Roots of Design by Louise Wicksteed, 1508 London

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London’s new The Design Museum has a quote on its website that, as a designer, I find impactful; Design is a way to understand the world and how you can change it.

What seems at first a broad-brush statement takes on depth and clarity when seen in the light of creation, which is, essentially, what design is. There is a unique fingerprint and DNA in every piece designed, and these pieces collectively make up both our identity and legacy, as artists, and as creators. Stripping away the commercial, the trend influences and the reproductions, the magic of design is seen and felt as one of the purest art forms that exist. And its roots are grounded in the simple creed, design makes our lives better. 

At 1508 London, with each interior design project we embark up on, we first step back and look at the whole picture. The narrative is always very key to our work. At the end of a project, we want to be able to see the thread of a story. The aim is that the longer you spend in a particular room, the more the story unfolds – from the roots to the leaves, as it were.  Authentic design is able to speak on so many levels. 

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Looking at any design, the finish will give the first impression, but it’s the quality and integrity of what’s beneath the surface, the materials and craftsmanship, that represent the longer lasting appeal and value. As designers, being thoughtful of substance will also ultimately affect the overall aesthetic. In designing the champagne bar for Decorex this year, we were inspired by the roots of classical architecture. Our space explores a deconstructed version of classicism. The simple geometric shapes, sculptural details and paired back palette will create an elegant but playful installation.     

Project Reuben

                                                                                            Project Reuben, Southbank Tower 

We are seeing that bespoke commissions from real craftspeople are becoming more and more popular, in line with people’s growing desire for a truly unique interior. This creates an exciting challenge for designers to dig deeper and seek angles and to use the word again, roots of a story to bring authenticity. For a recent project, the conversion of the iconic Southbank Tower, we looked to the architecture of the building and its location for inspiration. The Southbank is famed for the Festival of Britain that took place in 1951 and cemented the area as one of London’s cultural and artistic hubs – this led us to chose a mid-century modern aesthetic with unique art work. London is very blessed with its artistic heritage and the Mayor of London was exactly right when he recently hailed it ‘The Design Capital of the World’. The roots of design in the capital stretch back into the mists of time, from roman mosaics unearthed under streets, to the glinting jewels in the Tower and the fluid lines of contemporary creations, there is so much to be drawn upon and celebrated – which is what both infuses and refreshes design here today. Long may it last!