Jodie Cooper is the founder of Jodie Cooper Design and luxury vacation home 353 Degree North based in Indonesia. We have loved following Jodie on her journey for a while and without a doubt this Australian Interior Designer has a wealth of life experience. Currently in a small remote village on the Island of Sumba, Jodie is learning about the Ikat weaving process and unique history and culture of this Indonesian island. We had the honour to speak with Jodie and get an insight into her story – we were not disappointed! 

So Jodie, Sumba? How did you end up on a small remote Indonesian Island?

My love of design and my partners love of surfing led to a motorbike adventure across three islands. Remote and unspoilt the island of Sumba is as exotic and unique as the beautiful ikats it weaves.  The people live a very simple existence and yet they produce beautifully woven ikats. The Intricate and labour intensive Sumba warp ikat cloth is created in many steps, often by different artists in the village. Quality cloth is made from cotton, tied with palm leaves to make the pattern of motifs and symbols unique to the Kingdom of East Sumba, dyed with natural dyes and hand woven these beautiful pieces tell their stories and one piece can take up to a year to produce  Spending time in remote villages amongst true artisans is the most rewarding and humbling experience.

What is the first thing you do after receiving the brief for a new design project?

I let my imagination run wild, then work at how to translate it!

How do your travels and experience influence your design? 

For me Design is a fusion of all of the senses- Sight, Sound, Smell, Taste and Touch. To create a space that delivers and delights all of these senses is the true essence of design.Travel opens opportunity to experience all of these, you have a heightened sense of awareness,  the true beauty and the richness of architecture, history, culture and colour. Sensual Inspiration and images that fill the pages of your internal library.

What would you say the morning bathroom routine is in Australia? And how does this affect your design?

Australian bathrooms are becoming one of the most innovative and well planned zones of the house. The majority of houses are new builds which opens the possibilities even more.The Master bedroom Ensuite bathroom often incorporate a Free standing bath,  a vanity unit with two basins, a large shower and a separate toilet. A great deal of thought is going into the cabinetry, design, spatial planning, finishes and access to natural light The are often partially open to the bedroom so viewed as an extension of the room.I think that the bathroom has become a sanctuary to escape from the day, rather than the hectic morning rush that leaves no time to enjoy it.

How do you find products to use in your work? Do you have a favourite magazine / social platform you use? How about your favourite website?

I am a instagram and pinterest addict… I love that we are once again embracing the more natural organic finishes, to me they have more integrity and enhance the aesthetic as well as the tactile experience.You can find amazing products online, and actually find a supplier in your country….. the world has certainly changed with the ability to access items that you could previously only dream of incorporating into your design.

What have your most experience filled travels been? How have these changed you?

I have learnt so much from interacting with the artists and the people of the villages, if you are interested, they are very happy to share their stories. Morocco, Everything about morocco is amazing, exotic riads, crazy  Bazaars and beautiful people. The Silk Road – Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan so much to inspire, beautiful embroidered Suzanis the history and incredible architecture  Italy –  the sheer beauty of tuscany, the history and architecture of Rome, the fishing villages and of course the food. Sumba has definitely captured my heart and i will be going back.

What are you most proud of so far?

That I have made it this Far? I am proud of every project I undertake, a lot of hard work and organisation behind the scenes makes the process look effortless to the client, and that is exactly how it should be.I approach every project with the same enthusiasm and desire to create an amazing result for my clients so I am most proud when my work is appreciated by my clients.

Tell us about your luxury vacation home 353 Degree North based in Indonesia? Where did the name come from?

I wanted to create a home that honoured the unique environment, I did not want to clutter the space with furniture, to not be regimented, so anyone who visited would feel they had left the traditional constraints of the world behind,… an experience, and not just a destination.

 Where did the name come from?

It was not easy, I wanted a name that was as unique as the location. I was able to stand on the concrete pad in the centre of the property 12 months after the initial design had been finalised,The views face North and I wanted orientate myself, so I consulted the compass on my phone “353 Degrees North”  unique, strong , recognisable and references the villas position. So it is really kind of obvious when explained.

If you had a time machine, what period of design would you go back to?

To the time you could bathe in clean rivers and not catch diseases.

What advice do you have for young Designers and Architects reading this interview?

Don’t be Ordinary when you can be Extraordinary.The client needs to feel comfortable with you and trust you, after all this is the biggest single acquisition in their life, but they are also open to exploring what is possible, take them out of their comfort zone but always make it comfortable.You will be amazed how often they will come back to that wonderful crazy design idea, they just need a little time to realise the value you are bringing to their project. Passion and imagination can move mountains, and minds.

So, what’s next?

Not sure, but definitely more adventures before dentures.

353 Degrees North Images – Agus Darmika Photography