Decorex is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.
Q&A: Henry Prideaux
Describe a typical day for Henry
I aim to be at home to make breakfast for our four year old son, Willoughby before heading to work, but sometimes early site meetings take priority. My current projects are in Central and East London with a couple out of town too, so I can be travelling all over. I usually try and engineer meetings on different sites so that they all happen on the same day meaning I am able to plan my days out of the studio effectively. I also tend to incorporate any sourcing on these days so that I can return with new samples, fully informed on progress onsite then spend a decent chunk of time in the studio to focus on designing and any admin tasks to maximise my working day.
Every project is at a different stage, so I am tugged in different directions by clients, consultants and suppliers. It’s a juggling act keeping all the balls in the air so managing my time and resources is key to keeping everyone happy. Ideally, I wrap things up at a reasonable time each day before heading home to read a bedtime story to Willoughby and have supper with Amy.
Describe your design style
There is no specific house style at Henry Prideaux Interior Design. Every client, property and brief are different, and the design will need to respond accordingly. We don’t force a style on our clients as they are the ones going to live in the property and so we want them to love it. We will challenge the initial brief with lots of different options and then try to tailor the design to include as much originality as we can. At the same time, we want the design to have integrity as we will often be working on a project for a long time and want to enjoy the process to ensure the best result is achieved.
Who inspires you most?
It is always something in the brief from the client that I am drawn to that creates the overall look and feel of a house as well as the feeling I get when I see their excitement that what I am planning for them they really love. This inspires me to keep pushing and working hard to achieve everyone’s end goal of a beautiful interior.
What does it take, both professionally and personally, to open your own practice?
Setting up a business was a huge undertaking as being a designer suddenly became only half the job. Legal contracts, Insurance, Accounts, HR, PR and Marketing, Project and Client Management were all just as important, and still are. Many designers are not businessmen and vice versa and managing the balance between the two has been the biggest challenge.
It takes a lot of time to set up a business and make sure everything is being managed correctly. This means lots of hours at work balanced with life at home.
How do you think the industry has changed over the last 10 years?
I’d say Instagram as a global phenomenon and social media overall has had a huge effect on the industry. It feels like it is a lot easier to become an interior designer these days as there are no real restrictions or regulations. It’s hard to know whether there is any substance and experience behind a smart website or social media page.
To become a true professional will take many years of hard work and a number of completed projects under ones belt to know how to tackle a project and achieve a quality outcome. On the other hand, I have found plenty of new suppliers via social media and it has allowed more inclusiveness, collaborations and community spirit amongst designers and suppliers.
Print media has had to up its game too and I’ve noticed many of the editorial titles that I love to read for inspiration refresh their aesthetic to appeal to new audiences.
What has been the highlight of your career?
Creating one of the four Blank Canvas entrance spaces at Decorex last year was a massive highlight for me having seen some of the top designers design various installations before me, including my former boss and great influence, Nicky Haslam. The fact this then led to my biggest project to date as an independent designer was fantastic.
What’s your most recent interiors discovery?
I am really enjoying using Samuel and Sons trimming to add that special finishing touch in my projects. Also, collaborating with fantastic companies including audio-visual company, Electric Frog to provide the best technology solutions and art gallery, Grandy Art to supply a range of paintings to support a recent project has been incredibly useful. However, the latest discovery I am really excited about is the new studio space we will be moving into later this month. Larger and more convenient for home it will mean Amy has a permanent desk to work from and will also allow the business to continue growing.
• You’re speaking in a seminar this year entitled Sustainability and Luxury: How can they Coexist. Does One have to Detract from the Other?
Do you try to use sustainably sourced products and if so, what challenges have you faced?
It is hard to find products that are sustainable without being at the expense of design, but many brands are becoming more sustainable which is great to see. In fact, I have recently used a beautiful Abaca wallcovering by Tatiana Tafur at a London project which is made from a type of hemp, is a naturally renewable material and therefore more environmentally friendly.
One area that I would like to see improved is how materials and products are packaged, particularly the use of polystyrene and other foams which, to my knowledge isn’t recyclable.
What are you excited about seeing at this year’s Decorex?
The new feature, Design Encounter will be very interesting to see having created an installation myself last year. I’m also really excited about unveiling the Beardmore stand that I have helped to design. It will just be great to experience the show in its new surroundings at Olympia London. I can’t wait to get fully immersed!
Battersea Apartment, London