June 07 2013
Bam: I wake up with a jolt, immediately thinking about the long Thursday ahead of me. A tall glass of water with lashings of lemon juice is in order to get the engine ticking.
Soho is calling! My first meetings all circle around the German lighting designer Christoph, from the Italian company Viabizzuno, who is in London for one day. He makes smart, architectural lighting and I am collaborating with him on a project I am managing in a private home in Jeddah. Angus Pond Architects is in charge of the interior plans and Angus, the company’s director, is not only a generous, systematic and dedicated architect but also great fun to work with. I am always happy when I have to go to the APA offices in Soho, just off Golden Square.
The area around this square has an illustrious history; now most of the
buildings house advertising firms and production companies – plus an array of places
to eat, from the Nordic Bakery to Wagamama. Angus’s building on Lexington
Street is a narrow, tall house with huge windows. It is several hundred years
old, and as I head in (after a quick espresso and a bite to eat round the
corner at Bar Bruno), I fall quickly under its spell.
Christoph, Angus, their respective assistants and I go over plans for all areas of the property in order to explore the different ways light can be best used in the villa. I always feel that architecture is a bit like philosophy: all lines of thought are open for discussion. It’s important when designing a space to have an essence, a theme and a strong idea – then to cut out all distractions.
Because of the diversity of my interests – which are mirrored in the way I live and the things that I surround myself with – clients and friends know that I am happy to become involved with projects of all kinds that might interest me, so I often end up working on quite a few different levels at once. But the gaps are only relative between creating a small jewel and designing a piece of furniture, and project managing and executing the full concept for a house. The responsibilities vary, of course, but I always aim to work to the best of my ability and to enjoy doing it. And teamwork is a brilliant thing – I could not live without good specialists.
Lunch is in Soho – at Princi on Wardour Street. I am in awe of it; architect Claudio Silvestrin has brought a seriously chic vision of Milan to London. And what a total joy to have a spritz and cannoli.
Afterwards, I make my way to Britton Street in Clerkenwell, where The Goldsmiths Centre is located, and where Kerry, one of the goldsmiths I work with, has her studio. The streets round here also have a historic splendour. Whenever I wander the small alleys running off London’s main arteries, I feel lost in time.
I start to shift back into a
jewellery frame of mind as it’s time to look over some gems that are almost
finished. I must fine-tune their proportions and features. Kerry’s studio is
clear and organised – even when it comes down to where each tool is kept – and
so working here is a pleasure.
Once all is said and done, I head for Stephen Jones’ atelier on Great Queen Street.
My Valentina hat, which Greta Garbo used to own, is being slightly updated for me to wear to Ascot. It is a powerful experience contemplating the passage of time through such an item – imagine the memories, the personalities that this hat must have seen.
So, with Garbo’s hat perched on my head, Stephen brings this accessory into the 21st century – with unstoppable verve. Spending time with Stephen is a great pleasure, and after seeing him I always feel amazing.
What a rewarding day. One that is finished off on my patio in the blue hour with a crisp, cold drink.