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Q&A with journalist-turned-interior designer Suzy Hoodless
From printed paper to London’s most exclusive interiors: an interview with a visionary woman
Suzy Hoodless lives and works in London as interior designer. Over the last years she has been piling up collaborations with brands of the likes of The Rug Company, Osborne & Little and Johnstons of Elgin
17 years ago, Suzy Hoodless left her role as interior decor journalist at Wallpaper* to focus on her own design projects. Since then, she has been author of many exclusive private residences and capsule collections for brands of the likes of The Rug Company, Osborne & Little and Johnstons of Elgin, only to name a few.
Her most recent works include a steak house, a bar and a club stretching over a 1,400 square-metre area set in the beating heart of London, in which she playfully approached the building’s original features – see the vaulted ceilings and light pieces – by adding a selection of custom-made furniture and mid-19th century’s design furnishings upholstered in leather and velvet.
We met in her London studio to learn more about her work, major sources of inspiration and upcoming goals.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
From everything, basically: the marble flooring pattern in a museum or the shimmering green of lichens and moss on stone; from a whatever robe fabric, a Church, a metro ride. I spend much of my day doing keen observations of all surrounding details, not to mention how easy it is nowadays to take a picture and snatch a memory for ever.
Shown above: the living of a Kensington luxury residence, London. Period accessories include the sofa by Ligne Roset, a chest of drawers by Arne Vodder and the Atlas carpet by The Rug Company
Define your work.
Classic and modern, designed to the last detail, timeless, funny, unexpected, smart, sophisticated. I tirelessly struggle to create a blend of different styles and epochs, so to deliver unique interiors suitable to my clients and the overall architectural frame.
What about your latest projects?
I have been working on a former artist studio now converted to a family house in one of Chelsea’s most prestigious streets. We just applied all final finishes on chalkboard walls and installed a shower box with double-height, illuminated top. The original layout was defined by multiple levels and the lack of inner partitions, which we definitely shook up to make an actual residential setting. Furniture is expected to be soft, hyper-comfortable and family-friendly, such as fluffy hand-carved carpets, velvet complements and upholstered doors.
Shown above: The Television Centre, a project by Suzy Hoodless, with carpet by Vanderhurd and furniture selection by George Smith
One more project you really care about.
A five-storey townhouse in the Kensington neighbourhood: a mix of furnishings and lighting fixtures collected from all over the world, together with built-in furniture and woodworking. Also, an ad hoc hand-painted wallpaper specifically designed for the living, a panelled dining area with wooden flooring that hides a bar corner with brass, marble and lacquered finishes. A dream coming true.
Where do you collect your design must-haves from?
At auctions, in retail stores, getting tips from (more or less) contemporary designers. We do love collaborating with great artisans and realise custom-made furniture in the UK. We occasionally engage with illustrious brands – both Italian and international – like Tom Dixon, Knoll, Artemide, Loro Piana, Another Country, Scholten etc.
Shown above: The Television Centre, a project by Suzy Hoodless, with sculpture-like carpet by Vanderhurd and table by Another Country
Does art play a key role in your work?
Indeed. Most of our clients are definitely art enthusiasts, and often ask for our help to spot the right pieces for completing the interiors. They might range from sculptures to artworks. Like, we just grabbed a 1950’s ceramic sculpture by Stig Lindberg, along with further works by artists of the likes of Bridget Riley, Tracey Emin, Gary Hume, Gerals Laing and Frank Auerbach.
Do you believe in contemporary design trends?
Oh, don’t ask me, for I generally skip over them. I want my projects to result from well-pondered evolutions rather than volatile vogues. They need to survive the test of time, although it is likely that certain finishes or products tend to be popular in specific time frames: take brass, for instance, which is a highly sought-after and yet timeless material.
Shown above: furniture by George Smith, tableware by Barber and Osgerby for Royal Doulton
What about the future of design?
As already witnessed over the last years, I believe technology is soon to take over. In my heart, I still hope that great companies (like Carl Hansen, for instance) will keep combining skilled craftsmanship and advanced technology to enhance their business, without the former being 100% replaced by the latter.
And what about your personal future?
The studios at the Television Centre in London and a spectacular mansion in Hampstead, one of the capital’s most elegant district.
Shown above: interiors of a London residence by Suzy Hoodless
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