Anouska Hempel is a London-based hotelier and interior designer. Recently, Archinect correspondent, Jill Johnson, had the opportunity to stay at one of Anouska's recent projects, La Suite West, a boutique hotel in London, and followed up her stay with a brief conversation about the design.
Can you discuss the balance of architecture, interiors and styling in your work?
To manage all the work there are many rules. One cannot be considered without the other however we are a design studio so the vision (beauty) comes first which is complimented by the architecture, followed by the interiors and styling.
The style in your portfolio seems to range from highly decorative to minimal. How do you define your style?
Simply, I don’t think one can. I truly enjoy and appreciate a broad spectrum, as demonstrated, but if one had to define it in a word, that would most likely be “couture”. The style can vary but the quality most definitely cannot!
Where did you study design? Whom did you train under?
In one form or another, I have always designed. I remember redesigning most things at home, be it the egg cups or the furniture, as early as at the age of five. I became increasingly intolerant of bad design with each year that followed! In fact, I was so intolerable that I was sent away to boarding school at seven.
Take me through your design process whilst working with the client for La Suite West.
I can’t answer that! It was great fun, a huge challenge. I’m lucky I have great clients.
What's your favorite part of the hotel?
The entrance, that door is 6 metres high.
What sort of guest did you have in mind?
Young, aspiring, rich, well-versed and sophisticated, and who would appreciate the effort that’s gone into this place and its value for money. As a designer we have our own following which covers a wide range of discerning guests.
One thing I noticed during my stay was the absence of a central gathering space, usually a bar or a lobby with seating to hang out and people watch. Was this intentional?
No but that is being developed and was not intentional. It was a matter of timing at the time but you have drawn a good point!
Black and white are omnipresent in your designs, why?
In this instance they are apparent because colours were not appropriate. There we 52 shades of white and 52 shades of black, and maybe some grey!
You are a self described control freak, is that why your work spans architecture, fashion, interior design, garden and product design?
… and food!
What places most influence your current designs?
China, Japan and Italy, always.