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Nikki Hunt’s Design Speak

Over the years, Design Intervention has developed a reputation for a brave use of colour. We are known for weaving bold hues into our room schemes and even our more neutral rooms will often be invigorated with a single shot of a vibrant hue.

So it was a real treat for me to be given a slightly different brief.

I have just completed this project for an overseas resident who had purchased an upmarket Singapore apartment in the heart Orchard Road. My client intended to keep it as their private pied-a-terre and asked for understated hotel elegance with a moody, sultry feel. I worked on this project with Kylie, and we certainly had some fun. We have certainly used colour here to enliven the plain vanilla backdrop. But we have worked with softer, more muted tones to create an environment that is sultry and sexy and thoroughly current.

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Doc - Mar 27 2015 10-31 AM

June 6, 2016 0 comment
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I am often asked, where do you get inspiration?

Sometimes it might be from exterior views, sometimes from the contents of a client’s wardrobe but very often it is from a client’s favourite antique or piece of art.

So often, we are given a blank canvas but with the proviso to include a favourite painting and, for me, this can often be the perfect starting point for my designs.

Notice how the moody hues in the oil painting are echoed in the fabric selections for this room, here we have combined, soft greys and purples and teal blues and then added a strong dash of chartreuse and emerald green. It is the painting that pulls all these contrasting colours together.

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Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 4.40.40 PM.pngIn the room above, the colour seems to flow out of the painting, filling the room with vitality. The artist has used greys, blacks and white to anchor his creation. We have followed his lead but have added shades of green to calm the vibrant shades.

In the room below, we have echoed the shades and mood in the landscape to create a moody, intimate interior.

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 4.50.18 PM.pngWith a painting as arresting as this one, we have deliberately kept the sofa plain. The zebra-striped ottoman echoes the African theme and provides a balancing element. Notice how the oversized frame visually extends the proportions of the painting, intensifying its commanding presence.

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 4.41.58 PMIn this elegant living room, the colour choices have been drawn from two favourite art pieces. And just as the magenta in the monk’s robes, energises the painting above the tv, the shots of vibrant pink in our interior scheme adds a fresh intensity to the room.

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 4.43.06 PMWhen incorporating ornate and intricate antiques, balance them by mixing in modern materials like glass and stainless steel so that the heavy pieces don’t over power the room. The oriental inspired form of the new pieces ensures that old and new work cohesively together.

Design Intervention

Design Intervention

Here too, We have taken our colour inspiration from a favourite painting and sometimes we can create a whole concept around a favourite piece. An antique Japanese silk Obi provided the design inspiration for an entire apartment!Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 4.46.37 PM.png

2And the oil painting of an oriental boat provided the inspiration of this Chinoiserie themed room.

Doc - Mar 27 2015 10-31 AM

 

May 6, 2016 0 comment
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So, I have just returned from a glorious week at the London Design Festival. Once a year, the world’s design professionals descend on London to view the latest trends and products from all over the world. It was a week of stimulation overload… and it was marvellous.

There was just so much to see – fabrics, lighting, furniture, wallcoverings, accessories but one thing was clear… warm-toned metals are back and back Big!!! Warm metal tones were everywhere. The trend has been creeping in for a couple of years now, but this year it was ubiquitous.

Warm metals, like brass, bronze and rose gold were the overwhelming choice throughout the 1970s —a decade not famous for its design. Little wonder then, that the return of disco-era, gold, brass, bronze and copper as replacements for sleek steel and polished nickel had initially been met with cautious baby steps rather than with an enthusiastic stampede.

Oh dear, I have to admit that I am old enough to recall my mum’s gaudy brass pineapple ice buckets!

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Throughout the 90’s and well into the 00’s gold was out and aluminium, brushed stainless steel, polished nickel and chrome became synonymous with all that was contemporary.

Well, today this is no longer the case. Perhaps it is a reaction to the past few decades of technical and austere-looking white and silver tones. At this year’s London Design Festival, warm metal tones were everywhere from furniture to flatware, designers were seizing every opportunity lay a touch of gold here or an accent of bronze there.

Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 2.45.18 PM.pngThese warm tones provide a sense of comfort and hospitality, a welcome sentiment in today’s world of slick smartphones, tablets, and computers —But it seems that even Apple is getting in on the warm metal trend.

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We can’t get enough!

So, the warm metals are set to stay with us but, I sense moving from copper towards golds and brass and bronze.  This doesn’t mean that copper is out but the trend that began with copper (think Tom Dixon’s globe pendants) has matured into a full-on embrace of all warm-hued metals.

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And why not? What’s not to love about a bit of incandescent sparkle and shine? For a designer the choices on offer are wonderful.

At Design Intervention, we are loving mixing our metals to keep things interesting and not too monochromatic.

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I love how the coolness of the polished steel cools the gold so that the room feels elegant rather than glitzy.

So are you willing to take the plunge?

Well you can, quite literally…. check out this new coffee pot…

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And what about me, well I have to admit, I did stop and look at this golden pineapple newly introduced to the accessories range at John Lewis. But, I had to pass, what can I say? it brought back too many childhood memories.

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Instead, I picked up these candlesticks. Somehow, I know that these could have worked so well in my mother’s 70’s parlour… But, 70’s or not, I couldn’t resist. I love them!

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Doc - Mar 27 2015 10-31 AM

 

March 14, 2016 0 comment
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This kitchen has been designed to be the hub of the home. As a space where this family intended to spend much of their time, we wanted the kitchen to be as beautiful as it was functional. We selected a vibrant blue heavily-veined granite for the island top. It provides a show-stopping focal point and a visual anchor to the space. In addition to the polished steel and gold accents that we have used in the rest of the home, we have introduced a third metal element: in this kitchen, we combined copper, polished steel and gold tones for a thoroughly, fresh and unique kitchen.

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Positioning cupboards with glass door fronts in front of a window ensure the kitchen enjoys an abundance of natural light.

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A relaxed family-friendly dining area has been set into the back corner of the kitchen; a perfect corner for the family to enjoy a relaxed meal together or for kids to do homework while mum and dad cook.

The faceted edges and gold inset skirting trim around the base of the banquette integrates the design with the rest of the home. We chose a teal blue leather, that is easy to wipe clean. The colour is reflected in many of the art pieces. White button detail, adds a crispness and echoes the buttoned dining chairs in the formal dining areas. Side tables either end of the banquette, lift up to reveal valuable storage. They conceal charging stations for electrical devices.

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The Stools upholstered in bronze leather are easy to wipe clean but are eminently glamorous. Together with this stunning copper pendant, they ensure this family-friendly kitchen resonates with a glamour that matches the rest of the home.

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The Bistro Table base is repeated from the entrance for a cohesive feel between the open plan spaces. Instead of glass, this time the table top is made of marble. It is an octagonal slab, identical to the ones we have used for the flooring in the living & formal dining areas, visually integrating the spaces and repeating the use of an eight-sided shape- bringing luck into the heart of the home.

A mosaic backsplash in blush tones accentuates the copper elements and the rose tones in the granite slab. Gold hardware keeps the look glamorous, linking the kitchen with the rest of the interiors.

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The rose tone of the copper adds warmth to the space and a visual connection to the coral tones used in adjacent rooms. Trimming copper-fronted doors in steel has allowed us to integrate stainless steel appliances seamlessly into the design.

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Doc - Mar 27 2015 10-31 AM

January 26, 2016 0 comment
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As a designer, I work with such a wide array of interior styles, sometimes glamorous, sometimes calm, sometimes bold. But by far, the most difficult to achieve is the eclectic interior. When done right, this style appears completely effortless and therein lies its appeal. It is a relaxed yet confident style, rich with personality.

The concept of the Eclectic Interior has traditionally been associated with the English, cottage style, with its cluttered mix of objects and artifacts. Do you recall Kate Winslet’s delightfully romantic English country cottage in the movie

“The Holiday”?

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Download Image from the movie “The Holiday”

This is what most people think of when they hear the term eclectic home. But eclectic interiors don’t have to be busy and old fashioned.

At Design Intervention, we are increasingly using the term “Modern Eclectic” to describe homes that ooze originality but in a fresh and contemporary way. In our globalized world, interiors are becoming homogenized as this year’s latest Milan offerings are showcased, almost immediately, to anyone with internet access. Shopping Malls across the world offer identical products and anything absent can easily be ordered on-line. Creating a singular home has become increasingly challenging and eclectic design, with its unexpected combination of elements, is emerging as a popular choice amongst homeowners, looking to add a unique signature to a homes.

The rule to achieving an eclectic look is that there are no rules to follow and that is precisely why it is so difficult to achieve. These interiors delight in an unstructured mix of elements, from an array of design styles and eras – where everything works together to set the mood. They are works of art composed of the basic elements of interior design, crafted with a careful eye to ensure a balance that appears effortless but in fact is anything but.

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Design Intervention Project

An eclectic room combines seemingly disparate objects: old with new, flat with shiny, plain with intricate-juxtaposing colour, scale, pattern and texture to create a room that is totally unique. It is NOT about piling on object on top of object. Remember my design motto, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should!” This style requires restraint above all else. The look is derived from the combination of elements and how they work to enhance each other. What you leave out is just as important as what you put in and including plain elements to allow the eye a place to rest is critical.

Eclectic homes can reflect whatever mood you wish to create. They can be crisp and fresh or vivacious and glamorous depending on the combination of the items that you include. Think about the atmosphere you wish to create in your home and then begin selecting and combining the various elements accordingly.

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Design Intervention Project

In the dining room above, we have adhered to a neutral palette of grey, black and white. The omission of colour is key to achieving the serenity that the owner wanted. The cold steel arms of the mid-century Bruno chairs, balances the rustic charm of the antique rain drums that forms the base of the table. A glass tabletop keeps the look cool and fresh and a console formed from poured concrete anchors the space.

In the dining room below, however, it is the very inclusion of colour that is the linchpin of the design as the colour of the furnishings echo the tones of the art work, thus, providing a cohesive backdrop for the art collection. Notice how this eclectic setting enables us to show case art from widely different genres: in this home, modern art sits comfortably alongside antique textiles and Pop Art posters, in a home designed to best highlight a homeowner’s disparate art collection.

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Design Intervention Project

And who says that Eclectic rooms cannot be glamorous?

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Design Intervention Project

In this uber-sexy bedroom, a classic French armoire sits against a tropical leaf print mural, framed by antique Indian columns. This is a dramatic room full of vitality.

These are all very different homes, with their own inimitable vibe, designed for very different clients. They each have a unique, natural look that resonates with charm and charisma. The beauty of eclectic design is that these homes don’t feel contrived. On the contrary, they feel spontaneous as if they have evolved over years to truly reflect the character of their owners.

***Please get a copy of Singapore Tatler Homes, December issue for my Design Speak article.

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Doc - Mar 27 2015 10-31 AM

December 7, 2015 0 comment
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The winners of this years Hotel and Property Awards will be announced in Italy in just a few weeks time. This year, Design Intervention has been shortlisted in 2 categories and to say that I am in a state of eager anticipation would be the understatement of the year. I can’t seem to divert my mind away from what it would be like to actually win. So I thought I would channel this obsessive thinking productively into this blog entry and suss out our competition.

There are just 6 nominees for the winner of the Global Award for Best Bar/ Lounge/ Club. These projects come from all over the globe. And surely, it’s a testament to just how cool Singapore has become that two of the nominees are Singapore projects!

1. The Bar, Hotel Mulino Grande, Milan,

2. Subsix Underwater Bar in Maldives

3. Exex Suites, Japan

4. Turquoise Tiger, New York

5. The Club, Marina Bay Sands Singapore

6. And our project, The Alta Ego Bar and Lounge in Singapore

What makes it even more amazing that we made it on this list, this is actually our first foray into Bar/Club design. But it certainly won’t be our last. Bar/Club design, I have realized, is an exercise into fantasy. It allows us to push limits and explore design ideas that stimulate, startle and intrigue. Of course, my first love is residential design. To be able to create someone’s personal retreat is an honour that can rarely be beaten. But Night Club Design, like Pop Art is fun and frivolous and allows us to try ideas that would never be suitable in a home.

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Alta Ego Club/Lounge by Design Intervention

I have always seen the humour in Osborne and Little’s Gecko wallpaper – it is probably not appropriate for our residential clients, but it’s combination of jewel colours and kitsch,

Tongue-in-cheek styling seemed the perfect choice for a Lounge Bar that feels luxurious but not at all serious or stuffy. See how wonderful it looks across the ceiling above the Bar. But my favourite element of the design is the bespoke pendant lights we made out of cast resin shark’s jaws. We placed one above each of the banquette seating areas to add a touch of the unexpected in a glamorous space.

BUT how does our entry stack up against the competition? Can we really come back with a win for the Best Club Design in the World for 2015?

Well, looking at the other entries, I must admit that I am not confident at all. Some of these projects are pretty awesome and for ours to be selected alongside them is an honour in itself.

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Subsix

One of the most impressive is Subsix, an underwater Bar in the Maldives. Check out that ceiling of cascading capiz shell discs.

And those sea urchin inspired chairs, perhaps not my cup of tea but I must admit they won’t easily be forgotten and isn’t that what you want from a Bar designer, a talking point, something memorable to distinguish this watering hole from the crowd.

The Turquoise Tiger in New York is resplendent in its art deco references, one of my favourite design styles. So I am unsurprisingly a bit biased towards this nominee. I love how the splashes of turquoise invigorate the design, making it less serious than it would have been otherwise. The carpet is not for me, but I simply love those curvaceous buttoned banquettes and the confident use of black lacquer-one of my all time favourite materials.

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Turquoise Tiger at Exit 33

And then, of course, there is the other Singapore Nominee. How could our small project even hope to compete with The Club, Marina Bay Sands? This is surely the most famous building in Singapore and probably amongst the most iconic in the world nothing that we could ever design could compete with those views. And oh to be working with that budget…. what fun we could have!!!

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The Club, Singapore

But I keep telling myself – don’t loose hope. I must never forget the power of the underdog and compared with Marina Bay Sands Design team, we certainly are just that. So I may not be confident, but am ever hopeful.

The final winner will be selected through public vote so if you like our design or simply enjoy the triumph of an underdog, click here and vote for us:

http://www.thedesignawards.co.uk/voting2015-hotels/

And remember we are also shortlisted for the Best Hotel Suite in the Asian pacific Region so don’t forget to vote for us in that category too!

http://www.thedesignawards.co.uk/voting2015-hotels/

Doc - Mar 27 2015 10-31 AM

June 8, 2015 0 comment
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