She’s one of the most well-known and respected interior designers working today, and so we duly spoke with Kelly Hoppen MBE ahead of the London Design Festival to discuss this season’s hottest interior trends, her collaboration with Disney, and why she nearly got fired on her first day of the TV series Dragon’s Den….
What are you most looking forward to at this year’s London Design Festival?
I’m really excited to see what the London Design Festival has in store – it’s always filled with surprises and fuels me with design inspiration. In the same way, I’m really looking forward to going back to Decorex after having not been for so long! We are exhibiting an amazing new collection of wooden tiles with Hakwood, which I’m really excited about.
What’s the one latest interiors trend that we should all be adopting in our homes this season?
I’m so happy, as it seems that people are finally beginning to realise one of the most important aspects of interior design – that colour affects mood. I have always been a firm believer in the idea that certain colours coincide with different moods and I’m so pleased to be seeing this philosophy adopted in people’s homes. However, I have to say that the trend I’m most excited about is glass. Glass is a magnificent medium which I’ve felt has never been pushed to its full potential; I’m really looking forward to seeing glass inspired lighting, furniture and installations which combine both clear and coloured glass.
For someone who has a second home abroad, how would you go about styling it?
100% your surroundings have such an impact on the way you design. When you’re abroad, your frame of mind is different and therefore the way you approach design is. Whether you’re designing something by the sea and are drawn towards minimalism, clean lines and space, or if you’re inspired by warmth and mountainous terrain which encourages you to incorporate layers, textures and tones, surroundings always infiltrate into the design process.
How has your own style evolved and changed over the years?
My style has always been driven by balance, contrast and a neutral palette which still drives my design aesthetic now. There have been several subtle changes that I’ve made to my style but essentially, the core values and philosophy of East meets West have always been the same.
What’s the one thing people probably wouldn’t expect to find in your own home?
I’d have to say my Philips lumiere “wake-up” light alarm clock, which wakes me up with the sounds of the sea and sunrise effect lighting.
What’s your favourite room in your home?
That’s difficult, as it changes all the time! I love my dressing room because it’s my space where I get to play dress up but I also love our snug bedroom, and our kitchen which is the most perfect place to bring family and friends together. Every room has a different feeling and atmosphere which means I struggle to pick an ultimate favourite.
What would you say is your design philosophy?
My design philosophy has always centred around the balanced combination of East meets West. Each of my designs fuses together the clean, modern lines and shapes of the West with the sumptuous textures and layers of the East to create a timeless and balanced space suitable for all moods, occasions and audiences.
How would you define British interior style?
If you’d asked me this 20 or 30 years ago, I would have said that Brits do have a particular, classic style. However, the world that we live in now is so international and interior style has become more eclectic and driven by vintage design traits. Nowadays, Brits are amazing at creating moveable interiors which feel lived in, not static designs which can become out-dated.
When designing the interiors of a home, what would you say are the most important factors that need to be considered?
For me, one of the most important interior design features is lighting as it has the complete ability to set the tone and mood of a space through layering, dimming and placement. But honestly, everything is important so that it all comes together.
As well as homes, you’ve also designed yachts, such as Pearl 75, and cruise ships, such as Celebrity Edge. How different is the design process for a “house on water” compared to bricks and mortar back on dry land?
Every job is totally unique in terms of approaching their practicalities. When you’re designing a cruise ship or an aircraft, you’re designing for thousands of people and therefore have to consider the practicalities of weight and movement, which are not so pressing when designing on land. Whilst each project’s practicalities are completely different, the design process remains the same for all.
You’re well-known for your time on Dragon’s Den. What was your funniest moment whilst on the show?
It has to be when Peter Jones wore a face mask that lit up and made me laugh to the point that I slid off my chair. This all happened on my first day and I honestly thought I was going to be fired for laughing so much on a show where seriousness is key. To this day, I’d still love to see the outtakes; it was truly one of the funniest moments of my life!
You also collaborated with Disney to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Mickey Mouse….
I’ve always loved Disney and especially Mickey Mouse, and so when the opportunity to collaborate came about, I instantly snapped at the chance. Of the whole process, one of the best moments was when I went into the boss’s office at Disney HQ and pointed at this beautiful glass dome which held a rose and asked if it was real; to this, the boss replied “yes, it’s been infused with kryptonite” and I believed him! It was here that I had that real Disney moment where you believe that anything in the Disney world can be real.
You’re an ambassador for Cool Earth – how do you incorporate sustainable practices into your designs and your business?
We try to act as environmentally responsible and sustainably as possible across all of the design projects. Whether it’s looking at using eco-paints and minimising plastic in design to working with Celebrity Cruise to research how they can reduce in-house waste, we always try to make sure that our environmental impact is as small as possible.
Finally, the one question we ask everyone! What is your favourite luxury?
For me, there is no greater luxury than being able to spend time with my wonderful grandson, Rudy, who is my ultimate best friend.
For more information, go to www.kellyhoppen.com.