Managing director of Auckland-based interior design company, Collage Furniture Imports, Mark Pheloung is a man who is definitely indebted to his art. The man has lived in New Zealand his whole life and really sharpened his teeth around locating material, designs and distributes to make the perfect look for any home or office.
How would you describe a typical day for you?
Varied! I bounce between customers’ needs, discussions with staff, business development, factory negotiations and design. Really, no two days are the same which is exhausting and exciting
How do you define great design?
One that stimulates the imagination, is comfortable in its form and stands the test of time
What kind of questions do you ask before beginning a design project? Which piece of information is of utmost value?
All the questions required to understand the client’s wants and needs – then stretch them into territory that they may not have considered, often outside their comfort zone.
Is there a certain New Zealand aesthetic that you could define?
Not really from my perspective. I think New Zealanders are generally receptive to design change and very influenced by our lifestyle.
What inspires you?
Form – be that in a geometric sense or nature. And materials – furniture design harnesses timbers and metals, marble and glass, leather and fabric, texture and comfort and each of those sectors spark inspiration. I also get regular inspiration from Italian furniture designers and maintain a strong connection there.
What was the moment you knew what you wanted to do as a career?
Design has always been part of my existence, so when an unexpected event in my life dropped me into the furniture industry and I was given the opportunity to be free to experiment, I knew I was
there for the long haul.
What’s been the hardest moment in your career?
My father’s passing and my subsequent launch into business life was certainly a low point – but it has provided me with amazing opportunities.
What’s been the greatest?
I don’t think it is a singular event – more the whole process of growing the business into a multi-faceted organization.
How do you get unstuck creatively?
I step away into another space completely. It is amazing what inspiration can be found when fishing in a remote bay.
What do you want people to see in your work now?
Creativity, individuality and respect for the materials used.
How do you hope people will look back on your work in a 100 years?
I hope they will see consideration and compassion – and something that still appeals!
How do you balance work & life?
With some difficulty at times! There is always so much to do and so little time – but the balancing act can still be a lot of fun. Being able to step away as far as possible and spend time with friends and family provides both rest and the stimulation to climb back into the saddle.
What’s the best piece of advice that you have been given?
Be up front, honest and true to yourself.
What is your life motto?
Live life to its fullest and make the most every moment.
Images from Collage Furniture