Interior designer and architect olarewaju shem oseni of Larryshem interiors talks career, challenges, ‘Interiors by design’ reality show and more.

You will agree with me that spotlight is not flashed on interior designs/designers in Nigeria as much as it should, I mean why am I even expecting that when we don’t even have any Interior design school in Nigeria and people pay a huge amount of money to go abroad to learn the art thing for sure is we have amazing people in Nigeria working really hard to make interior space beautiful, functional and safe.I love interior designs although I know nothing about it, you needed to see the joy on my face when I discovered we finally have an interior design reality show in Nigeria “interior by design”. I was super happy watching it ands afterwards I contacted Larryshem who was also on the show and proved how sophisticated simplicity can be.

We talked career, challenges and everything in between, so enjoy.

Tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Olanrewaju Shem Oseni, I am an Architect and an Interior designer (designer in general though ) I love designing and hate being idle.I feel I can will my breath if I don’t work on my laptop in a day (laughs). I am 5.8 tall (average height) but I always think I am really tall but just have short legs (laughs).I sing best in my mind and dance best at midnight (cover face) and I always choose quality over quantity every single time.


How did you get into the design Industry?

Well, I studied Architecture as a first degree and Masters of Environmental design as a second degree both in the University of Lagos but found more interest in Interior design so I decided to give it a focus and do more of self-training with the help of internet and advice from those ahead of me.So I wasn’t a stranger to the design industry but just a little switch because what I had focused on all the while was building design and detailing due to the fact that it was basically the area of focus we were lead through as a students of architecture back then in University of Lagos and having interior design as a new focus and interest, I had to work more on my interior design skills and tried to get some interior design related projects which I will say was how I got into the design industry proper.

Tell us about “Larryshem Designs”

Larryshem Designs is a young brand and was founded early 2016. It offers professional design services with the interior design being the leading aspect for now and it’s actually a brand under Larryshem Limited and we just launched an Instagram account @larrysheminteriors which give tips and ideas in Interior design.
I am presently working on some more projects which will come out through Larryshem Designs such as Product designs etc and I believe that it’s not how far but how well so I choose to take things slowly and not just rush into anything because if you garbage in, you garbage out.

How did you get financing to start off your business?

Well, I have always been doing a thing or two to make money right from my first year in the university so the drive towards saving up to get to a step further has always been in me right from then so I had to finance most of the aspect of setting up my business little by little myself but talking about the aspect of carrying out a project for a client, the client obviously would have to finance such project or business.

Were you artistic as a child?

Yes, but just a bit
You were on the reality show ‘Interiors by design’ and you helped the finalist win, tell us about the experience.

Well, I won’t say I helped the finalist to win because it was a joint effort.The experience was so wonderful because I am someone that likes to solve problems no matter how difficult they might seem or look so when I was contacted to assist, I was really happy because I knew it was another challenge needed to be solved coming my way knowing fully well it was interior design related which is something I love doing.The task we were given was to design the interior of an apartment using the furniture pieces available so it was a bit challenging because we did not have that much luxury of personal choice on the furniture pieces to use also the challenge of trying to combine colors came up but we just had to find a way around it putting together our ideas and experiences.It was really great working with ‘Tayo’ the winner of the first season of ‘Interiors by Design’
Interiors by Design taught me a lot about interior design and improved my skills

What do you love most about being an Interior designer?
I love the fact that there is no limit to your creativity and the joy of making people feel more comfortable in their spaces, giving them more pleasure aesthetically.
Tell us about some of your popular project and which is your favorite?
Well, I have worked on quite a number of projects and I give God all the glory for that even with how young the brand is. I have worked on both residential and commercial designs and also a bit on hospitality designs.I really don’t have a favorite because my greatest goal on any of my projects is to put the client’s imagination to life but I guess I will classify the most challenging as my favorite which was one of the restaurant designs I worked on.This particular one was a Restaurant Design for the owners of Escape Lounge which is popularly known as “The Eve Restaurant” “@theeverestaurant on IG” at 234B, Adeola Odeku Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria. The project was quite challenging because we had a very short time to carry out the project and the client also was more like a perfectionist so it really kept us on serious pressure.
I loved the design I was able to come out with haven taken into consideration the client’s brief.
I was also happy we meet the client’s expectations.

How would you describe your designs? do you have a signature touch with your designs?
Hmm, I will describe my designs as problems solving designs and I really don’t have a signature touch because the way my designs turn out most times depends on the brief of the client and imagination the client has got.

What are the challenges you face in the Industry and Nigeria as a whole and how do you think they can be tackled?

I think some of the challenges faced as an interior designer in Nigeria are:
Interior Design isn’t given that much attention as much as it’s to be given. Imagine there isn’t any tertiary institution one can study “Interior Design” or “Interior Architecture” in Nigeria as a degree so it’s really bad for the field because most people had to go to other countries to study the course and some that couldn’t afford to do so just gave up on it and looked into other options of courses.
Though I learnt the University of Lagos just decided to take it up but I haven’t heard of anyone studying the course in Nigeria so far.
So a way I think that can be tackled is by encouraging people to study the course by making it available in a lot of tertiary institutions in Nigeria and also enlightening people on how important it is to have an interior designer put your space into place just as you imagine or have always wanted. as people tend to overlook Interior designers/designing.

There is also the issue of difficulty in sourcing for projects /contracts due to the way the country has been, this challenge also applies to some other fields in which the projects or contracts you get is solely based on who you know and maybe later the quality of your job.
Still trying to decipher a way the challenge can be tackled as it’s really a big challenge in the country.
As a young brand in the field, I face a lot of challenges because some clients have trust issues so on young brands while some feel you will take their money and just disappear, well I don’t blame them because we are all trying to play safe and stay out of troubles
So sometimes I had to partner with another brand to get a project and make sure I give a convincing level of delivery which most of the times activates my brand directly for their next project.

What would you describe as the most exhilarating and defining moment of your journey so far?

As for me, I feel exhilarated every moment I successfully complete a project
I am a “happy child”, where I work is where I play and vice-versa.
Was there anytime your client didn’t like your designs and how did you manage the situation?

Luckily for me, I haven’t had anytime like that. Glory be to God.
Where do you draw your Inspiration from?
I draw my inspiration from anything I can set my eyes on and sometimes it depends on my mood.

What’s your favorite color and furniture piece?

Color – White
Furniture Piece – A Lounge Chair
What’s your philosophy on life and designs?
Life is unfair and no secret to living it.
Designs are never bad, it’s just based on the context surrounding it.
what are your dreams/goals?
To live a successful and positively impacting life.
When you are not designing or creating what are you doing?
Researching on new ideas, checking up creative things people have done, sometimes hanging out with friends or engaging in some other fun activities.
3 things you can’t go out without?                                                      

Phone, Earpiece and power bank.

Describe yourself in 3 words?

What advice will you give to someone who wants to become an Interior designer?
My advice to such a person is to double his or her interest because it takes a lot of passion, patience, and creativity to pull through in the field.
Also, it is a very interesting field so please hurry up and come join the family.

Thank you so much Larryshem for taking out time to grant this interview.

And that’s it guys, the Interior design world in Nigeria is something to watch out for with amazing people like this working day in and out and I definitely hope that government will look into exploring it better than now. so I hope you enjoyed it..

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Barakah is that amazing sister next door striving to please Allah by being of service to the world in the best ways possible, she is a book lover and a Tea Addict.

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