It is hard to have been in the design space for very long and not have encountered the wonderful Nanette Cameron, witness her talent or be impacted by her work. A week on from her passing, we share a small tribute.
Last week New Zealand said farewell to its iconic interior design leader, Nanette Cameron, who passed away at 95. We will always remember her legacy, her boldness and her courage. We've also been amazed by the many stories of female empowerment that she offered to her students who attended the school she founded. This sense of leadership has generated respect and admiration from the entire design industry.
It has been our privilege to host Nanette in our store several times with classes of interior designers doing industry tours and travelled to Te Tuhi to view the finished projects. She graciously offered us the chance to join her design conversation by giving us a time to share a small talk. Often at the right moment she would add her own thoughtful comments and ask after pieces she was interested in. We are grateful to have participated in the learning process of her students of the Nanette Cameron School (now Te Tuhi), which now number around 5000.
Others have already summed up her work and accolades in the string of tributes that have preceded ours. We felt one of the most powerful things said about her so far was from Philip Clarke, former director of Objectspace who shared a quote from a recent author Lois Weinthal (2011). She writes "Interior design is interdisciplinary in its nature. It’s a dialogue formed by architecture, art, fashion, film, engineering, history, literature, philosophy, product design and textiles". Clarke emphasised how ahead of her time Nanette Cameron was since, while this is only recently a published concept, even in the 1950s Nanette Cameron was instinctively aware of the need to be informed by a range of interwoven threads to be a successful design practitioner.
One of the most memorable visual examples we can think of which expresses Nanette Cameron's style and talent, is the Objectspace exhibition "Nanette Cameron Objectspace Master of Craft" (2013) in collaboration with Kirsty Cameron, Vivienne Stone and Katie Lockhart. Together they created full immersion, electric blue room with simple added details of artwork, furniture and objects to create an eclectic but expertly created space.
Nanette, you will be missed.