Inspired – Nicola McEwan, Zizzi

In my role as design manager for Zizzi restaurants I’m always looking at what’s new in terms of interior design, product design, architecture and ceramics, and taking inspiration from all these things so that each of our new restaurants is different from the one before.

I love reading the array of inspirational design blogs and e-magazines that are out there and seeing what other people have loved and written about – it’s a great way of quickly keeping up to date with current trends and learning which new designers are being talked about.

The work of young designers and artists is something that really inspires me. Every year I visit the BP Portrait Award exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London, and every single time I come away wishing I could paint as well as those shortlisted artists. I usually go home and try to, but the results are sadly never as good.

Portrait art has always been a passion of mine. Because this exhibition attracts so many artists, the paintings are all so different,so I can really indulge in all the things I love about it – the various painting techniques, the composition, the emotion of the sitter, how they’ve painted the light – thinking, ’Seriously, this must be a photograph’.

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