César Turner Waters on making your creative dreams a reality
Originally from Porto, BA (Hons) Interior Design & Styling graduate César Turner Waters has always had a passion for interiors, appreciating craftsmanship, sustainability, architecture and contemporary design.
César previously studied Computer Sciences, working in a range of different fields before following his dream of pursuing a creative career and joining Plymouth College of Art. We caught up with him to find out about his student journey and his new role at architectural visualisation studio, Archilime.
César in Plymouth College of Art's Interior Design studio
Hi César, so what made you choose to study a BA (Hons) in Interior Design & Styling?
I've always wanted to work in the art field but in Portugal, there weren't many viable options. When I came to the UK I discovered that there were lots of opportunities to study an artistic subject and have job opportunities upon graduating.
What inspires you in your interior design work?
I take a lot of inspiration from Bauhaus and pop culture, specifically Stanley Kubrick movies as I'm always looking for something that will bring the wow factor in my designs.
Do you have a favourite project from your time here and at Archilime?
There are so many to choose from during my time at Plymouth College of Art that it is very difficult to narrow it down so can I cheat and say all of them! I would say one of my highlights was being chosen to represent the college at the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) student challenge in London, where we came second out of all the different universities that were competing!
A favourite project of mine so far at Archilime, where I was able to show my creativity to the fullest, was on a luxury penthouse in Cornwall.
What led you to the role at Archilime?
A few months before finishing uni, I started to apply for any interior job I could find, not just in the hopes of landing a job but also to get my name out there. Graduating in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic certainly made this a challenge!
I saw the job post from Archilime on Linkedin and thought the role would be perfect for me. During my course, I worked on not only live briefs but also a large number of digital projects, so a company making digital interiors was very appealing to me. I applied with my C.V. and portfolio, after a couple of weeks they invited me to do a mockup project to show my skills. A few days after that I was offered a trial position and thankfully they enjoyed my work as at the beginning of 2021 I was officially offered the position of Junior Interior Designer.
Congratulations! So what has the experience of going from degree study into industry been like for you?
It was very stressful at times (as to be expected) plus with English being my second language there was a whole other set of issues to work through, but what I will say is that Plymouth College of Art equipped me with the ability to problem-solve and to be able to work independently at any given time which has been extremely useful as I begin my professional career.
Images of César's work for Archilime. Images © Archilime
There's often a lot of stigma around studying a creative degree vs a traditionally academic degree. What did your friends & family think when you decided to study at an arts university?
My biggest supporter was and is my husband, he has always pushed me to go for what I want, and when I decided to go study interiors I made that decision with him. As for the rest of my family, they always wanted what was best for me but were sceptical in the beginning!
What was your application process for Plymouth College of Art like?
Well, my husband and I actually attended one of the open days to get a feel for what the course is like, I had an initial chat with Cathryn Bishop who asked me to do a project for her due to me being a mature student with no previous practical design experience. I then had a more formal interview with Cathryn and after a few weeks was offered my place on the course.
I always felt personally supported by my teachers Cathryn, Katie and the rest of the team. The counsellors at Plymouth College of Art and the mentoring from DSA helped me a lot through this course, dealing mostly with my depression but also with anxiety and stress, the counsellor specifically helped me understand and identify the sources of my anxiety and how to work through them.
Image of César's work for Archilime. Images © Archilime
Looking back on your time at Plymouth College of Art, how have your studies and experiences shaped your creative practice?
The skills that I learned on the course and am still using now includes Indesign, AutoCAD, creating FF&E lists, the bases of SketchUp, sewing and improvement, and the development of computer skills like the Google Suite as well as the ability to problem-solve and work independently.
I made good use of the on-campus Fab Lab during my studies; the equipment allowed me to develop my model making and products to a high level of accuracy and presentation.
The facilities at Plymouth College of Art are impressive; I engaged in several different practice departments, including jewellery, ceramics and woodwork, all of which have added to my creative toolkit.
What would be your advice for young people who are considering studying interior design?
As an older student, it is very important to study what you love so I would say to always follow your gut and start to immerse yourself in who/what you want to become. If for any reason you’re not sure about studying interiors I would recommend doing the Foundation Diploma at Plymouth College of Art where you are able to try lots of different mediums.
Keep up to date with César's work on Instagram.