Growing up in the northeast of England was invaluable to shaping my character; the freedom of roaming the rugged Northumberland hills and the miles of white-sand beaches with the powerful crashing waves of the cold North Sea. This raw and unrefined landscape ignited my passion for the beauty that nature creates and the hugely diverse inspiration it provides.
The alchemic evolution of nature provides an ever-changing plethora of textures, colours and shapes that can be interpreted into many forms of design. Today, our studio is internationally renowned for the use of texture and the contrasting juxtaposition of nature and materiality. It’s also encapsulated in the name I gave to my first book, Elemental Design.
My admiration for the ancient Romans first drew me to strong natural materials like wood, metal and stone and yet, I believe its important to counterbalance their solid, elemental qualities with soft and tactile finishes, to add a sense of warmth and comfort. For me, layering of different textures is the cornerstone of graceful design.
In every space or piece of furniture I design, texture is the key element. At our Carlyle Mansions project in Chelsea, innovative and artisanal wall finishes gave each space its own individuality, from sand-blasted ash, bronze patina, specialist plaster, textured lined, hemp grass and natural stone.
Texture can play different roles in a project. Our brief for our Bath project, a Georgian home in the historic city of Bath was to create a traditional aesthetic fashioned around their beautifully curated antique and art collection. In the dining room, we used the juxtaposition of texture and materiality to set-off their historically important artwork and furniture pieces. Classical oiled paintings in ornate frames are draped on a textured, sandblasted, blackened-ash wall while a large antique chandelier hangs above a contemporary dining table, contrasted with vibrant red leather chairs.
Layering textures and finishes brings visual interest, warmth and character to all our designs. Carefully curated antiques and artworks provide those extra contrasting accents and pops of colour. This, to me is the essence of the modern luxury aesthetic.
Words by Fiona Barratt-Campbell