Interior Architect Candace Rimes on Rural Studio, Designing Locally + More

As director of interior architecture at Fogarty Finger and the head of the firm’s Atlanta office, Candace Rimes has designed environments for clients including Nike, Rockefeller Group, and Slater Hospitality. In this week’s Milkshake, we talked to her about how she builds her practice: how she ensures that her design world expands rather than shrinks with time – reusing familiar ideas, practices, and motifs – and how her time at Auburn University’s acclaimed Rural Studio has informed her priority of building relationships with the members of the communities who share their lives with her buildings.

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“I would say that the Rural Studio instilled in me that as designers, we have a responsibility to better our communities — to feel personally responsible, not only for the spaces and the buildings that we design, but the way people experience them and how they feel inside of our spaces,” says Rimes. The Rural Studio, which was founded in 1993, was intended to interrogate the relationship between architects and designers and those who inhabit their buildings, especially given its location in Hale County, Alabama, where many residents live in poverty. “I try to remember a quote by Samuel Mockbee, founder of the Rural Studio, that architecture has to be greater than just architecture. And I think carrying that spirit forward into all of our work, we can really continue to improve our design practice every day.”

long interior shot of lobby like space with different seating areas

512 West 22nd Street Photo: Connie Zhou

Elsewhere in this Milkshake, Candace shares how she keeps her design work fresh: travel. “Travel can really be so influential to your design practice – it can really expand your worldview,” she says. “Having just returned from Japan, I’m already seeing how some of those experiences are influencing my design work, whether it be lighting design, or transparency in architecture or connection to nature. Whenever I’m traveling. I find that artists are always so tapped in and in tune with the local pulse and the stories that a place can tell – I think that I’m often so inspired by those stories that are found in those local galleries whenever I’m traveling.

interior shot of modern seating space with dark and colorful furnishings

1700 Broadway Club Photo: Connie Zhou

interior shot of modern club room with turquoise sofas

Rockefeller Group Photo: Connie Zhou

interior shot of modern lobby seating area

The Dime Photo: Alexander Severin

For more from Candace, tune in!

Diana Ostrom, who has written for Wallpaper, Interior Design, ID, The Wall Street Journal, and other outlets, is also the author of Faraway Places, a newsletter about travel.

Milkshake, DMTV (Design Milk TV)’s first regular series, shakes up the traditional interview format by asking designers, creatives, educators and industry professionals to select interview questions at random from their favorite bowl or vessel. During their candid discussions, you’ll not only gain a peek into their personal homeware collections, but also valuable insights into their work, life and passions.

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