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About Design Baddie

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DESIGN BADDIE is a blog by architecture, design and art enthusiast + Rhodec International interior design graduate, Saskia van Oudtshoorn, a.k.a. Von Sassy.

Are you creative? A musician or an artist? Are you curious about design?

As a frustrated artist in a non-creative career, I found my love for urban and interior design, 3D modeling and the digital arts quite literally, by accident.

I realized that the potential for monetizing a design service was easier than monetizing art (this was before NFTs and Web3 blew up!), and I had two small children at the time. I’d always wanted to be an entrepreneur, and I figured this was my ticket.

I also really loved architecture, and still do.

I decided to invest in my education by getting a degree in interior design online while living in a foreign country where educational resources in English are scarce.

The fact that the school was online was a lifesaver.

The program was top notch, and I thoroughly enjoyed my studies. I was also making great marks. Then I had few unexpected mishaps.

Although they temporarily upended my life, they also eventually bought me my freedom and ultimately helped me figure out what was important.

(I’ll give you a clue: After my family, my love for design was something that I just couldn’t give up.)  But I almost didn’t make getting my degree.

In the throes of some major life changes and with roughly a year’s worth of work left of my three year course, I had to take a break from my studies, and almost three years went by before I resumed it.

Halfway through this period, my interior design school announced they would close their doors for good at the end of 2020, because the owner of the two generational family-owned business wanted to retire. They asked students who wished to finish their degree to do so by a certain date if they wished to graduate.

Being the ADD type that I am, I left it until I had just enough of the recommended amount of time left. I had been overwhelmed by recent events and wasn’t sure I could take the added stress on top of a full time job and being a homemaker on.

The last year, the last six months and then six weeks of that period went by in a haze of fervored frenzy, but against a lot of odds, I submitted my final project with six hours left before the final deadline. I am one of the last ever graduates of Rhodec International, a school that will always have a fond place in my memory.

The Rhodec student body had an active student’s Facebook group and the support I received from my fellow students was incredible. I’ve always had the feeling that designers are slated to do great things, and these fellow designers convinced me that designers are movers, shakers and world changers.

Because I discovered design a little later in my life than is ‘normal’ for choosing a career, it gave me a unique perspective on the profession, the skills and the potential for design. Many of my fellow students had a similar experience.

After graduation I realized that I wanted to “give back” to other creators and artist by sharing how I came to discover design and how it helped me to grow as an artist. As a lifelong teacher by profession, my aim is to be the kind of mentor that I wish I had when I first started out.

I think artists can really benefit from a design and technical education. I’m also very excited about the future of design through material technology innovation, creative coding and generative art (NFTs) and designing for greater sustainability.

When I get my Bachelor degree after completing a fourth year of formal interior design study, I will likely choose the Heritage Design program final year program with the UK National Design Academy so that I can work on adaptive-reuse projects in the future. I would especially love to see more talented and capable interior designers take on the complex problems related to broader urban planning and development in the future.

One of the ways that we could do this is by converting abandoned inner-city office blocks and industrial buildings into small residential units. By creating cheap and livable, elegant housing solutions that people can actually afford we can take back the inner cities which have become abandoned and forgotten. We can encourage urban gardens, generate our own power, and take the streets back for bicycles and people.

When you wake up to the fact that you live in an engineered and designed environment most of your waking life, it starts to become more important to you that that environment is sustainable and also sustaining.

Some say that design won’t change the world. I beg to differ. Design is a tool and it is the best tool that we have. When you point design at a problem, it finds a way. That’s is its job.

Good designers challenge the status quo. Great designers dream about what might be and then design a way to make it happen. Designers are the ultimate optimists.

Let them say that ‘design won’t change the world, but it sure makes it look pretty’. These people don’t understand design and they also don’t understand changing the world.

Changing the world doesn’t happen overnight. It becomes possible when we first choose to focus on changing ourselves.

That’s the hard part.

But if there’s anything that design teaches us, it’s that if we can understand the problem, we can draft a solution. And when we make a plan, we designers make a way.

How do we get from where we are to where we want to be? Starting small.

Every success opens the door to further success. We work to make the next thing better that we can.

Once we can do this successfully and repeat it, we become more skillful. If we keep learning and stretching ourselves and put in the time, effort and concentration needed, we may one day become masters.

This happens slowly; as we learn more, we grow more. We push ourselves more. We take more on.

Changing the world, too, happens slowly. As we change, we can effect change.

There’s no denying that if our world is to thrive we need to design better systems. We need engineers and construction professionals. And we need designers to plan it.  With need to work with green technology and use it to bring us closer to nature.

The question is, what kind of a future will you design?

What you will find on this blog:

1. Information for beginners to interior design on design as an entrepreneurial venture

2. Information for established designers to help navigate new technology and software for interior design and more easily create greener and smarter designs

I believe that designers are total bada$$es and I’m passionate about sharing what I’ve learned in my foray into the world of design with those interested in the design profession and the future of art and design.

Saskia (aka Von Sassy)

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