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Nicky Haslam’s greatest legacy is his undeniable talent and influence as Britain’s ultimate interior designer. He is renowned for his great sense of humour, and in his spare time he is also known as a socialite, actor, artist, cabaret singer, book reviewer, art editor, memoirist and literary editor. With all of this to juggle, Nicky still found time to visit us at Decorex International this year, and the crowd which gathered for his seminar with Sue Crewe was a testiment to his reputation within the industry. We caught up with the interior design icon to find out more about his inspirations and furture plans.
What first drew you into the world of interior design?
The world drew ME in, really…I spent my childhood and young adult life in and amongst the world’s most beautiful homes and doing up my own. People just asked me for help, long before I even contemplated the idea of decorating as a 'career'.
What would you say is your biggest inspiration as a designer?
A contemporary and eclectic entry hall in New York, elongated with hand blown antique mirror
If you could describe your work in 3 words, what would they be?
Original, subtly glamorous, pleasure-giving
What is the biggest challenge in your working life?
Having to rescue clients from the banal or impractical work expedited by the too young and too inexperienced
Absolute splendor evoking the English countryside in a city dwelling
What would you say is your favourite work so far?
It’s generally the current one...but the restoration of a an 18C temple at Parkstead in Roehampton, originally my family's Bessborough House, was a personally fulfilling project of which I'm immensely proud.
A moody and thought provoking vignette through an enfilade in London
If you could sum Decorex up in 20 words what would they be?
THE place to be every autumn where we hope to inspire, be inspired, meet old friends, and discover the future. (that’s exactly 20!)
What would be your favourite object in your own home?
Personal gifts that I've received over the years...one of note is an engraving given to me by Lucien Freud on one his visits.
A calm and serene drawing room in the South of France
You have recently released an album featuring guest vocals from some well-known friends; can you tell us more about this?
Well it just sort of 'happened'!! Music is certainly an important source of inspiration to me and I've always adored singing. When I was asked to perform my first cabaret I really thought that was a one-off, but after I'd done four or five more----at the Savoy and Annabels--- the music producer David Ogilvy suggested I we make an album. Naturally I was terrified, but making 'Midnight Matinee' was a joy, especially since many of my rock-star friends so generously collaborated .
Are there any more projects on the horizon?
Of course! More houses, more books, more furniture designs with OKA, another album, and perhaps the unexpected...a fashion line maybe?? Who knows!!
As a renowned figure within the industry, what would your advice be for aspiring designers?
Get off the computer and hit the streets!! Travel travel travel. Open your eyes and all of your senses. Design is a sensory experience, you need to be living it to expedite it.