What are the questions about the interior designer interview

The mission of an interior designer - a conversation with Susanne Kaiser

Susanne Kaiser has been a passionate interior designer for more than 15 years and designs the interiors of luxury hotels, restaurants and private residences. With her flair for aesthetics, the Berliner-by-choice creates unique rooms in which a fine tightrope walk between classic chic and liveliness, between functionality and cosiness succeeds. We spoke to the renowned interior designer, who works for international clients such as Best Western and Klöckner, about her work.

How did you get into interior design and what excites you most about it?

Even in my youth I was receptive to aesthetic spaces and always had an urge to organize and beautify spaces. What I love about interior design is how you can change a room with color, light, works of art and the right furniture.

What kind of rooms do you prefer to furnish? What is your main focus?

I like any kind of challenge and plan the interior design for hotels and offices as well as for private residences. I don't like repeating myself and find new subject areas exciting. In the course of time, I also noticed that a project doesn't have to be large in order to achieve a successful result, on the contrary: My last project was a small holiday home with a thatched roof in the artists' colony Ahrenshoop. It was a great way to implement a lot of my favorite topics. You can imagine it this way: black and white contrast meets vintage furniture, “New Hamptons Style” meets puristic concrete. In the end, each room is an overall composition that is coherent in itself.


Thatched cottage in Ahrenshoop in New England Style. Photo: Michael Zalewski.

How would you describe your interior design style?

For me it is primarily important that the users feel comfortable in the designed rooms. This is my philosophy: interior design should always be made for people and appeal to their emotions and senses. In my opinion, there is an ideal solution for every room that suits the room itself, its use and its occupant. A room must not be too cluttered, but also not too puristic - otherwise the cosiness that everyone ultimately longs for will be neglected. I find it interesting to consistently pursue and implement ideas. Each project has to find its own topic - I then try to implement this topic in an exciting way. Personally, I really like to play with the contrast between new and old.

Who or what inspires you at work?

I am really inspired by everything that I experience: when I am traveling, relaxing in nature or looking at works of art, ideas sprout. Sometimes it's a beautiful material that I feel and touch with my fingers - inspiration can be found everywhere.


Susanne Kaiser in the thatched roof house she designed in Ahrenshoop. Photo: Michael Zalewski.

Which design element do you prefer to use to make a "statement" in the room?

For this I like to use strong colors, a striking lamp or impressive works of art.

How important are works of art for you in the context of furnishing work?

Works of art have a very high priority and must be selected carefully because they reflect the personality and taste of the owner. You shouldn't get tired of a picture too quickly, so it can have rough edges. I think it's nice when a motif leaves the viewer plenty of room for imagination or creates a personal reference. This can also be done on a subtle level. Correct framing is also very important to me because it gives the picture the appreciation that makes it a work of art.

Is interior design a craft that can be learned or does it mainly depend on talent?

Both. I am of the opinion that experience has a big influence and that you become more confident in style with every project. But talent is also required; a wealth of ideas should be paired with a sense of aesthetics. This is essential, because if a brilliant idea is not implemented well in practice, it loses its power. This private spa has massage and beauty cabins, a Finnish sauna, a Russian banya, an ice room and spacious dressing rooms. The floor of the swimming pool can be used as a dance floor if necessary.


Photo: Susanne Kaiser

Do you have a role model from the field of architecture or art that you always use as a guide?

I don't have a big, all-encompassing role model, but there are still many artists and architects who I really appreciate. Patrizia Urquiola is one of them: she manages to bring a new aspect into the designed object with every design. Your products never look the same and are all uniquely beautiful. I also love the works of Rachel Whiteread, which deals with spaces and spaces - that is, negative and positive forms. I like the Ostkreuz photographer Sibylle Bergemann, as she has had a major impact on fashion photography in the East. I am fascinated by Ulrich Müther's lightweight shell structures and the love of experimentation with which he developed his buildings.

In your opinion, what is one of the most beautifully designed rooms / areas that has ever existed?

That is a difficult question. The perfect building for me is the Guggenheim Museum in New York - the idea is so strong. I also find Neutra's houses fascinating (Editor's note: The architect Richard Neutra developed light-flooded houses in the 1950s and 1960s, the facade of which created a smooth transition between the interior and the surrounding landscape through large glass walls). What I love about the architects of the sixties is that they showed great courage and simply turned their vision into reality. The outer shell was developed according to the interior. By the way, my favorite room in Berlin is Mies van der Rohe's National Gallery.


Designed holiday home Dünenpalais, seaside resort Ahlbeck. Photo: Michael Zalewski.

How do you deal with criticism?

Offensive. I am communicative, open-minded and try to capture the criticism in open discussions during my work and to let it flow into my work straight away. By nature I am very self-critical and question what I do - that has proven itself and has resulted in great customer satisfaction.

What is the key to being successful in your industry?

I think it's like in any other job hard work, perseverance, perseverance, luck and - as I said - a little talent.

What would you advise young interior designers to do? What should always be the “inner goal” when carrying out the work?

Every designer or interior architect has to set his own goal, but personally, the passion for the work is very important to me. You have to have a clear head, follow your intuition and not allow yourself to be squeezed into a corset in advance by technical feasibility and costs. In addition, curiosity and the motivation to create something new are essential. I always look forward to the moment when I can capture the result of months of work with my photographer and look at the result. Basically it's about: The user of the room should feel comfortable in the rooms every day and enjoy the things that surround him. This is the ultimate goal of every interior designer, that is the higher mission: to create environments that make other people happy.


Flagship store of the men's line “Camp David” and the women's label “Soccx”. Photo: Michael Zalewski.

Click here for Susanne Kaiser’s portfolio. More information about Susanne Kaiser's work and her experiences with WhiteWall can be found in our digital brochure:

If you feel inspired and want to beautify your home, you will find lots of valuable tips on hanging pictures in our magazine.

Copyright picture 1: © WhiteWall | WhiteWall.com Copyright Pictures 2-6: © Susanne Kaiser / Michael Zalewski | susanne-kaiser.com