Meet Sarah

Our Creative Director

Sarah works from our Manchester studio, directing our design team and overseeing the creative vision for JOLIE. She ensures that all of the amazing projects developed in the studio completely embody the innovative JOLIE way of designing. With over 10 years experience working in the high- end hospitality and commercial sector, Sarah has incredible global experience, notably in her previous role as Lead Designer at Soho House.
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Tell us more about your role at JOLIE? 

As the Creative Director at Jolie, my primary responsibility is to passionately steer, inspire, and shape the interior design vision for every project that emanates from our esteemed studio, leading and guiding our talented teams in both Manchester and London.

What led you to pursuing a career in design? 

I’ve always absolutely loved the creative industry, and took a real interest and passion in it from a young age. My initial fascination began with jewellery and surface design! I loved how beautiful and detailed the process and finished product was, however I found myself drawn to design processes that are larger in scale and have a more immersive and impressive end result. This led me to interior design, which turned out to be the perfect pursuit for me as I find the ability to conceive and fashion large scale interiors, that people can physically experience, just incredible!

How does the JOLIE approach feel different from other studios you have worked with?

After working for over 11 years in the interior design industry across 5 different international practices, I can confidently say that the JOLIE approach is Iconic. JOLIE doesn’t create a place, it creates an experience, a sensory story. All JOLIE projects are designed by envisioning how we want someone to feel in a certain space, first and foremost. By designing in this way, we create sustainable and iconic spaces that stand the test of time and push boundaries within a saturated market.

If you hadn’t become an Interior Designer, where do you think life would have taken you?

I love film, I used to always want to be a director! The idea of set design, location scouting and creating scenes that are visually impressive really appealed to me! Plus who doesn’t want a chair with your name printed on the back? That gives me an idea for our new office chairs...

What is your favourite JOLIE memory?

Jolie is full of everyday laughs! My favourite memory has got to be when Franky, Michelle and myself were stuck in London! We had a full day of client pitches, presentations and site visits. It was a boiling hot day and we were running around the city. It was the type of day where sweat is literally trickling down your back! At one point we were in a black cab racing across London to attend our next meeting when we heard there was a fire at Euston! We immediately had to do a 180 in the taxi and try to get the next train out of there. I'll never forget the events and the laughs that came along with them- we have such an incredible team here! 

Which JOLIE project did you most enjoy working on?

I’d have to say The Garden - It's a beautiful Victorian walled garden in the heart of Surrey. A destination location which is being transformed into a garden cafe, Michelin star restaurant, members lounge and alfresco bar and kitchen surrounded by roaring fire pits and gorgeous greenery. The perfect location for supper club events in the British countryside! It really speaks to a lot of my personal passions!

What would be your idea of a dream project or client?

One of my ultimate aspirations is to create and design my own hotel (And be my own client)! I envision A rural hotel on a vineyard somewhere in a picturesque area in Europe; with alfresco dining experiences , 5 star quality rooms and a seriously great hotel bar! This dream encompasses my passion for hospitality, aesthetics and creating a truly exceptional haven for travellers to indulge in unforgettable experiences.

Where do you find your inspiration and what are your biggest design influences?

I am an avid traveler, constantly seeking opportunities to board a plane and explore new destinations. The sheer joy of experiencing diverse locations, immersing myself in unfamiliar aromas, indulging in unique flavours, and embracing a symphony of sounds has an extraordinary impact on me. It broadens my mind, inspires my concepts and reshapes my perspective on life. I strive to bring back the essence of these experiences to the studio, where they serve as a wellspring of inspiration and encouragement for the entire team.

Can you think of a space that has had a profound experience on you as a result of the design?

On my first day of university at the renowned Edinburgh College of Art I walked into the iconic and jaw dropping sculpture court. This Neo-Classical sculpture court at ECA houses the oldest cast collection of beautiful sculptures within the UK. The neutral pallet of creamy colours set aside this impressive architectural interior was captivating. There was also a temporary exhibition by the renowned artist Anish Kapoor and his impressive, modernist arched waxed sculptures against the classicism was mesmerising! I felt so energised and excited to be starting on my path as an interior design student.

What’s the best place for afterwork drinks or food, and why do you love it?

In Manchester it’s got to be Ad Hoc - Great organic wines, Perello Olives and Trullo crisps! When I’m working in London it’s got to be the roof on Shoreditch House, purely for the view and an iconic Picante!

And finally, what advice would you give to anyone looking for a career in Interiors?

Get experience! Put yourself out there and offer to help and get involved in design practices. You learn so much from colleagues, directors, suppliers and each other. Be proactive, enthusiastic and enjoy the journey. Each practice works differently as does each designer, collect all the information you can to make yourself the best well rounded designer you can possibly be.

written by
Jessica Gjini

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