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Meet super creative Don Cameron

JONES #4 Super creative series

Don Cameron at home. Curator Don Cameron at home.


For JONES Issue #4 we spoke to super creatives across design, fashion, architecture, art and more. What are their processes? What drives and inspires them?

Working away behind the scenes, on hypnotic short films, cult footwear and atmospheric interiors, these modern artisans might not shout about their successes but they sure do have them in spades.

Meet the second of our super creatives, Don Cameron, the man who curated Hotel Hotel’s interiors; his method focusing on staging for meaningful experience.

Home away from home. This is the principle that prompted Don Cameron to deconstruct the hotel experience when he designed the ultra-hip interiors of Hotel Hotel, located in Canberra’s radical Nishi precinct.

After some years directing commercials and music videos in London, Cameron returned to Sydney and met Nishi developer Nectar Efkarpidis. He began working with Efkarpidis, incorporating vintage pieces into the public and private spaces of Hotel Hotel. The brief soon extended to cover all of the interiors in the hotel’s rooms and public lounge.

A guest room at Hotel Hotel in Canberra, designed by Cameron in collaboration with Molonglo Group and Ken Neale. For Cameron, the purpose of both film and interiors is to create “emotive environments”.

“After discarding every memory of what hotels were and discussing the nomadic requirements of short-term stays, we had an idea of how the hotel should respond to people’s needs,” he says. Drawing from Rio’s favelas and Johannesburg’s shanty towns, the duo identified their core inspiration: “The Australian shack and raw timber buildings [were] our unique vernacular – an improvised dwelling that would evolve and respond to different systems of use. We wanted to create a five-star shack.”

For Cameron, the purpose of both film and interiors is to create “emotive environments”. In film, he says, the tools include art direction, camera movement, lighting and editing, whereas with interiors you have material selection and colour palettes as well as shaping light and shadow. For Hotel Hotel, Cameron combined rugged exterior finishes – like bush-hammered concrete and clay-rendered walls – with textured ceilings, solid oak joinery, glamorous brass fittings and vintage collectables.

“Everything was designed around encouraging people to linger,” he says. “I wanted people to own their room, not to live out of a suitcase. We wanted to create spaces that were engaging, stimulating, relaxing and genuine. These rooms feel like a friend you can be yourself around.”

Words by Divya Bala


Feeling inspired? Browse below to create an emotive environment in your home.