Directorio Deco by Gloria Gonzalez

In Conversation

In Conversation: Gemma Martinez de Ana

‘A touch of luxury in life can provide a wealth of happiness’ says creative director and Bonadea founder Gemma Martinez de Ana. Spanish born London based, Gemma has always been attracted to beautifully made things. Discover her advice on tabletop, her recent collaboration with Fabergé, what’s on her Christmas wishlist and more on today’s conversation.

Anna Moody photography.

You have recently designed four collector boxes for Fabergé to mark their exciting collaboration with Legado and Rome de Bellegarde. Where did the inspiration come from for these one-of-a-kind pieces? 

These four unique works were inspired by the legendary journeys of the three houses, from East to West, which ran in parallel through the 1900s and started with Fabergé in St Petersburg.

This beautiful city and the works of Peter Carl Fabergé were my starting point. I had the opportunity to see the world’s largest collection of Fabergé works when I travelled to Russia and I wanted to look at this rich past and combine historical references to create an imaginary journey that was romantic and poetic.

Each of the four collector’s boxes connects the pieces inside and their different worlds to create a cohesive story between the heritage of each house and their future legacy.

Faberge box designed by Gemma Martinez de Ana

The London box, designed and produced by Gemma Martinez de Ana. Anna Moody photography.

Gemma Martinez de Ana collector boxes for Faberge

St Petersburg, Cognac and Barbados boxes. Anna Moody photography.

Which part of it did you enjoy the most? Which one was the most challenging?

For me, the initial stages of research and the possibility of combining different materials was very exciting. In particular, the idea of blending something humble from nature like straw with precious gemstones was irresistible. I worked with an incredible team of experts at Fabergé who set the precious stones we used in the designs.

The boxes were entirely made by master artisans in England using eight highly specialist skills, so unique artisanal craft was very much at the heart of the project. To bring the painterly designs to life we used truly artistic marquetry techniques done entirely by hand, so with over 100 hours of painstaking handwork to lay the straw for one box alone, the biggest challenge in the process was time.

Gemma Martinez de Ana creative design for FabergeDetail of a moodboard created by Gemma for the design of the boxes

As the founder and creative director of Bonadea, you are well known for your tabletop passion, when did this start?

I fell in love with tableware as a young girl playing with my grandmothers’ collection, and I was always fascinated by the beautiful patterns found on porcelain and crystal.

Even at a very young age I would save my pocket money to buy something beautiful rather than candy, but still I never envisaged making a career out of it.

I also remember my childhood big family lunches and dinners with particular fondness, and those memories are of great inspiration. I love entertaining and I love storytelling, and am passionate about creating the perfect table settings for my guests.

Bonadea Pink Roses glassware set

Glassware, tray and coasters part of  Bonadea collection.

What would be the one staple you would recommend to splurge on?

Cutlery, it’s definitely worth investing in a good quality and beautifully designed set.

Not only will it last generations, but a good quality set of cutlery will make any meal special and elevate any table setting, just in the same way a good handbag or pair of shoes will make an outfit.

I am crazy for bamboo these days!

bamboo cutlery bonadeaGemma’s favourite bamboo cutlery.

What are the key ingredients to a beautiful tablescape?

I very much love layering, using colour and mixing family heirlooms with new pieces.

When I am hosting, I always take into consideration the occasion, the menu and my guests as a starting point, and the only rule I follow is that of laying the individual pieces correctly, then a pretty plate, floral touches, candlelight and a nice bottle of wine will do the rest!

What’s the best souvenir you’ve brought home?

I love anything finely crafted and during a trip to Japan, I found the most incredible tea bowl in Kyoto and lacquer pieces in Kanazawa.

Although my family would probably argue the best souvenir I ever brought home was Tokyo banana cake, and matcha kit-kat also from Japan.

What’s on your Christmas wish list?

Many books, a silk pyjama set and Pinto’s orchid Plateshopefully Santa is listening!

Gemma Martinez de Ana tablesetting‘Histoires d’Orchidees’ dinner plates by Alberto Pinto available at Bonadea

Thank you so much Gemma!

For the most exquisite tabletop selection visit http://www.bonadea.com

In Conversation: Susan Deliss

I first met Susan Deliss at her Notting Hill studio two years ago. I instantly felt inspired by her beautiful designs and how passionate she is about what she does. Her growing textile business offers her own range of fabrics as well as antique ikats, silk embroideries, kilims, velvets and linens—antique, vintage and new. One-off furniture is also available—both antique and made to order— upholstered in her fabrics and complemented by limited edition cushions and hand-made and lined silk lampshades, decorative objects and fine art. Deliss has also been working in interior design projects creating beautiful homes where the attention to detail is paramount.

Discover Susan sources of inspiration, passion for collecting textiles and more in today’s conversation.

Dear Susan, when it comes to decorating, what are your main sources of inspiration?

Everywhere I go I look for ideas and inspiration.  My free time is often spent wandering through galleries and palaces, mosques and churches, museums and private house in the UK and abroad, looking for beautiful things and educating my eye.  l look occasionally at the work of other decorators who I really admire – such as Bill Willis, Jaime Parlade, Chester Jones, Francois Joseph-Graf – for pleasure and to try to understand their approach. Inspiration for a decorative scheme, though, can come from an antique textile fragment, a particular painting, a kilim, a wallpaper sample. There is always one thing in particular that everything else flows from, even if I may remove it during the design process.  But in the end one has to take a deep breath and proceed, relying on one’s own taste and judgement.

Detail of a bedroom in an English Georgian country house decorated by Deliss. Wallpaper is Robert Kime’s St. Abbs; Susan sourced fine antique French linen and had it dyed blue with brown trim to tone with the paper. The curtain pelmet is an antique Ottoman bedcover. Lamp and shade by Susan Deliss.

Statement green and white Zellij fireplace by Bill Willis in Dar Es Saada – the Marrakech home of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge.

One of the things I love the most about your work as an interior designer is how all your projects are quite different from one another – what would you say is the one thing that they all have in common?

The approach to each project is the same in that for each one, I talk to the client a lot about what they like and how they want to live and I look very carefully at the architecture, proportions, flow and light of each property.  Differing tastes of each half of a couple need to be understood.  I spend a lot of time before any physical changes are undertaken defining the eventual spirt and style of the house, it’s zeitgeist.  That will inform all the decisions I make throughout the whole job.  Ideally, I will then work through every aspect of each room except for things which need to be added such as furniture or artwork, and do a comprehensive scheme for every surface in each room. I ask clients at different stages about key aspects of each scheme and move forward to the next element when they are happy.  I plan about 90% of the final outcome at this stage.   I am not interested in making everything match but every space should flow into the next.  I will always use colour and pattern to some degree.  I keep a close eye during work on each stage, working with tradesmen if necessary to refine ideas or colours, although generally relatively few amendments are ever needed.

A Georgian English country home decorated by Susan Deliss

Edinburgh flat by Susan Deliss featured in House Garden. Photos by Elsa Young 

Which part of the process of creating a new fabric design do you enjoy the most? which one is the most challenging?

I love the beginning and the end of designing a textile.  The idea behind a new design is very exciting and there is a thrill at the end when something beautiful emerges but there is often a long and laborious process of developing the design.  With both weaves and prints, you start with the design and refining colour comes later.  Weaves are much more complicated technically to achieve than prints. The most challenging elements are working with the restrictions of particular types of loom – for example, I might only be able to use a maximum of 8 yarn colours, some of which will be combined to create a single new colour, which can be very frustrating when trying to create a complex colour or pattern.  The start-up costs of developing a print can also be quite off-putting.   I feel bad sometimes for pushing people who have already worked very hard on a new textile to go further and further until it really feels right.  Robert Kime came to see me in my studio and I said that I drove everyone mad trying to get things absolutely right.  His response was “you must”!

A selection of Susan Deliss fabrics available to buy by the metre.

The ‘Theodora’ fabric in Indigo being hand printed in England.

Do you consider that social media has helped you to grow your business in any way?

It has helped enormously.  I started out not wanting to have a website but quickly realised that without a shop that would not be sustainable.  So I set up a rudimentary website and then a very kind client who found me very early on when they spotted one of my early products in “World of Interiors” looked at what I was doing (and not doing) and strongly encouraged me to develop an active social media presence. Since then, Instagram has emerged as an incredibly powerful way of reaching a wider audience, both directly and via reposts.  A small business can have relatively large leverage for a relatively low cost through social media compared to traditional media.  Having said that, a quality social media presence takes a lot of thought and time.

A selection of Deliss fabrics, bespoke cushions and lampshades available at her showroom in Notting Hill.

You have an incredible collection of antique textiles – do you follow any rules when it comes to acquiring new pieces or you just follow your heart?

I follow my heart – I buy what I love.  It’s very easy to get carried away though when sitting drinking delicious coffee among piles of textiles in Istanbul in particular so one has to keep some degree of objectivity.  More generally, I can’t resist buying quirky, unsaleable, often damaged but beautiful textiles for me that feel like they have travelled and have a bit of a past.

The main bedroom in Susan Deliss’s home in France features a simple headboard in the made from an antique suzani. An antique Ikat textile has been mounted to a board form to create an artwork for the wall. The antique quilt has been hand-dyed with indigo. On the landing outside the main bedroom hangs an antique Suzani; a motif from this inspired the decoration around the doorway, which was painted by Susan husband Max. House & Garden. Photo by Paul Massey.

An antique Suzani and Moroccan vase sourced by Susan

Thank you so much, Susan!

For more information visit http://www.susandeliss.com

 

In Conversation: Annabelle Moehlmann of Land of Belle

Annabelle Moehlmann was inspired to start Land of Belle after going through the wedding registry process. She realized there was not a destination where she could register for—or even shop—her favorite home accessories, many of which were discovered on travels.

With Land of Belle, she intends to showcase the world’s leading boutique home accessories brands and artisans with others who share her passion for beautiful craftsmanship, love of unique pieces, and endless wanderlust.

Prior to starting the company, Moehlmann worked in the design world in different capacities before leading brand partnerships and business development at Indagare, a luxury travel company. Discover Annabelle’s long life passion for beautiful and unique pieces, the tabletop pieces you should splurge on and why pop ups are key for her business in today’s conversation.

Dear Annabelle, first of all I would like to know what prompted you to launch ‘Land of Belle’?

I was inspired to start Land of Belle because it merged my love of travel and passion for design. I realized that so much that I love about travel is discovering the design heritage of the places I visit and  after going through the wedding registry process. I realized there was not a destination where I could register for—or even shop—my favorite home accessories, many of which were discovered on travels. I decided to start with pop-ups to test the concept and see if people were interested in our aesthetic, and the items on offer. When our first pop-up was well-received, we decided the build the site which consists of an online store, a wedding registry platform, and a blog,  and we continue to put on seasonal pop-up stores so that our customers have a chance to meet us, understand the brand and shop the collection in person.

In terms of decorating, how would you define your style? 

I’m a firm believer in the idea that if you collect you love, they will always work together. I don’t go in for the matchy-matchy, select every fabric and piece of furniture for a specific room look. I love contrast—a light, airy room filled deep hued, sumptuous velvets and romantic prints, or a jewel-toned room filled with gorgeous antiques upholstered in drop cloth white linen. I think spaces should always remind you of the places and things you love most, and so my favorite rooms tend to have something that evokes memories of the islands, summer and the sea, and always include a beautiful palm. I love a mix of beautiful antiques—Biedermeier, campaign and revival-style furniture paired with sleek, simple contemporary and midcentury pieces. Always an antique rug or a sisal, or both! I love the relaxed look of bamboo and wicker furniture, and almost anything with caning. It’s all about the combination of textures: the cool feel of a marble topped table, beautifully carved wood, the softness of a plush velvet, the subtle dimension of seagrass etc.  I am drawn toward cool colors—pale aquas, warm olives, powder blues, crisp mint green—and adore a bold wallpaper or a room upholstered in a beautiful fabric. A romantic floral or botanical print, a Madeleine Castaing stripe, Fortuny, and fresh Indian block prints are definitely favorites. And I never say no to a classic, natural grasscloth. If I had to sum it up, I might say my style is old-world classic but a bit undone, well-lived in and never fully finished.

‘Spring of Blecker’ Land of Belle’s latest Pop Up in New York

What are the 3 things you would recommend to splurge on when it comes to table top?

1.Beautiful glassware

2.Plates with personality

3.Refined flatware

Your ‘Spring on Bleecker’ Pop Up alongside RAC and Marlo Laz just opened in Blecker Street filled with beautiful home décor, fashion and jewels. Do you think Pop Ups are key for online businesses? What are your favourite pieces from this new collection that you have just launched?

I do. Especially when you’re selling items that are of a certain price point, it’s really important for customers to be able to interact with them in person and understand the way they really look and feel. Photographs are helpful but they only show so much. It’s hard to understand the quality of a handblown glass or a beautiful linen without holding it in your hand. We love introducing our audience to our collections in person, so that they can trust in our quality when shopping with us online and also so they can understand the feeling and identity of our brand.

Some favorite new pieces include our White Daydream glasses made in collaboration with Laguna B, our new tablecloths by d’Ascoli (especially our exclusive olive colorway), new hand-painted Mexican trays and our parrot plates by Laboratorio Paravicini. We are also really excited about the beautiful abstract paintings that Renée Bouchon made for our shop, and the bamboo and rattan furniture we have on offer here at the pop-up.

What was the process like designing the pop up space? Where did you find inspiration? 

The process was really about designing a space that celebrates the height of the spring season. For the front room where Land of Belle lives, I brought in some favorite design elements in that evoke my favorite places and loved seeing how they interplayed and came together to create a narrative. I wanted the store to feel feminine, charming and old-world but fresh and updated at the same time, and most importantly, to spark happiness for anyone who comes through our doors. We painted the walls in Farrow & Ball’s Pavilion Blue, a forever favorite. It’s an ethereal greenish blue that feels airy, fresh but still neutral depending on the light. The color is a small nod to island life while still feeling perfectly at home in the city. We painted the floors white to imbue the space with a light quality fitting for Spring. For the front room, I selected a romantic, floral wallpaper from Schumacher. It’s on a pale, bluish white ground with vivid fuchsia and cranberry blooms, with leafy greens and hints of celadon. I adore it so much I think I’ll find a spot for it in our apartment. For furniture, all of which is for sale, we sourced some wonderful bamboo and rattan furniture—both vintage and new–down in Palm Beach and also selected a couple of beautiful pieces from Demiurge New York: A textural and spare round dining table constructed from gorgeous 18th century chestnut, along with a pair of fun, sculptural white ceramic lamps. In addition to paintings by Renée Bouchon on offer, I pulled some small pieces from my person collection including a couple of Indian miniatures I picked up in Udaipur, a small Candida Höfer photograph, and some old prints of the souk in Marrakech.  In the end, I hope the front room of the shop feels like a stateside summer cottage of an Italian in the 60s: Dreamy, charming and inviting.

For the center nook of the store, Marlo Laz’s founder Jesse Laskowski selected Schumacher’s Chinois Palais in tangerine. She paired it with an Ultrafragola mirror by Ettore Sottsass and a few contemporary pieces including a bone inlay chair, and a lucite side table, for a look that is decidedly bold, fun, and whimsical with a dash of rock n’ roll. The perfect spot to try on her stunning collection of fine jewelry (and to take a selfie, of course).

The third room of the shop, where RAC Lifestyle has taken up residence, is all about showcasing their eclectic assortment of fashion and accessories from unique brands. A large scale Renée Bouchon canvas in bold blues, black and white hangs over a seagrass console by Schumacher, and customers can make themselves at home on a pair Alky Chairs by Giancarlo Piretti newly upholstered in a sky blue silk velvet.

Spring on Blecker runs through May 30 – 373 Bleeker Street – Open daily 10 am- 7pm

For more information visit http://www.landofbelle.com                                                                         Images: Portrait: Nora Griffel for Tory Burch  |   Pop Up: Allaire Bartel