Macacos me mordam! – Monkey’s are biting me! - means to be intrigued or surprised in Portuguese. For Patricia Fontes, this expression suits her feelings on design.
After earning her BA in Economics, Patricia Fontes came to the United States from her native Brazil to earn her MBA at Chapel Hill. Life then led Patricia to California.
Soon enough, she was starting a family and was looking for a job that allowed her to have more time with her children. She always loved design and she loves to learn. Thinking interior design was almost as simple as picking colors and choosing wallpaper, she embarked on a certificate program in her new chosen field. Learning quickly that she was wrong; interior design is challenging and that there is so much to learn, Patricia embraced her desire to learn and continued to earn a Master’s degree in Interior Architecture at Cal Poly!
At school she was chosen for an internship at a large international design firm. In her past, having worked for Fortune 500 Companies, Patricia decided she wanted an experience working for a more intimate sized company. She didn’t want to be designing just pieces of a project, she wanted to take responsibility for an entire project. So, she passed up the internship. Instead she chose to intern for a boutique design + construct firm in Santa Monica, SweisKloss. She found what she was looking for and she loved it. The adoration was mutual, so when Patricia finished her Master’s, SweisKloss hired her.
In addition to design, one of Patricia’s other passions is knitting. The two, design and knitting, are related for Patricia.
What she says is nice about knitting is that the item being knit can always be customized to the wearer. Modifications to the color combinations, the type of yarn used, etc. can all be made so that the piece is fitting of the user. Much like design. Beyond the basic principles, interior design also allows for creativity and suitability for the user.
Natural materials are her favorite. Patricia knits with wools and silk yarns and uses natural dyes. Likewise, when designing interiors, Patricia prefers natural materials such as real stone and natural wood.
Patricia loves that her young daughters are picking up their mother’s love of design. They really enjoy crafting, painting, drawing and building stuff. “Their favorite store is Michaels,” Patricia says with a big smile. Recently they helped mom dye wool yarn a beautiful pale pink using avocado pits. This process requires some chemistry, a little patience and teamwork; a great learning experience for the girls.
For Patricia, like knitting, in design there is always something else to learn. And to prove it, Patricia is currently pursuing a certificate in Landscape Architecture! Those crazy monkey’s just keep biting!