stress and improving recuperation.
There are now over 500 research led papers that demonstrate that improving our connecting with nature, particularly in urban environments can improve the way we feel – even increasing productivity, creativity and perceived well being.
Now that’s an idea that inspires and is worth investigating.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given and who gave it?
My first architectural boss once told me “We only ever draw a finite number of lines, so value each one”.
What is inspirational about the Creative Conscience awards?
Having won a BBC award early on in my career I’m fully aware just how much this recognition can help inspire confidence and belief in ones work.
Even better that the Creative Conscience awards celebrates how design and innovation can make a real contribution to our social and environmental impact on the planet we call home.