Habitus Living: Tell us about your background
Pascale Gomes-McNabb: I was brought up in an artistic, architectural design imbued environment. My parents are architects, and we lived around the world when I was a child and I continued to move, live and travel as a young adult. Design was a constant.
I was acutely aware of my surrounding environment and culture, shapes, tactility, colours, textures, light play and shadow – there are so many components to spatiality that create mood and experiences – the tangible and the intangible, the seen and the unseen.
What led you to where you are?
Growing up I was constantly visually stimulated, continuously seeing the new and different and the mundane, enticed by things that were old or new but never encountered before. Design was integral to how I understood and related to the world, it created an order for me.
How do you balance personal and professional life?
Not easily! Design is a way of life. There is no real separation, especially when I am constantly assessing and looking at everything for its inherent design usefulness, application and aesthetic appeal – from cutlery to clothing, bottle caps to light fittings, furniture to fluff – the list goes on and on.
Of course, there is a symbiosis with what I see and experience, which I bring into my work and I maintain a necessary structure to my work life and also to my personal life.
In my downtime away from my studio I go to galleries, exhibitions, movies, book shopping, shops, restaurants, hotels, being immersed in nature, there is always more, more, and more to see and experience and to be excited by!!
What does home mean to you?
Home is a retreat and a place of calm where I can relax and entertain and hide away from the world as necessary. It is also filled with beautiful, ugly, fabulous fun pieces picked up on travels and around, from high-end designer shops to flea markets and vintage shops.
How does your home reflect your passions, interests and creativity?
Home is a testing ground of things, objects, furniture, and art to be enticed and excited by, I am constantly rearranging and moving things around to create different visual stimuli and tableaux. I need to be surrounded by beautiful things, old and new, intentionally and unintentionally designed from various cultures, times, history.
Objects have their own story and together can create dynamism, energy and feelings of joy, calm, excitement, interest, a narrative of their own…..
What are the favourite things in your home?
At the moment it is a new but vintage LC4 all-black chaise longue designed by Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand. A childhood wishlist dream design piece.
Rainbows that come through the house at various times of the day and year – are pure magic and make me smile.
A verdant green courtyard that is an oasis of calm in the house – soothing to the eye and soul. Gardens however large or small, unconventional or not, or even a selection of beautiful indoor plants instil necessary and vital energy in a home.
What’s something you wished you had known before setting out on this career path?
That it can be hard to separate my professional and personal lives. I try, I really do, as in it is very hard not to work all the time. Just by looking at something I immediately start to analyse its aesthetic, practical, sustainable, usefulness, and other inherent qualities.
Designing makes me happy. To be able to create beautiful environments and objects for others to enjoy – I love it!
What makes culture, art and design important to you?
Each is an independent stimulus that can affect change in small and large scale ways societally and individually. They can enable us to question and challenge our perceptions, hopefully to better society and/or our lives.
Encountering culture, art or design is ideally experiential, creating a new dynamic, fuelling a desire for knowledge and diversity, and challenging our perception of life.
How does art play into your work and your home?
Art is integral in my personal and professional life. It is intrinsically entwined.
High art. Low art. Bringing art in many forms raw to refined, whether it is challenging or not, is important or just simply beautiful. To create a dialogue with pieces in my home environment and others (i.e. the realm of collaborations with clients) is of paramount importance to my craft, my profession and personally.
Working with artists and craftspeople adds dialogue, dynamism and dimension to design. I recently worked with artist Ash Keating to reimagine an existing restaurant – the space now feels akin to stepping into a painting – Ria in Sydney.
What was the first piece of art you bought?
When I was around eight years old I was bequeathed a sculpture – an oversized ring in white Carrera marble by Joel Elenberg. The first piece I bought was a Papua New Guinean sculpture when I was about 10 or 12 years old.
Pascale Gomes-McNabb is an ambassador for Melbourne Art Fair 2022, running from 17-20 February, visit melbourneartfair.com.au for full program details and to book tickets.
Habitus is a proud media partner for Melbourne Art Fair – you can pop in and see us at the stand MP1 in the Galleries.