Adriana Vadasz joined KSQ’s interior design team in 2012 and was the 2015 recipient of KSQ’s Tulsa office “KSQ’est” (similar to MVP of the year). In addition to her interior design work she has also provided landscape design concepts to KSQ clients as added value. KSQ Associate Jon Pontious, Assoc. AIA, recently sat down with Adriana to ask her about combining her studies in interiors and landscape, and how she’s applied this knowledge to KSQ projects. Jon and Adriana have worked on projects together since college when they were both employed by Oklahoma State University’s Long Range Facilities Planning, and since joining KSQ they’ve worked on numerous student housing projects together.
Q: Let’s start by letting people know a little more about your background. You’re originally from Venezuela, but what brought you to Tulsa?
A: I moved from my hometown in San Antonio de Los Altos, Miranda, Venezuela to Oklahoma to study at Oklahoma State University as my father did before me. I knew I wanted to study interior design before I began my studies at OSU since it’s the portion of the architectural field that allows me to interact with end users directly and bring life to a space.
Q: You received two degrees from OSU, right?
A: Yes. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design but I wasn’t quite ready to leave academics behind. I wanted to study something relevant to architecture and I love nature and being outside, so I decided to go for a degree in Horticulture Science with an emphasis in Landscape Design. Another reason why this program appealed to me is because I wanted to understand more about the different plant materials and the native plants that inhabited the United States. After I received my Master’s Degree in Horticulture I wanted to put my skills to use and incorporate plant design in interior spaces.
Q: How does Landscape Design relate to Interior Design?
A: In design all parts should work as a whole, ideally. The landscape should speak to the architecture and the architecture should speak to the interiors. It should interconnect, offer focal points and be beautiful. I’ve been fortunate to work on all three and reaffirm this connection.
Q: How have you been able to apply your knowledge of landscape to KSQ projects?
A: You were part of the team the first time I worked on landscape design at KSQ, Jon! It was when we entered the European Bioclimatic design competition and we were tasked with designing a bioclimatic school in Greece. I did all of the landscape for our entry. After that I was asked to contribute landscape concepts for “The Quad” at University of Central Oklahoma and my concepts were implemented into the final design. I’m currently working on another conceptual design for East Central University. The building’s design is inspired by the Chickasaw culture and this inspired my landscape concept. With ECU I created a “reading garden” which is basically an area for outdoor enjoyment. This design includes benches cascading down the natural slope of the land and an art piece that’s still in discussion. The quad will feature sloped benches drawing the student’s eye to different focal points based on whether they’re inside or outside.
Q: In our 5 Favorite Features blog on the OSU University Commons project you mentioned you were inspired by landscape while designing one of the residence halls, correct?
A: We were asked to design each hall lobby with an architectural element reflective of the campus and surrounding area. My hall represents boulders so I imagined myself on a hike and the trail was part of my system. I used different textures to create trail paths on floors of the building corridors. I also used local stone on the fireplace, lights on the wall that look like natural holes you’d find on big rocks, and a cable railing for the balcony like you’d find at a national park to protect visitors from the edge. At the University of Colorado Colorado Springs we have a similar situation where each building is named after a Colorado River.
We researched the rivers and this influenced materials and finishing choices, and selected a carpet that has movement to it like a river current. This might seem insignificant but it offers me great satisfaction to know nature influenced my design. Clients and end users might not notice or appreciate this inspiration, but it’s what interconnects it all and keeps me going.
Q: What’s the best way to combine landscape and interiors?
A: Interior design can go beyond the build and structural; it can be organic. We spend so much time indoors and by bringing living things, nature, indoors we further our connection to nature, we’re calmed psychologically and it’s also soothing to the eye. My dream project is to work on interior spaces and incorporate interior plant design. We’re now seeing moss walls in interiors, more natural elements and bringing the outdoors in more so there’s already a shift in this direction.