If our last design issue, back in April, looked at conceptual, future-thinking themes, this autumn issue is about taking pleasure in the now. Having spent far more time at home this year than anyone would usually, we have all developed a greater appreciation of those things that transform our quality of life, as opposed to the things we simply live with. At a time when opportunities to marvel or escape have been elusive, I have made it a duty to search for beauty nearer home. Thankfully, I have found much to cherish: I am fetishistic about my wooden lemon squeezer, could write a eulogy to my stainless-steel tongs by Sori Yanagi (available at Margaret Howell) and have grown a powerful affection for my outdoor washing line.
For me, great design is not so much about the big dramatic statement – the suspended stairwell and the wrought-iron chair – as it is the smaller, more banal items we can delight in every day. There’s something ritualistic and reassuring about using a favourite set of salad servers or pair of scissors. As a very small child, my brother would carry 10 keepsakes in the pockets of his duffel coat, among them a lead soldier, a chess piece and a lucky foreign coin. These talismanic objects helped to anchor him when he felt anxious. I was reminded of him when I read Flora Soames’s “The Aesthete”, about her pockets full of stones.
Then again, if Axel Vervoordt were to offer me a residency in any one of his incredible interiors, I’d happily cast out all my crap and move in right away. The Belgian interiors guru creates rooms of such exquisite beauty that just looking at the pictures makes me want to stroke the page: somehow making them simultaneously gorgeous, yet pleasingly austere. In our interview (“Axel Vervoordt: ‘The only way to be creative is to be open-minded’”), Vervoordt expands upon his wabi-sabi practice, and explains why a space is rarely perfect until its imperfections are exposed.
La Carlière is another project born of an emotional connection. I first learnt of Peter Copping’s 15th-century home in Normandy when he was working at Oscar de la Renta. The New York-based couturier had picked Peter to be his successor, and Peter’s subsequent vision for the house drew on the many tropes of French design. Alas, the union was short-lived and after two years in Manhattan, Peter returned to France. This week’s HTSI sees the launch of a new chapter: a range of homeware designed with Peter’s husband, Rambert Rigaud, and built around the extraordinary furnishings and textiles found in their home. It seems fitting that Peter’s obsession with toile de Jouy, tapestry silks and vintage textiles should have inspired a collection of haute cushions, if you will. Ultimately, the plan is to make La Carlière a fully realised interiors brand, with more pieces produced by the local makers near their manor house. I’m delighted to unveil the first iteration of La Carlière in this issue (“Home suite home: Peter Copping's French fairytale house”). Better still, I’m grateful to snoop around their gorgeous gaff.
Those fortunate to have seen Yinka Ilori’s technicolour tribute to the UK’s NHS staff with its exhortation, “Better days are coming I promise”, in London’s Southwark, will already know how invigorating and joyful it is to be around Yinka’s all-embracing work. From this month on, you can bring that optimism home (“On the Yinka Ilori Trail”). The British-Nigerian designer debuts tea towels, upcycled chairs, stoneware plates and tablecloths in a collection that is partially to honour his maternal grandmother, Kemisola, who infuses all his work with a sense of “power and pride”. It’s another example of the deep personal connection that the best design evokes within us.
Sadly, I have yet to make a physical connection with the pick of this season’s art deco-inspired jewels (“Simply Deco-licious Jewellery”). I would be delighted to rectify this situation at any point in time hereafter. And, for that matter, I’ll take the flowers too.
Get alerts on Design when a new story is published