Tessa James

A Moment in Place with Tessa James
Physically, where are you right now? Are you at home, on holiday, in the office or elsewhere else?

We are currently in our new office in Hawksburn, we moved through the holiday period as our business is expanding and we needed a bigger space. Everything is slowly coming together, it is a really exciting way to start 2024!

How does your current environment inform your creative process and what is inspiring you right now?

We have a good flow between working from our office in Hawskburn and also working from home. This allows us to be flexible as a team as we are all working mums so it allows us to be creative, have a free mind and be around for all the other parts of life.

We are hugely inspired by travel and it is a integral part of our business here at AKI. It is important to open up our minds to different cultures, environments, architecture and life outside our bubble. We surround ourselves with inspiring objects, books, art, furniture and music in our office and are constantly keeping our eyes open.

For every good idea there are many more we reject. Do you ever salvage ideas that didn’t come to fruition at a later stage or do you just move on?

We always keep folders on our computers and in our minds of great ideas we may have had for projects or situations but sometimes they are not relevant to that project and come in handy later. Its important as a creative to collect things along the way whether they be imagery, magazine cut outs, furniture, etc all these experience add depth to your interiors.

What have been some personal milestones that you have achieved outside the expectation or perceived expectation of others?

Here at AKI we are growing and expanding our business, moving into more commercial and luxury furniture curation, as a team of 3 we are always pushing each other and helping each other to reach that next level. We have big dreams for AKI, we are just getting started.

What have been some of your most profound personal challenges and have they ever informed your creative process or interrupted it?

Here at AKI we are all really familiar with the juggle of life, kids, family and work. Sometimes this structure can stifle your creativity, so finding a balance in that is something we are all constantly working on and helping one another with.

If you analysed the most important factors in your success, what would say these have been?

Hard work and determination. Having clear goals but also being open to opportunity.

The Safari Chair in Bark, as styled by AKI Design

What are your personal and creative rituals, if any?

We all love to exercise as it clears are minds and allows for different thoughts and processes to flow in and out. Allowing time for creativity whether that be travel, taking a class, reading a book, seeing a show, listening to music or exploring a new restaurant.

Where do you go to find creative refuge?

A simple solo walk in nature or the city of Melbourne we are very lucky to have some incredible architecture here, a variety of cultures and weather.

On a bigger scale, travel is a huge creative refuge and something we try to do at least once a year.

If you could go back in time and begin again without knowing what you do now, would you?

Be kinder and trust the process. Everything happens for a reason. 

The Bohan Burl Lamp as styled by AKI Design

What piece of wisdom currently resonates with you and how does it inform your approach to life right now?

Last year was a learning and growing year for AKI, so we will continue on that path and a lot of those things will come into full swing mid this year.

Not every year you have to thrive, some years are learning years, some are developing years and so forth so for us this year is all about developing those ideas so we can thrive in years to come.