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Daniella and Marcus Balscheit – Surround Interiors

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Marcus and Daniella Balscheit are an interior designer, married couple, based in Melbourne who have been working together for over twenty years, and have been the owners of the successful interiors showroom – Surround on Inkerman Street in St Kilda for the past sixteen years. They also happen to be glamorous, super fun and a much loved couple on Melbourne’s social scene.

Both being extremely talented – they juggle running a few different creative businesses, but are mainly known for their beautiful furniture and interiors store in St Kilda; which in a tough retail environment is an achievement in itself.

I shot Daniella through some questions below on what makes them tick. Take a read below.

Surround Interiors

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Q & A:

1) How did the Surround Interiors business come about and who are your biggest clients? Do you prefer the retail or design consultancy side of the business? Did you guy’s study interiors/design, or just have a natural flair for aesthetics and great design?

In the beginning we started designing stage shows and theme parties in the halcyon days of Melbourne’s club scene in the nineties, as I also studied at the School of Contemporary Design and Decoration. This lead to more permanent designs for bars, clubs and fashion retail spaces. It was at this time (1995), that we opened an interior showroom in its first incarnation known as The House of Balscheit. Pioneering the vintage furniture craze that has since exploded… The House of Balscheit was one of Melbourne’s first and finest original vintage retail stores and was renowned for its broad range of highly sort after, rare vintage furniture from Italy and Scandinavia. The House of Balscheit was an appropriate visual platform highlighting both Marcus and my great love for design, confident and adventurous styling and our own unique approach to interior design and decoration.

As the vintage market become more saturated, we proactively changed the business focus and name to Surround. Marcus and I developed, designed and launched our own luxurious contemporary furniture and lighting range. With a holistic approach to interiors, we now consult and offer a complete interior design package.

“We create a complete and unique style for your space as everything can be designed especially to suit from furniture layout, custom lighting, soft furnishings and custom wallpaper designs”, says Daniella.

Created with a refreshingly different attitude towards interior decoration, Surround offers its own exclusive locally manufactured furniture that can be specified to meet the client’s individual requirements.

“Our unique lighting designs will create focal points that can enhance any space with bold and atmospheric effects”, explains Daniella.

A favourite of the celebrity set, Surround has designed spaces for actor Rachael Griffiths, TV personalities Chris Lilley, Natalie Bassingwaithe, Dave Hughes and Mif Warhurst and sporting stars such as Michael Klim, Cathy Freeman, Lance Franklin and the late Jim Stynes.

2) Being a couple that also works together – do you guy’s ever have creative differences and how do you manage to separate the work and personal – or are the two just a part of who you are?

Hardly ever. We have the ability to truly separate our work life from our personal life.

3) How would you describe both your creative (or personal) style or point of view, and do you feel this has changed over the years as you’ve grown as a business and creative people?

We have a broad sense of what we like and tend to design and supply objects purely on our own aesthetic, and tend not to design objects that may be on trend or to carter to market demand. For this reason our designs are considered quite unique and this is evident in our retail showroom showcasing our range of furniture, lighting and accessories. Furthermore, as a result, our exclusive designs have longevity and relevance.

4) If you could work on any creative collaboration – what would that look like?

To work in partnership with an architect developing a hotel in New York. We would come up with a visual concept for a foyer area.

Foyer designs are usually quite large (oversized) cold modern spaces. Most in our opinion lack intimacy. We would take on a different approach. Our foucs will have the individual entering a large space but each will have their own private waiting zone.

Each waiting individual private zone will be filled with unique lighting, furniture and accessories. Guests will be privately attended by staff with drinks – creating personalized and intimate service. Interior style and approach will make guests feel like superstars.

5) What motivates you to continue to do better? / who have been your biggest (creative or other) influences in getting you to where you are today?

To further develop our skills, to see our existing business evolve and grow in new and better directions. Our main influences are being surrounded by creative and driven peers. From a young age, we grew up around innovative, ground breaking entrepreneurial people.

6) As creative entrepreneurial people – who and what inspires you? / what are you creatively passionate about? / what do you love most about your work?

Fabulous imagery and travelling inspires, together with being around other interesting, flamboyant and creative personalities.

We are passionate about Fashion (accessories), lighting, fabrics and textiles.

When your work is received in such a positive way by the client. Presenting a concept that truly exceeds the client’s expectations.

7) What are some of the biggest challenges that you face as a retailer/design business these days and how has your business had to change or adapt as a consequence?

Capturing the client and having them have faith in you and your business immediately. As industry these days across the board gives clients endless choice (both street shopping and online purchasing).

8) What inspired the Goldie Jewelry Collection?

Melboure-based jewelry label Goldie was established in 2009 stemming from my life long passion for collecting collectable, rare, glamorous, high end vintage and international designer costume jewelry/clothing and handbags. Travelling to various corners of the world with Marcus and his building of Team Cycad has allowed me to extensively source original, unique and exclusive pieces, Goldie offers a bold and original collection of indulgent contemporary and rare vintage costume jewelry pieces. The vintage jewelry collection has expanded over the past 3 years, together with an exciting and adventurous range from new and upcoming local and international jewelry designers both based in Brooklyn/Williamsberg and Manhattan. Regularly updated and added to, the range offers something new, unique and exclusive each time you visit the studio or shop online for your indulgent jewelry purchase. It’s a broad and highly cost effective range, together with a studio and on line buying, Goldie is now more accessible to the wider demographic and costume jewelry lover.

9) You guy’s have been working away for the last 18 months on another business concept in the USA. Can you tell me a bit about that?

Team cycad delivers a unique, professional and sustainable humanized advertising medium that captures everyone’s attention.

Comprising of a team of 3 or 4 experienced riders towing patented billboard trailers, the team can move through all city spaces negotiating any traffic conditions whilst travelling at a slow speed to engage an on looking street audience.

Public awareness of cycle culture has skyrocketed in the past few years. Marcus being a passionate cyclist himself, realized the opportunity of combining the popularity and benefits of cycling with outdoor advertising to create environmentally friendly mobile promotional vehicles.

Team Cycad is a stunning combination of athletic unity coupled with the impact of moving billboards, targeting highly populated areas and events.

Advertising that goes where others can’t!

10) What’s next for you both? Any other interesting projects on the horizon/collaborations or future goals you are yet to achieve?

Two things in relation to Goldie:

1. An “in-haus” new jewellery collection to be designed.

2. An “How to…” video blog educating viewers on how to accessorize fashion and jewellery.

3. An “How to…” video blog educating viewers on how to style and place product to achieve a balanced and inviting interior.

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