We’re often asked how we start a design. It’s a hard thing to answer as it’s really an intangible concept. After we’ve decided on the new layout, we start by asking the client a lot of questions, and getting a firm idea of what they don’t like and what they gravitate towards, as well as practical concerns (hardwearing, easy cleaning etc). Then we do a blitz of the major London showrooms for inspiration. We collect a few (we really try to limit these, as sampling for it’s own sake is a waste of everyone’s time and resources) samples and make note of features or furniture that would work. At first everything looks amazing and it can be overwhelming.
Usually one product just fits perfectly. In our current project we have a wall of the dining area that we are planning to make a feature of. The client loves bright colours, florals and mosaics, so a quick trip into Bisazza resulted in us finding an amazing floral spread. Once we’d decided on that (you just sort of know) all the other research and sample gathering we’d done just fell into place. All of a sudden you can be looking at 100 fabric samples and instantly 80 aren’t going to work with the selected colours. Then 10 will be wrong sort of feeling.
Out of the 10 remaining you’ll usually be able to reduce it to 1 or 2 which just work best. Likewise, colours that feature in the mosaic in a less dominant way can be introduced more heavily in the bedrooms, so that the whole scheme makes sense, without being too matchy-matchy or paint-by-numbers. It sort of grows organically once the tone and feel is established by the first object. Somehow until you’ve selected one or two objects, no matter how much you’ve seen inspirational pictures or know what you’re going for, without physical objects to relate things back to, the design never quite gathers pace (or gets legs). The truth is the design usually takes on a bit of a life of it’s own and you just have to go with it and mould it to the client’s requirements.