Designer London as seen by a Russian interior designer
Taste, combined with a feel for style, and talent may be what makes an interior designer – but our major weapon is discerning selection from the many brands available. I could make an endless list of my favourite brands… When I’m decorating an interior, you need to have a feel for the items. An interior becomes unique due to the combination of ideas contributed by talented people, who assemble the furniture and fabrics; due to the energy and spirit which they’ve brought with them to the project. Of course, nothing would be simpler than just using 2-3 brands on an interior project – but what a lackluster result you would get! That’s why I’m always on the look-out for new items – inspiring, enhancing, sophisticating…
In such an instance, Moscow can be very limiting. The range of items available on the market in Moscow is improving, becoming more interesting, and an ever-growing number of furniture manufacturers are represented on the Russian market. High quality furniture items are gaining popularity in Russia – but alongside a lot of mainstream tat too. Exclusivity lies in sourcing items from further afield.
My search for interior items takes me all over the world. One of my favourite locations is a city which has attracted countless examples of the best of world design from every corner of the globe – London! It’s a Mecca of design stores, showrooms and fleamarkets.
I usually choose to stay in Chelsea or Belgravia, so that I can start my morning with a cappuccino in a café on Sloane Square. There’s a plethora of exciting showrooms to explore here – for example, the wonderful little store run by Nicholas Haslam. London’s weather can be a little changeable, but if it stays fine, I find myself squinting into the sun as I set off along one of the design industry’s most famous thoroughfares – the Fulham Road. From there it’s just a few hops to call in on one of my favourite designers, the wonderful Julian Chichester.
Some of the most unusual and desirable design items are to be had in East London. At the Old Truman Brewery I’ve found the work of some of the most progressive designers from all over the world. One of my favourite finds there has been the Turkish company Autoban.
Meanwhile the enticing aromas of freshly-baked bread lure me back to Central London on a Saturday morning, to Portobello Road. It’s sheer delight to while away a few hours at Chloe Alberry, looking for a handle for a cupboard or a drawer. The Portobello fleamarket is a happy hunting-ground for all kinds of small items, bric-a-brac and pieces with their own history.
Of course there’s romance in the poky little designer shops in London – but for a really professionally productive day, there’s a lot to be said for heading for a venue that has a huge number of fine-quality items available at just one location. This makes the world’s largest design exhibitions, such as Decorex, an invaluable stop in our work. The convenient layout and comfort make the Design Centre in Chelsea another valuable visit while in London.
I depart from London with my suitcase jam-packed with new ideas and objects – but knowing that I’ll soon be back again for more.
Written by Anna Agapova – Interior Designer
At the outset of her career Anna worked with lighting – and then became involved in interior design, working for a number of years in various award winning architectural and design bureaus in Moscow. For the past eight years, Anna has played a key role in establishing the house style of the Oleg Klodt Architectural Bureau. The creative tandem of Oleg Klodt and Anna Agapova has been catalytic in establishing and developing the bureau’s work. While Oleg Klodt works with brevity and clarity in a traditional style, Anna Agapova stays ahead of the trend in the way she completes interiors – bringing a complex eclecticism to the classical format, with new textures and shapes.