Frame of Mind

Artists delve into themes such as identity, ownership and the subconscious, while designers translate those concepts into the design of physical environments


Alongside Debbie’s 20-year career in experiential design within the built environment she is also an art and architectural historian which provides greater depth to her design solutions from strategic wayfinding for vast campus sites to creative environmental graphics and the curation of brand experiences which result in inspiring and unique spaces.

Debbie Drake
Debbie Drake


Tate Modern

As my own style in art developed into my profession, I found myself drawn to artists who had been graphic designers, from Andy Warhol to Keith Haring. Pop Art bought mass culture, media and art together, although the most influential artists to me creatively are the striking statements and questioning works of artists like Jenny Holzer and Barbara Kruger. Another graphic designer, Kruger’s work blurs the boundaries between commercial and conceptual, and needs to be seen to be experienced. To continue the debate in our overtly mass-produced world, it makes you question the everyday, consumerism and ownership.

The Henry Moore Foundation, on display at Tate Britain © Tate Photography

My love of sculpture completes my career path from art lover to working within the built environment. For me, it is most inspiring to find works by chance in the public realm, and Moore’s monumental pieces are so prolific around London, waiting to be discovered.

But at Tate Britain, there is a room that brings the scale down and perfectly reveals the process of the artist’s mind through small working maquettes, which are a privilege to see. When you can interact and experience public works physically and personally, we can add our own narrative. Art is personal and subjective, we all read our own interpretation, and that provides us all with our own piece of ownership of great artworks.

© The National Gallery, London

I love the way this artwork is photographic but feels dreamy. In my work, this is something that has always interested me – how you can look at something real and yet it goes deeper than the subject matter. In the context of exhibition design, this helps unlock meaning

through finding emotional connections between viewers and objects, unleashing the imagination and dreams. I see so many things here: a dance, landscape, movement, stillness, bird, person, room… I begin to make up my own story for what’s happening. I love that.

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