Industry Profile: Russell Sage

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Renowned in both the interior design and fashion worlds, Russell Sage is as talented as he is eccentric. With a design portfolio including The Goring Hotel, a Zetter townhouse, and the Grain Store in King’s Cross, Russell has an unquestionable reputation for impeccable designs with a flamboyant twist. As one of the designers for this year’s Decorex Entrance, Russell will be interpreting Hogarth’s Orgy scene from A Rake’s Progress, and we are truly intrigued as to what this eclectic designer will create.

We caught up with Russell ahead of the show to talk inspirations, aspirations, and Great British Design...

Firstly, can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m an interior designer living and working in London, who is passionate about hospitality design involving 5 star hotels, premium members clubs and outstanding restaurants.

You used to be a fashion designer, what first drew you into the world of interior design? 

I was actually in antiques and interiors before I moved into fashion, so the move back into Interiors after my 5 years at London fashion week was really quite natural. I just missed interiors hugely and couldn’t wait to get back to doing things which had more longevity.

Who or what would you say is your biggest inspiration? 

My family! They have worked so hard all their lives, with much of it in the hospitality industry (I grew up in a very busy country food pub in the West Country), so it has been completely natural to me to work every day of the week, as I love what I do and am passionate about doing it to the very best of my team’s abilities.

If you could describe your design style in 3 words, what would they be?

Great British Design …. Slightly eccentric, full of stories and pleasing details that people really warm to.

What is your favourite object in your own home?

It’s difficult to choose, I would have to cheat and say ‘my whole home’ is an object, filled with everything that makes me smile!

Can you tell us a little about your current projects?  

I am very fortunate to be trusted by so many outstanding clients which keeps my team of 30 very busy. In the next twelve months we are completing the lobby of The Goring Hotel, Bedrooms at Sofitel St James and another Zetter Town House near Portman Square. I will also be completing premium restaurants for Jason Atherton, Angela Hartnett, Gordon Ramsay and Raymond Blanc. Members club work includes a huge project for the Hospital Club and restoration work at the IOD and the East India Club. I’m also working on one of the most extraordinary private residential homes in London I’ve ever seen.

What would you say has been your favourite project so far?

I love lots of my projects for different reasons, The royal Suite for the Goring Hotel was a highlight, along with the unusual first Zetter Town house and Grain Store in Kings Cross. It was great to design the Savoy Grill for Gordon Ramsay and so may wonderful restaurants for Jason Atherton.

If you could design a space for anyone, anywhere, who and what would it be?

Can I rather selfishly say a house for me, on a beach … a long way from a mobile phone!

I’ve also always wanted to get involved in design which I believe can improve people’s lives, like hospitals or old people’s homes, both of which I have had the misfortune to visit several times in the last few years and both of which seem to be soulless places which do nothing to aid recovery and stimulation for the people in them.

What does the future hold for you?

I’ve absolutely no idea…. That’s the fun part of what I am lucky enough to do!

Can you give us any sneak clues about your collaboration with Fromental as part of the Decorex Entrance?

We have chosen the Orgy scene and promise to make it as louche as possible!

As a renowned figure within the industry, what would your advice be for aspiring designers?

Renowned… really?! My advice to anyone is never stop working hard to deliver to clients, by understanding their requirements. Truly great design is a collaboration of the client with the designer to cerate a memorable environment.

If you could describe Decorex in 3 words, what would they be?

Stimulating, fun and inspiring

Russell Sage will be discussing design collaborations with fellow Decorex Entrance designers Tim & Lizzie Butcher of Fromental at 11am on Tuesday the 23rd of september as part of our Seminar Programme. Register for Decorex 2014 to see them at the show!

See more from the Decorex Interviews