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Anna Breheny

Interior Designer
Online Educator

“I love transforming a space into one that not only functions well but is thought provoking. For me, it’s about taking design to the next level – challenging myself to exceed expectations.”

With a highly successful interior design career spanning the globe, the talented Anna Breheny is a dedicated Educator who willingly shares her considerable real-life experiences with her students. From day-trips to pitch in Paris, to red-eye flights for client presentations in Dubai, her experiences are wide and varied and help students understand what life as a Designer is really like. Her extensive experience in commercial, retail, hospitality and residential interior design combined with her sunny, caring disposition means any interaction with Anna is always interesting, memorable and fun.

When did you discover you wanted to be an Interior Designer?

“From an early age I had been exposed to interior design through my Mum, as she renovated and then sold several of the homes, we lived in. Looking back, I realise she was a bit of a trail blazer, designing unique spaces that were beautiful and yet also very warm and welcoming. Even as a 12-year-old my best friend at school and I used to pour over the weekly real estate magazine discussing the design merits of each featured home.

I just seemed destined to be a Designer and so I studied a Bachelor of Interior Design at the University of Technology when I left school. Little did I know it would take me on such an adventure across the world. I have been privileged to have had the opportunity to work on so many diverse projects in different parts of the world.”

What do you love about design? 

“I love transforming a space into one that not only functions well but is thought provoking. For me, it’s about taking design to the next level – challenging myself to exceed expectations and design spaces that are the best they can possibly be. Whether it be designing a multi-residential apartment, a restaurant, workspace, or wellness facilities, I absolutely love pushing the boundaries at every level. Paying attention to even the smallest detail leads to unique and surprising outcomes.

Beyond the aesthetics, I’m really interested in the psychology of a space – how it impacts the behaviour and emotions of those interacting with it. It’s like working on a giant puzzle, where highly considered problem solving results in each piece fitting perfectly together to give a design that is not only beautiful but functional and impactful.”

Describe a favourite project…

“It’s hard to pick as I have been fortunate enough to be involved with a wide range of projects. One project that sticks out was two new corporate headquarters we created for Volkswagen in the UK. Due to the many brands that sit under the VW umbrella, it was important that each brand was equally represented within each design in a dynamic yet sophisticated way. Therefore, we had a lot of fun designing creative and clever ways of integrating the various brands.

We collaborated with an amazing company that specialized in large-scale custom art installations. Together we designed multiple design features for each project. One of my favourites was a feature wall created with multi-coloured toy VW Beetles fixed in a pattern that represented the signature sound waves a Beetle makes when it is first started. It was such a fun piece but it also had meaning and brand promotion, however it wasn’t obvious – the fact that the large-scale pattern represented the Beetle ignition sound wave was like a secret layer of branding that you only realised if you were part of the VW family.”

What do you love about teaching?

“Helping people to blossom. I’m a firm believer that if you are enthusiastic and encouraging and reassure students, it gives them the confidence to really challenge themselves. As they see what they can achieve it gives them the courage to keep exploring and growing as Designers. I find it so rewarding to see students who initially doubt themselves produce the most amazing work. I also really love seeing how new up and coming Designers view the world, especially regarding technology. It’s like seeing design through new eyes. They have a fresh perspective which in turn opens up new possibilities and ideas for me. You never stop learning as a Designer.”