Imagine a London without Claridge’s Bar, the Wolseley, J Sheekey, Nobu or Bob Bob Ricard. Or even without Pret a Manger, Eat or Harrods' 'Shoe Heaven'. Not only would it fail to be half as vibrant a city, but it wouldn’t be London. These spaces, and the myriad others designed by David Collins Studio over the last 30 years, define some of the most iconic aspects of London’s hospitality sector.
This week, Phillips auction house is hosting a special two-day exhibition, marking three decades since the late interior designer David Collins (1955 – 2013) first established the eponymous studio. Curated by Wallpaper’s own Nick Vinson, with sets designed by Leila Letchin (another alumni of this publication), ‘Past Present Future’ provides a chance to celebrate and showcase the studio’s body of work since its inception in 1985.
David Collins has long been known for his clever use of colour, and famously once said that he would never use a colour not found in nature (though thanks to his extensive travels, nature’s natural spectrums never proved too limiting).
As the title suggests, 'Past Present Future' will also provide an opportunity to explore the studio’s current and upcoming projects, many of which are phenomenal in scale.
Historical references are a key theme in these interiors, though no one could ever label them old fashioned or pastiche. Instead, they are modern, fashionable spaces that unfailingly balance a grand sense of occasion with an understanding of scale and proportion. ‘Timeless’ to David Collins does not mean classic or neutral – rather, it embodies a sense of the enduringly spectacular.
Now under the leadership of its senior management team (and guardians of the company's heritage) – Iain Watson, Simon Rawlings, David Kendall and Lewis Taylor – David Collins Studio continues to evolve and grow at an impressive rate.
Staying true to Collins’ ethos and trademarks – glamorous materials, extensive and often surprising attention to detail and that all-important flattering lighting – the designers continue to redefine interior design on a global scale. New projects include the Alexander McQueen flagship stores (most recently the duplex on Rue Saint-Honoré in Paris, but also including spaces in Miami, London, New York and Tokyo), the Continental restaurant at Pacific Place Hong Kong, and the Garden Lounge at the Corinthia Hotel, London.
As David Collins Studio looks forward to the next 30 years, this is a chance for London to celebrate some of the wonderfully conceived spaces in its midst.