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Interviewed by Felicity Talford Cooke for AD Magazine.

Interior designer, artist, and writer Leopold Lawrence is on a mission to bring Modern Glamour to homes across the UK. Through his timelessly chic furniture, spectacular lighting and sublime home accessories he is succeeding in this mission. We speak to this icon of modern interior style and find out why fearlessness is his best interior style advice. 

Your style is opulent, elegant, exuberant, individualistic, refined, and richly layered. Are you ever tempted to design a minimal interior?

My aesthetic has developed over the years. It’s always been an organic process. It changes as I have differing life experiences. In the beginning of my career I created loft style minimal interiors in converted warehouses along the river Thames here in London. I have gone from being a stark minimalist into a glamorous maximalist.

What are some of your most popular designs/projects? Tell us a bit about some of your designs/projects and what you love about them. What’s your favourite and why?

In the past I worked on a black and silver art deco inspired scheme for a client who owns bars and nightclubs. I used the black and silver marble wallpaper by Christian Lacroix (Bain De Minuit) throughout the apartment. The ceilings were fully mirrored, black high gloss floors, silver sofas, spectacular chandeliers, and multitudes of chrome and mirror glass furniture. The accessories and soft furnishings were all grey. It was exceptionally sophisticated, extravagant, glamorous, sexy and a real design statement.

How and why did you get into the design industry? where did you study, etc?

It was Madonna’s fault that I became an interior designer. If I had not been so nosey, I would have probably talked myself out of designing the first apartment. I was dining in a West End London restaurant. We were sitting back to back. I curiously wanted to know what she would order for dinner.  My partner urged me to suddenly answer a question that I had not heard. Over the next two days I was exceptionally surprised to find out he had recommended me to be the interior designer in one of his friends apartment in New York. I immensely enjoyed my first experience in the interior design world. I was at ease for the first time in all the creative fields I had previously worked in. My client rather amazingly was the senior menswear designer for one of the largest designer fashion brands. 

Where does your passion for interior design come from?

An obsession with creative visual installations that are both absolutely perfectly balanced and executed.

What do you love most about your work?

I love all my work until the contract is completed. I then need a period of time before I rekindle the romance with the finishes, the colours, and the silhouettes of the furniture.

Where do you turn for inspiration?

The building and its time in history. The client’s personality, and their personal aspirations. A metallic finish. Patterns I’ve recently appreciated. International travel. Colours I’m currently obsessed about. Paintings. Textures. The V&A museum.

Which person, place, or thing-inside the industry or out-inspires you?

Architecture, abstract expressionist paintings, cognitive design, art house films, perception, Kelly Wearstler, Jonathan Adler, chameleon furniture, eccentric visual books and laughter.

What project has given you most satisfaction?

The next one.

Design is often surrounded with talk of sustainability. How do you add to the conversation?

Fashion fades, only style pervades. Buy your items with care and keep them forever.

What do you think is the secret to great interior style?

Use colour effectively, be brave in your designs, never compromise on your vision. 

Who or what has influenced your style?

Each project is a unique exploration of curiosity and experimentation that leads to a constant evolution. It’s this seeking nature that influences my personal design signature.

What do you love about being an interior designer?

I like the pure creativity. The researching and sourcing for visual perfection. It’s like creating a three-dimensional jigsaw which is in itself an artistic installation. 

Do you have design principles that you think people should live by?

Your surroundings should always reflect your current sense of success. Share it with those you love and celebrate enthusiastically within your home. It’s the memories of others along with your well-chosen items that will make you happy forever more. Create a glamorous and an eccentric life. Be bold and never seek approval about the décor in your home from others.

What do you consider having been the main trends in the UK in recent years?

Design trends come along, and others take their place as part of the zeitgeist. Over past years here in the UK, we have seen Scandinavian, 20th Century Design, French, Italian, and Industrial representational movements. These have permeated the interior design magazines, interior designers work, and products in lifestyle shops across the nation. 

In your opinion, which will be the top trends in interior design for 2020?

The Memphis Movement. Peach on peach, mint green, and possibly powder blue.

What’s your favourite…

Flower? – Peonies, Ranunculi and Anemones

Fragrance? – Single note orange blossom

Car? – 1949 Delahaye Roadster

Song? – Whole Lotta Love – Led Zeppelin

Marble? – Panda

Finish? – Lacquer

Meal? – Fruits de mer

Rule to break? – All of them, love what you do, unapologetically

What’s is your guilty pleasure?

Art furniture: Marc Newson, Pablo Reinoso, Zaha Hadid, Danny Lane, Fernando Mastrangelo, Wendell Castle, and Sebastian Brajkovic.

Describe yourself in three words?

Creative, insightful, perfectionist

What are your biggest passions?

My two dachshunds, great food, fine wine, and hearing my friends laughing heartily.

You live in Islington, London. What is your home like?

A badly curated art gallery, with too many dog toys.

Who are your personal style icons?

John Galliano, Lee McQueen, Isabella Blow, Anna Piaggi, Daphne Guinness, Little Edie, Tilda Swinton, Grace Jones, Iris Apfel, Leigh Bowery, Su Pollard, Angela Smith and Janet Turner.

What would be your dream project?

A small eccentric hotel with a large budget.

What is your most treasured possession?

My two dogs Viscount and Valentina.

What are five coffee table books you’d be proud to display?

LaChapelle Land – Bauman

CCCP Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed – Taschen

Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures And Spectacular Saints From The Catacombs – Thames And Hudson

Le Corbusier Furniture And Interiors 1905 – 1965 – Scheidegger & Spiess

Judith Miller Furniture – Dorland Kindersley

What makes a good interior designer?

Wealthy forgiving friends. Hahaha!

What are the biggest design and décor mistakes that people make?

Painting small rooms light colours instead of dark ones. Placing all the furniture against the walls. Using a palette that consists of tones of the same hue. Not taking a small A4 size sample-board containing the project fabrics, paint colour swatches, tiles, flooring, worktop, and finish samples when you’re shopping. Obsessing about inconsequential items; You need to suspend your indecisiveness until the whole space is finished. 

Interior Design

If you're interested in hiring Leopold Lawrence as your interior designer, or as a consultant art director on your projects...

020 3643 5476

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Interior Design