Meet: @adesignersmind

We love any kind of design here at The Outdoor Co.Operative and admittedly, we’re an avid fan of social media too… so if you fall into the same boat, you will probably recognise “@adesignersmind”. With over 12000 posts behind its belt and a huge following of 375,000 people on Instagram alone, @adesignersmind is a force. Determined to share the phemoniun that is @adesignersmind, I had to find out who is behind the veil… and this is what I discovered.

Who is @adesignersmind

I’m Phil Darwen. I’m a building designer but I like to be called a Lifestyle Designer because I have an interest in all aspects of my designs. I like to design everything! From the building, to the landscaping, the joinery, the lighting. All aspects of creating a total picture basically.

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I started off thinking that my career would be in I.T. But I became aware that I had a knack for visualising the way the built environment, particularly houses, should look. I would always mentally renovate them in my head so that they were the way I thought they should be. I took this is a sign that I should get into design.
Describe yourself

As a person, I think I’m quite open to potential in everything and everyone. I like to see the best in people and the environment around me.

Why design

Design can encompass a multitude of disciplines. It is also accessible to anyone and everyone! Good design can apply to something as humble as a floor lamp or as grandiose as a landscape surrounding a palace. Design is a field that can allow you to stretch your wings in a variety of media and explore its potential.


Why Instagram

Instagram is very visual. From a design perspective, nothing can convey an idea or a space or an item as easily as a picture. Instagram is the ultimate method of showcasing these ideas and spaces and getting them exposed to as many people as possible. I’m a very visual person. I enjoy seeing the results of design from people I’ve never met, in countries I’ve never visited, working in fields that I find inspiring.

Priority when designing

My priority is the aspect of a site and its relationship to the environment that surrounds it. It’s always important to take into account breezes, solar aspect, and orientation. Those aspects are the most important to me in terms of building design.

Best part of the job
The aspect I enjoy most is working with a client and helping give life to their dream. Seeing a clients face when they walk through their completed design and take everything in for the first time is so satisfying. I remember getting calls from a client a couple of weeks after completion when they have discovered an aspect of the design that they didn’t realise was there. It’s those moments that make it.
Greatest achievement
I think my greatest achievement was graduating. I was told by one of my teachers that I should try something else…that building design wasn’t something I would be good at. I can only imagine his face when my name was the first to be read out at the graduation ceremony! It also proved to me that if you believe in yourself and strive for success, you can achieve anything!
Favourite Project

My favourite would have to be the Doonan House. It has pride of place on top of a mountain overlooking a valley that leads the eye towards the ocean. It has a near perfect aspect…and it has virtually no straight walls! It’s a collection of curves and circles with bifold doors that allow the line between inside and out to disappear. It lets the landscape permeate the interior with sights, sounds and fragrance. The main feature of the design is the courtyard water feature that actually flows into the entry!image2



Material of preference
I think it would be stone. Stone can be used in so many different ways to create so many different kinds of atmosphere in a space. It can honed and polished or rough and natural, depending on what’s required. The beauty of stone as a material is that it can be used inside and out. It’s one of those materials that can transition from a landscape to a living room and back again!
Greatest inspiration

From a personal standpoint, my wife has always had unwavering faith in my ability to create designs. She is supportive and encouraging and a lot of times is my best critic!

From a professional aspect, I’m always inspired by the works of Marcio Kogan, Guz Architects and Sergio Makhno. I also love the furniture of Mark Tuckey and the landscapes of Dean Herald.

Philosophy on life

Always look on the bright side, because there’s a silver lining there somewhere!

Whats next

I’m looking at building up A Designers Mind to be a brand that showcases the very best in design. I’d like to focus on Australian-made products and talent, because there is so much talent out there!