1. How do you define luxury interiors?
To me a luxury interior is one that is very stylish and inviting at the same time; regardless whether it’s a home, office or an event space, it has to be cozy and make you feel comfortable. High-quality furniture and aptly curated accessories, including unique pieces that feel personal, are also key.
2. What do you think is important about London’s contribution to luxury interiors?
The same way that it is with fashion, London is often ahead of the curve when it comes to showcasing furniture, fabrics, lighting and accessories. It has a roster of well-established British names such as David Mellor, Terence Conran, Jasper Morrison, Tom Dixon, Sheridan Coakley, Zeev Aram to name a few. It is also a wonderful platform for new talent and has a great diversity of younger and up-and-coming designers such as, Gregory Buntain and Ian Collings behind Fort Standard, Jochem Faudet and Jon Harrison of Faudet-Harrison, Donna Wilson and Hannah Waldron for instance. In that sense I find London astoundingly inspirational. As a design capital, it is also a place where you can find anything from ultra-sleek chic vintage to Scandi modern minimalism to playful children’s design.
3. What trends are you currently spotting?
Matte-finished décor is now in – everything from lighting, to walls to floors; gray hardwood floors are also very popular.
Tech-less homes and spaces – this is a new trend challenging our gadget-packed lifestyles, where families try to remain screen-free in at least one of their rooms in order to fully switch-off and enjoy digital-free time.
Funky, surprising brand collaborations, for example notebook and stationery brand Moleskine recently teamed up with Italian design firm Driade for its first-ever furniture line. I can’t wait to see what’s next.
4. Can you define the key elements that are important to the luxury interiors industry?
Sustainable eco-materials that are long-lasting and the quality of the final product itself are at the core of the luxury interiors industry. I think another key element is surprise – a new modern approach always keeps things moving and this surely applies to any industry not just interior design. I think this is definitely London’s forte– to discover new talent and ultimately predict and set design trends.
5. Where is the market moving, given its growth? Will growth be at the expense of exclusivity?
Geographically, in terms of market spend, Southeast Asia, the UAE and to a certain extend Brazil have been considerably growing in the past 5-10 years.
In terms of luxury, I don't think that growth will be at the expense of exclusivity. Indeed, there is an extensive market for fast interiors, as evidenced by the rise of home lines by well-known high-street clothing labels lately. As always, there is still a vast market for the Ikeas of the world, but there is also a growing demand for exclusively made pieces and high-end design. I think what we need more of is mid-market furniture and quality accessories, made by independent designers.
6. How important are the clusters in West London – Chelsea Harbour, Pimlico Road etc? And why?
I am always amazed by the density of quality brands in the area around Pimlico Road, King’s Road and Chelsea Harbour. I find these clusters very inspirational both from a consumer and creative perspective. In a way, it’s like mini design communities – a great place where you can find quirky new products and some old vintage treasures, or meet like-minded designers, retailers and creatives.
Clearly, it’s also very convenient that you can find everything you need to spruce up your home – from fabrics, furniture and flooring to baths and tiles – in one place.
Nelly Gocheva is the global editor of T Brand Studio International, the brand-marketing arm of The New York Times. Prior to that Nelly led the Toronto bureau of Monocle magazine, specializing in luxury retail and design.
Photo credit: Svetla Atanasova