• Thursday, February 22, 2024
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Gladys Okoro Ajiri: Making a difference with interior designs



Call her an optimist, perfectionist and provocateur and you would have described her accurately. After six years of diligence and commitment to purpose, she has thrived in the highly competitive interior decoration industry.  Her graceful rooms are urbane patterns for up to date styling.

The Delta State indigene and Chief Executive Officer of Brookhouse International Limited didn’t start off as an interior designer yet, despite her feat in her professional carrier, she found love in designs, helping people beautify their homes and offices, one at a time. For her, the importance of consistently growing and making sure that each new project is better than the previous has always been her pursuit. Gladys Okori Ajiri graces this page this week.

Starting off for Gladys was on an interesting note as she was lucky enough to help a friend, who wanted to change her sitting room, and Gladys offered to do it and it came out fantastically well. Gladys’s style can be described as simple yet detailed. “My approach is simply ‘less is more’ and every of my designs has their own uniqueness” she says.

For Gladys, making people happy and bringing their personality and life styles into their space and homes is her top priority.

“I draw my inspiration from God and everything around me, because everything has its own beauty whether it’s places, faces, object or people, and nature.” says Gladys.

Describing her philosophy on design she says “creativity is the spice of life, without it everything looks the same and boring. While I see life as a plain template where we are given the opportunity by God to make and create an impact with our gift and talent, our lives are elevated when we experience beauty, comfort, luxury, performance, and utility seamlessly together.”

“Today,  design must prove its worth and address the inhuman built environment to give us elevated, more pleasurable, more qualitative, aesthetic humanised seamless conditions. I feel that we all must design ourselves and design our lives. We must consider that we have more control over our lives than we want to believe.” She states.

With such depth of influence, I sought from Gladys what her influences are and she tells me “The influences on my work are numerous and it is impossible for me to name one person or an instance. Most of the time projects are developed in a team. Each project is influenced by the knowledge and skills of the people in the team. I would compare it to a puzzle that turns into a picture.”  It is therefore okay to conclude that Gladys creates spaces with a strong focus on lighting design and timeless objects. Sharing further on her design approach, she says “My design approach is clear and direct. I believe that simplicity is very often part of a complex process. It is about timelessness. We are working for the design industry and we are dealing with limitations. I like to share the love of restraint, a subtle beauty based on simplicity and austerity. I like purely designed objects that address the anti-throwaway, anti-fashionable products that have evolved due to our increasingly transient lifestyles. It is about getting the best possible results within parameters. Only art is limitless.” She submits.

Her goal and dream is to create a brand of reference in Nigeria and around the globe known for quality and excellence. “I always say that a dream is something that would probably be attained, and a goal is what you can attain. My dream is to see the world as one seamless, beautiful poetic peaceful place, but my goal is to progress and evolve the human race and make some small impact on making a better world. Designers have to be open minded, unbiased by race, aesthetics, religion, or any other kind of perspective. Designers are able to see things that don’t (yet) exist. It takes a sense of freedom to realise your goals and being completely objective is how I manage to do it.” Says Gladys.

Wondering what Gladys’s view on what 2016 will look like for interior designers? Well, Gladys opines that  “From the latest innovative textile material to the hottest new trend in the state of the art fitted kitchen, 2016 is set to be the year we’re all going to be talking about, be it contemporary or modern. Design is now focused towards turning your home into a desirable space that will embody definitive style.”

The state of the economy certainly has its effect on various businesses, Gladys’s field being one of the several others. To this, she has this to say “It’s been challenging majorly because of the uncertainty that surrounded the election and the change in government which has really affected every sphere of the economy. But I am optimistic things will start taking shape soon. Also, people really want to make sure they are spending their money wisely, so more time is spent making decisions than in the past.”

Inspired by nature, especially colours and because she travels a lot, Gladys is often in the sky, getting inspired by the clouds and the different qualities of light, also drawing inspiration from people “I see every new day as an opportunity from God to go out not only to strive to succeed but also to impact and change the lives of people I get in contact with” Gladys enthuses.

We all have people who we admire, who also inspire us in one way or the other. For Gladys, it’s Olajumoke Adenowo. “I have quite a few architects in Nigeria whom I love their designs but I would mention just two of them here. One is AD Consulting, because the CEO, Olajumoke Adenowo, is someone who inspires me. I love her strength, and her style. The second is my mentor, Adeola Famurewa of DW-Muree, I admire her uniqueness; she’s an architect and an interior designer who has her own unique style.”

Call Gladys a lover of colours and you would have described her succinctly “I love all colours in general, but it is important how you use it. Colour can be beautiful or garish. I think it’s important to create large white spaces with accents of strong, positive colours. I do like pinks, silvers, gold’s, cyan, orange and lime too. I have a tendency to prefer glossy, smooth and clean surfaces, and materials and textures that are not nostalgic or regressive.” And to everyone on valentine’s day she says “Let God’s love shine through us all as we learn to celebrate love daily not only once in a year…show love to someone, be nice”

Kemi Ajumobi