In conversation with style icon Isla Van Damme

by Aneesha Bhadri Jan 15, 2019 Isla Van Damme is a force of nature. Her petite frame and age belie her vibrant personality and indomitable spirit. Dressed in her unique bohemian style, she cuts a striking figure. Donning the cap of a Design Consultant for the designer concept store Bungalow 8, she talks happily about style, sustainability and all things design...

Her one true design principle: Being instinctive. Isla says, "I think that first ideas are always the best. I realised over the years that over-thinking is bad. If you think too much, things may not work out to your liking. When it comes to design, you must go with your gut."

When it comes to ideating and translating the same onto a canvas, she enjoys the act of quieting her mind and letting the ideas flow. “I don’t think too much and I don’t plan anything.” She doesn’t like to be disturbed when she is visual merchandising. It is not just about setting up a pretty corner and dressing up a wall. All the elements of the space should work together.

If asked to choose between maximalism and minimalism, she is partial to maximalism. “I love colour and warmth. I love mixing elements. I can do minimalism, but it’s not my thing.” To her, it’s about buying what you like and not being afraid to mix and match. Isla loves to play with colours, textures and patterns. “I love mixing things that normally don’t go together and making them work.”

When biophilic design is mentioned, Isla says that sustainability is the way to go! She loves to work with natural materials. “It’s a way of life and it’s the only way forward.”

For #DesignDecember, when asked what December meant to her, she says, “It's like any other month. I have done a lot of Christmases and New Years in my youth. Now, I just want to have a good meal, perhaps a drink and unwind. I'm a true Gemini, I like to socialise, but I also like to be alone.”