Creative director of RDM Design Claudia Binder on the importance of self-care and why Croatia is top of her travel list

RDM Design has been designing luxury hotel interiors and public spaces since 1995.

Binder is also a practising transformational life coach, and use hypnotherapy and coaching in her work (All photos: RDM Design)

Binder, who is also a holistic health coach, reveals her idea of a perfect weekend as well as tips to unwind. 

Options: Tell us a little about RDM Design.
Claudia Binder: RDM Design has been designing luxury hotel interiors, public spaces, show units, service apartments and unique private residences since 1995. The team is led by interior architect Nic Proud, who has worked internationally for over 35 years. I am his partner and creative director. Together, our team of designers form a reliable, responsive, flexible and creative force, always striving to inspire, achieve, perform and deliver to the highest standards. Oh, I must not forget Paddy, the office dog whose job it is to connect people and make them smile.

The pandemic has highlighted the need and importance for spaces in which we can find comfort, safety and rest. What easy tips can you share to make one’s own spaces a little bit more inviting this year?
Personally, I have created a reset zone in my home office. This is the space where work is not allowed in any form but where I can focus purely on creating peace and calm mentally. I have a lovely classic Eames chair with a footrest, a small side table and a reading light, plus a noise reducing headset to listen to my personal tapes, which constantly install positive and new neural pathways into my brain, disallowing negativity and anxiety to take over. We all struggle with this, so a “safe zone” is very important to me. Now that restrictions ease and I am back at work with my colleagues again, the safe zone remains at home and I look forward to “zoning out” in it every morning and evening. Every home should have a self-care space. It doesn’t matter how big or small it is or if you decorate it or not. It is about the mindset that, once you are here, the only important thing is yourself.


The interior of boutique hotel Liu Men, which sports a Peranakan charm, is designed by Binder’s team

You are also a holistic health coach. Tell us how you recovered from a personal episode of burnout, and what people can do to achieve more balance in life.
I am a practising transformational life coach, and use hypnotherapy and coaching in my work. I am also a certified physio trainer and holistic health coach in Germany and Switzerland. My five penny answer to your question would be to create a safe zone in your home or office; cut out sugar and unhealthy foods as much as possible from your diet — I have an 80/20 rule as I love cakes, chocolates and French fries, which I consider treats; and go out into nature as often as you can as this affects your microbiome and mental health in a positive way. After all, your gut is your second brain. I make sure to listen to my neuro-linguistic programming audio every day to influence the way I think. This is my form of meditation. Personally, I also consume a basic set of supplements — magnesium glycinate, vitamins D3, K2, C and B complex — and I eat up to three brazil nuts every day for selenium.

What are the things you surround yourself with that immediately uplifts your mood?
Dogs, horses, mountains and indulging in good, healthy food. Also being around people who want to make the world a better place for all.

What are your own favourite sources of inspiration?
Mountains, horses and seeing women transform from ‘just functioning’ into realising their full potential and stepping onto a path of purpose and joy.

What are the books you always re-read and why?
You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay, as I have not had an easy past, and Richard Bach’s novella Jonathan Livingston Seagull, as I often feel like I’m the one flying higher and faster against the flock. I also love autobiographies: Freddie Mercury, Nelson Mandela, Catherine the Great and Margaret Thatcher. I wish I had more time to read so I am using an app that makes me read for 10 minutes daily. It’s called Headway.

What are you reading right now, though?
A German book on quantum physics.


One of RDM's projects, the Fairmont SPA in Cairo

And what about music? What are your favourite, feel-good tunes?
Creedence Clearwater Revival and T.REX when I want to feel young and free. Brandi Carlile’s The Story when I’m melancholic. And Blondie when I want to make myself exercise. I’m also a fan of the old classics by Elton John and Sting.

What are your travel plans looking like now that travelling the world seems easier?
Visiting Croatia. My daughter is an actress and she has just finished filming a period drama called Hotel Portofino with Natascha McElhone. The photos she sent from there are simply stunning. It is also only five hours’ drive from our home in Vienna and yet I have never been there. So, Croatia it is for 2022.

Describe your idea of a perfect weekend.
I am an outdoors kind of girl, so it would involve trekking in the mountains in springtime with family and/or friends, eating simple but good food and drinking great wine. It’s about simply being together with people without feeling any pressure. 

This article first appeared on Feb 14, 2022 in The Edge Malaysia.


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