At GemLife, we’re a community inside and out. We love getting to know our resident stakeholders, so here’s an opportunity for you to get to know us better too. A family-run business through and through, GemLife would be nowhere without its staff members and we like to make sure they know that they’re appreciated.
TJ Whatarangi has been with us for over three years and within that time we have seen him grow, develop and flourish into a fantastic member of our team. TJ came to us as a student whilst he was still in the process of gaining his Master’s degree from Griffith University. During his degree, TJ covered an enormous array of architectural designs from housing and commercial projects to public works and even bridges. Here we put Head Designer TJ in the hot seat:
Why did you decide to become a designer?
TJ: For as long as I can remember, I have always loved art. Whether that’s with pen and paper or electronically, I have always been creative. Choosing architectural design as a career was a fantastic way for me to marry my skills and passion with a strong and respected profession.
What inspires you?
TJ: There’s definitely no singular answer to that question! To try and get myself ‘in the zone’, I tend to just pick up a pen and start drawing. Even if it’s nonsensical doodling, it tends to help me focus. Just drawing, screwing the paper up and then starting again really helps me move forward. I take inspiration from a very wide range of architectural projects and it’s that variety that I believe shapes my enthusiasm and ability.
What do you most enjoy about your role?
TJ: I love the variety. Every project is different and it’s always an ongoing journey to design a client’s home to their exact requirements – it’s something that I really enjoy. One thing that I’ve found is that I don’t spend a lot of time on variations. GemLife homes tend to have all the luxury features – that wouldn’t normally be included in similar homes –already offered as standard. My role is almost like that of an interpreter; I have to extract a client’s ideas and translate that into the home’s design. Sometimes it’s easy; sometimes it can be challenging but on every occasion, I just get the tracing paper out and go for it. Problem solving is a skill that I use in terms of weighing up solutions to a client’s request without having it impact on other parts of the design. We’re always happy to sit down with our clients and work with what’s best for them.
What is your favourite GemLife home?
TJ: Funnily enough I have one that immediately comes to mind! I really like the Highfields Acacia as despite its relatively conservative overall meterage, it feels enormous inside. The clever positioning of the three bedrooms and double garage makes the home feel light and airy. Plus, with the efficient use of space there’s more opportunity for variations and creativity in addition to being excellent value for money.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
TJ: I love exercising and going to the gym – purely because I also love food, so it has to be a careful balancing act. I enjoy socialising with friends and that’s definitely made easy by the fact that my apartment is on top of a brewery with regular visiting food trucks!
Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
TJ: I don’t even know where I’m going tomorrow! But really, I’m hoping I’ll be right here. We have so many exciting projects coming up in the future and I want to see that continue. I’m really looking forward to growing with the company and seeing us thrive.