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Nina Campbell is one of the world’s most respected and influential designers of fabric, wallpaper, furniture, china and accessories. Her list of clients and design expertise is unparalleled and has led to fashion ranges, rugs and carpet partnerships. Renowned for her contagious wit and brilliant sense of personal style, her designs appeal to both young and old and sit well in both contemporary and traditional interiors. At this year’s show Nina Campbell will be showcasing her new bespoke furniture collection, fabric and wallpaper designs and exclusive collaboration with art house artist Christopher Wilcox of Natural Curiosities.
How did you start out in the industry?
My career started at the General Trading Company where I worked on their wedding lists. It was a fabulous place to start as it gave me an insight into creating someone’s home, from the china, to the linen, to the glassware etc. I think ultimately that’s why I ended up being involved in all the different areas I am now, what with interior design and having the shop.
What’s been your proudest career moment to date?
There are so many. I feel proud when we complete a job and the clients have settled in and they love the space you’ve created for them. I recently worked for a Hong Kong / Chinese family. When it was finished and they saw it, they loved it. They summed it up perfectly: ‘nothing is matching but everything goes together’.
Which part of your job do you enjoy the most?
I’m very lucky as there are so many parts to what I do. If I’m not enjoying one part, I go and do something else. Having different areas of the business means you escape the difficult bits for a while, which really helps keep your equilibrium going.
What do you love the most about exhibiting at Decorex?
Decorex is so exciting. I love everybody coming together with their new products. It’s a great place to launch collections as there are so many open minds, brains and eyes going round. As our collections are born of things I love they are often a little ‘different’, but this sits well at Decorex. You do have to be brave the first year as people might not know you or your work, but the build-up comes from the second year. It’s now our third/fourth year exhibiting furniture and people now know we will deliver and the products prove themselves. For a show, it’s also a great size – not too big, not too small, so it’s not overwhelming. The feeling you get when you walk in and see the main display adds that sense of fantasy to the event.
Any exciting new products launching at this year’s show?
We have three main pieces launching this year. These are:
- A drop-leaf table which can be folded away when not in use. I used to have one and realised how useful they are, but it’s not easy to find them these days.
- A library chair that I saw in an antiques shop and have redone. Ours is very elegant, but not over the top.
- A new dining chair, as we wanted another to join our Judy chair. It’s a piece that comfortably marries classic and contemporary style.
Who or what inspires you?
Everything inspires me. I’ve just been in the Bahamas - it’s important to get away and refresh your eyes with new colours and light, and experience different ways of living. Travel is important as it offers the chance to see the different ways people build and approach things, and you can learn from this.
If we could give you an extra day per week, what would you spend it doing?
I would visit more exhibitions. There are so many to visit and during the week I don’t get enough time to get to them and at the weekends they are often too busy.
Where do you live and why?
I live in Chelsea. I love the area because of its village feel. At the end of my road there is a butcher, a baker, a bookstore etc. I’m not a fan of large supermarkets so I love the fact they are all independent stores.
Can you tell us a bit about your own home?
My style is one which is very easy to live in. I call it ‘The Hut’ as when I was first looking, I was told the number to visit and it didn’t exist. There was simply a row of houses and then all I could see from the road, where the house should have been, was a roof, surrounded by gardens. I’ve changed it quite a lot since and have created a basement. I now have two private gardens and feel like I’m in my own island. It’s the perfect layout for guests as they have their own space, as do I. The style does change quite a bit as I am often updating it when I have new wallpaper and furniture collections. Most of all, I find it quite peaceful.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on quite a bit in the UK at the moment. I’m doing a show house for the Chelsea Galleries on the King’s Road and I’m also about to start a mountain project in Colorado. I also have another project coming up in Amman, Jordon, which is great as I get to include local craftsmanship.
To find out more about Nina and her work, visit the Nina Campbell website.
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