Okologi, designing with a sustainable heart

Okologi was established in 2010 by Jessica Nixon and Timoli Mustica. They bring to the table diverse educational backgrounds, skills and experience, yet have a shared passion for what a space can evoke. They are featuring at the Seminar Series at Decoration and Design and we are chatting with Jessica today which I am excited about!

Despite the fact that one of them (can you guess?)  has a very exotic name, they are sisters! They also share a passion for design and for doing it in a sustainable way. With a love of nature and the environment, Jessica initially did an environmental science degree at the university of melbourne. A few years of wandering the world heightened her long held fascination with design and architecture, and the way a space can make you feel and she returned to study interior design at RMIT.

Timoli followed arts of a different kind, doing a degree in literature and cinematography at Latrobe university. She went on to work in business and project management, ultimately building a commercial property. With a shared love of travel and an eye for beauty in all forms, the sisters draw influence and inspiration from the world around them – whether that be in far flung exotic locations, or closer to home. They established Okologi in 2010 and work predominantly in the residential sector.

Kiyo by Jardan

Kiyo by Jardan

Recycled Interiors has a focus on sustainable design and decoration and your whole ethos is about the global responsibility to really assess our consumption. As part of this,Okologi’s sustainable design philosophy is to create interiors with “staying power”. Can you explain more to us about what this means? And what inspired you to take this path?

We want the interiors we create to have longevity. We design spaces that are paired down, simple and classical (in a non fussy way!) so they don’t date quickly. Every element is a considered decision. We ask: Is it functional? Is it designed to last? Do you love it? Have we considered where it is coming from and what that means? We we would love our clients to be handing down furniture to their children and grandchildren!

Old Yarn Rug via Loom rugs

Old Yarn Rug via Loom rugs

One of the important aspects of this is to support local craft and designers – how and where do you source from? Do you have any favourites you can share with us?
Yes, there’s a bit of a list!

  •  Jardan – not only for their fabulous upholstered furniture, but a growing range of timber as well
  • Loom rugs – the best rugs in the country! Beautiful and unique pieces that are all hand made. more like pieces of art than rugs.
  • Mark Tuckey – raw, honest timber furniture.
  • Pierre and Charlotte – a beautifully designed range of more refined, classical timber pieces and lights.
  • Anaca studio – a new furniture studio with a growing range of contemporary but organic designs.
  • Giffin Design – Daniel Giffin is a young lighting designer that is doing some cool stuff, and with whom we have collaborated to create the “oko” lamp and Coco Flip – amazing lights!
Milo by Jardan

Milo by Jardan

What is your design process with clients and how do you incorporate the Okologi ethos into this?
Most of our clients are already on board with our design ethos, and our aesthetic goes hand in hand with that. We work really closely with clients to create unique spaces that reflect their personality and lifestyle.

You offer design, styling and project management – do you both work across all areas, or specialize in an aspect? And do you enjoy any aspect of the design process more?
The majority of our work is design, and is on a residential scale. We’ve been doing a bit of landscape design too, which is fun!
on an equal par to the creative element of our job, we love developing relationships with our clients and our suppliers. It’s the human aspect that is the most satisfying. The end of a project is always a bit sad, but it’s a humbling and gratifying experience to create a space that makes your client feel good and glad to go home to.

Some of the work of Okologi via their website

Some of the work of Okologi via their website

I work with my family in my diabetes work and usually it has a positive impact, but this is not always the case! How do you work together as sisters? Do you spend much time apart? And do any other family members get involved too?
Suprisingly, we don’t argue much. We have very similar taste and views on design, which makes the design process run really smoothly. When it comes to our working day, we mix it up a bit, sometimes working separately and sometimes together. If we have a particular construction issue we need to sort out, we always seek the expert opinion of our uncle John who has been in the building industry for 30 years.

You are speaking at Design and Decoration Seminar Series in Melbourne in July,(which I am greatly looking forward to!) without giving away too much, what is the focus of your talk and, are you excited?!
The seminar!!! We are equally excited and nervous I think! We’re tackling a rather big topic in our presentation – how you define Australian Style! As a subset of this, we also want to talk about the importance of supporting the local design industry. We’re in the middle of a special little project for our presentation, which involves some favourite faces of the melbourne design world. Stay tuned!!

What is your first memory of being interested in design, either or both of you?
We grew up surrounded by creative people, so I think aesthetics were always part of our lives. Our friends and neighbours had bohemian homes full of interesting art and artefacts and kooky stuff. That becomes part of you and the way you view the world.

Oko Lamp

Oko Lamp by Daniel Giffin

Do you have any people or sources of inspiration in your work?
I feel inspired by our rich local design community and the people I work with on a day to day basis. My friend Lucy Feagins who writes The Design Files never fails to inspire me with her passion for what she does and her zeal to uncover Australia’s design secrets. On a global scale,I love the work of Ilse Crawford.

Apart from your work, what other interests do you have, what do you like to do in your down time?
Ironically, I love more family time! Our mum has an amazing block of land with 360 degree views in the Yarra Valley that she is about to build on, and I love spending time up there.

What is something about your own home, something you have decorated it with, that you really love?
My home is like a bowerbird’s nest that is full of treasures from my travels. My last trip was to India, and I’ve almost made a shrine to the country in a corner of my house. I’m completely smitten, and always trying to find an excuse to run back

Okologicreating eclectic, functional and organic interiors that capture the relaxed, yet sophisticated aesthetic of modern australia, via their website

Okologi creating eclectic, functional and organic interiors that capture the relaxed, yet sophisticated aesthetic of modern australia, via their website

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