Designer and mother-of-two Gitta Gschwendtner lives with her husband and two children in Hackney, East London…
I am fortunate to share parenting with my husband, Drew, who is a writer. The fact that we both work for ourselves gives us a lot of freedom to manage our days. We have a basic schedule of responsibilities, but then we agree to change this depending on each others work commitments. Between ourselves, school and nursery I feel that we manage to strike a good balance between work and home life. I really enjoy combining both work and kids, best of both worlds!
Drew and I alternate getting up with the kids so I’ll either get up around 6.30am or 8am. We all have breakfast together and then it’s off to school and nursery for the kids and off to the studio/meetings for me until pick up around 5.30pm, unless Drew picks up and I work late. We alternate bedtime too, but I usually make sure I am at least back for a good night kiss. If it’s not a nursery day for Til I will meet up with some friends with kids to hang out and play. After school Otto will join us on those days, too.
My children love creating shows and there is always a lot of noise in our house. A lot of the kids’ effort goes into the preparation of decorations made from junk and then there are endless performances to watch. Unless we are outside exploring the parks and delights of our neighbourhood in Hackney, East London.
I love the inherent creativity in children and try not to interfere with it. Otto’s favourite toys are the content of the recycling bin and masking tape so I am happy with that. We don’t tend to buy ready made costumes and I encourage the boys to just make what they want to play with.
I am currently working on a major public art/furniture installation for a new Guy’s and St Thomas’s Cancer Centre opening in the autumn this year. It’s a brilliant project where I am creating seating installations, reception areas as well as consulting on the interiors.
I really enjoyed working on the exhibition design for the Fabric of India at the V&A. As well as creating the environments to evoke the context for the beautiful objects, I particularly loved creating the corridor made from kilometre of red bungee.
My father intended to go to art school, but ended up becoming a doctor, enjoying a spot of painting in his spare time. My mother studied fashion design, but later retrained as a nurse. When I grew up both medicine and creativity were always around and I only made my decision not to study medicine after having too much fun on my art foundation course in London.
I hope that my children will grow up to be confident and happy men, who respect others, but follow their own lead. They can do whatever they want as long as they are happy and don’t harm other, but secretly I am hoping for at least one doctor. At present I think two buskers are more likely.