A look into Insight School of Interior Design

For many people, renovating a flat is a daunting task. There are so many details involved, and you are often at the mercy of contractors that may end up blowing both your budget and schedule. That is where Insight School of Interior Design’s short courses come in handy. Founded in 2014 by Eve Mercier, a Sorbonne-educated interior designer whose resume includes Christie’s in London and Paris, the school focuses on practical studies of interior architecture. As it offers intimate part time or weekend classes, Insight appeals to mature students considering interior design as a second career—or simply those who want to demystify their contractor’s sketches.

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Insight is operated out of the top floor of a bright and cheerful mixed-use building in Chai Wan, with intimate classrooms and extensive resources. The facilities include a dedicated computer aided design (CAD) lab, a library, a lighting studio where students can study the effect of different light temperatures on materials, a lecture room, administrative offices and a large pantry for casual discussions often over wine and cheese—a nod to Mercier’s French heritage. Its short courses typically run for five hours over the course of a single day, and are targeted at those curious about the various aspects of interior design. They vary from more lifestyle driven topics such as feng shui, sustainable design and furniture history, to more technique oriented ones such as Photoshop, AutoCAD and Sketchup. There are also introductory courses to interior design, small space design, freehand sketching and textiles.

According to Insight’s records, it educates a total of between 120 to 150 students annually, through its full time, part time and short course programmes. Approximately 80 percent of students who attend the one or two day short courses are employed full time. Its introduction courses are attended by people mostly in non-related industries, such as finance and banking.

Along with its regularly scheduled courses, Insight offers a number of seasonal events such as the recent Art and Interiors short course that included a tour of Art Basel with an art expert, a summer trip to Paris that includes visits to artisan workshops and designer spaces, and talks about the profession. On 15 February, three very different designers discussed their career paths in front of a standing room only audience of people interested in becoming designers themselves. Design Anthology’s founder and editor-in-chief Suzy Annetta talked about the journey that led her from textiles to starting her own design firm and publishing a magazine, while JJ Acuna revealed how he went from working for a corporate firm to starting his own small design studio. Lastly, Emma Maclean shared her designer family background along with her current role at Studio HBA.

The common denominator that all three designers agreed upon was passion. No matter if you are taking up design to better understand a renovation or if it has always been a dream to create fabulous spaces, studying and practising interior design is something that people get emotionally invested in. “Design is not passive,” begs Maclean. Both she and Acuna are firmly behind giving mature yet junior designers a break. “The great thing about Hong Kong is that new designers to the market will hit the ground running. It’s both exciting and scary for them.” Annetta agrees: “You either sink or swim if you work in Asia. There is absolutely no time to think about how scary it all is!”  

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