Our exclusive interview with London-based interior designer Clare Weeks…
Clare Weeks set up the Notting Hill-based interior design agency My-Studio in 2012, and has established a reputation for creating striking, contemporary spaces – from farmhouses to city penthouses to restaurants. We spoke to Clare about her approach to design, her inspirations and why lighting is ‘the soul of an interior’…
How did you get started in interior design?
I was working as a client manager at a branding agency. I picked up a copy of Elle Decoration, read it, fell in love with interior design and was hooked. I had experience of delivering interiors projects in a corporate environment, but I decided to get formally trained. I had brilliant teachers at The Interior Design School London who really opened my eyes to the world of design. Then I was fortunate to learn from the best, including Suzy Hoodless. The first job I bagged out of design school was running Suzy’s Ladbroke Grove studio working on some of the most exciting and prestigious interiors projects in the UK – from Baccarat events to contemporary London townhouses and country estates.
How would you describe your interior design style?
Hard to say! Cool, contemporary, colourful, modern, timeless, playful. I would say that our style comes out of the close collaboration with individual clients so each project is bespoke. I like to spend time with a client in their own space and work out what is important to them. It’s definitely an alchemy of styles and periods – we are quite happy mixing a contemporary Italian sofa, vintage Murano glass chandelier and 1950’s Pierre Guariche pieces. It’s all in the mix.
Where you get your inspiration from?
David Bowie, Ilse Crawford, Damon Albarn, Bridget Riley, trips to the Nordic Countries, and Charlotte Perriand. I’m a big fan of colour and colour inspiration is everywhere, as Paul Smith says, you just need to look. I take inspiration from history too – the Bauhaus, 50’s Scandinavia and European Classic design. We also maintain a meticulous studio archive library of over 20,000 images. This informs each and every project.
What do you most enjoy about your work?
Turning tired, unloved spaces into something spectacular is an interior designer’s job. Looking at a client’s face when it’s all done is our reward. We also love collaborating with skilled craftspeople who bring our design ideas to life. Thankfully I have some of the best architects, suppliers and builders by my side. You can’t do this job on your own.
How does lighting play a part in your interiors?
Decorative lighting is so important to add a warm glow to a space. It’s the soul of an interior. Get it right and it lifts a space to the next level. We create bespoke architectural and decorative lighting plans for all our projects. It’s something that should be considered early on in a project and designed in conjunction with room and furniture layouts. I have a thing for vintage lights too – they add a note of character and imperfection.
Which recent projects are you particularly proud of?
A bright and colourful family home we designed for a lovely family of four in south West London. The architects Pike and Partners created a light, bright, highly functional and ergonomic space designed for efficiency and speed. We collaborated to create a home full of colour pops and pattern, to include bespoke bathroom and kitchen designs. The client allowed us to experiment with carefully curated pattern on pattern and bold colours. Colour is a brilliant way to set the tone and can be wonderfully rewarding.
Do you have a particular favourite corner or room (in your home or anywhere) that you feel is ‘all your own’? Or do you have any tips for creating a cosy space?
We are all for living a gentler life. We love to use furniture that’s soft, that envelops and allows you to relax. Fuss and hurry are so overrated. For our Kensington Townhouse project, we sourced an original 1970’s Bambole sofa by Mario Bellini from our trusted dealer in Berlin. We had it bespoke upholstered in a soft blue alcantara fabric. The sofa has been designed as a giant cushion, a ‘hug in a sofa’
Finally, do you have a favourite Pooky light?
We love the Crescent table lamp in white marble, it’s our absolute favourite and finds its way into almost all our interiors projects. It has quirky and elegant crescent shapes which we often reflect in the architectural detailing of our spaces. Add an empire shade in a bright pop colour like pink, green or a stripe and it’s exactly the playful edge we love.