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Optimism’s in for designers

THE major players in the interior design industry remain optimistic about the year ahead, with most predicting 2003 will bring an end to the limited interior design budgets of recent times.

Blake Thornton Smith Designers director Ben Blake said the Perth market had turned the corner as companies started investing more in their futures, which would free-up budgets and increase the standard of work completed locally.

“Restrictive budgets were what held us back in the last 12 to 18 months after September 11,” Mr Blake said.

He said the Woodside Energy office development, which boasts between 30,000 and 35,000 square metres of office space, would be an important influence on the interior design market in 2003.

Among the firm’s major projects last year were Phillip’s Petroleum, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Insurance Commission of WA and Sons of Gwalia.

Marshall Kusinski Design Consultants director Kathleen Kusinski said that, while the resource sector continued to thrive, there was a positive outlook for all businesses in WA. Major clients in 2002 were Technip-Coflexip, Department of Housing and Works, and the firm was currently building offices for Robe River Mining, she said.

“Indicators for 2003 point toward a better year, with a lot of movement by companies expected,” Mrs Kusinski said.

“There are new buildings vying for tenants and subsequently companies are looking at quality accommodation for their staff.”

“Clients are saying to us that quality office accommodation helps attract the best employees and is often the differentiating factor between companies,” Mrs Kusinski said.

Interiors Australia Pty Ltd project designer Allison Pense said the firm had not felt the financial sting of September 11 due to its solid client base and an established building momentum in the industry.

She said 2002 was a busy year, with clients including Westpac, Rick Hart and Department of Defence, Federal Police and Department of Immigration.

“We have had a very positive year and are optimistic about the outlook for 2003,” Ms Pense said.

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