Many of us dream of a perfectly designed home. Throws positioned just so, delicately fragranced candles permeating the climate-controlled air……bliss!
Somehow though, if you’re anything like us, it never quite turns out that way, thanks to everyone elses shoes, bags, general detritus usually.
Enter the world of the professional designer. This week I’m sitting down with Anouska Lancaster, renowned designer to those in the know for her top home and career tips.
I first came across Anouska through a friend who’d used her and instantly I loved her ability to contrast clean lines with real impact and daring use of acid bright accents, so it came as no surprise to me her heritage is in illustration.
Her career as an interior designer came about after she had a family, where she began to design her husband’s nightclub schemes. Following nominations and prestigious awards, her business built from there.
Anouska knew she’d always use her artistic flair in her career:
“It’s what drives me. I originally wanted to be an illustrator. I loved drawing; particularly cartoons, but I pushed my ambitions to one side when I got married and started a family.”
Interior design was a natural progression for Anouska:
“It went hand in hand with my lifestyle at the time, and allowed me to reignite my passion for art and design.”
Who has been the biggest influence throughout your career?
I have always been very sure of my own unique style, be it how I dress myself or how I dress a room. I am not one for following trends or being influence by the masses.
If I had been; then I would not be where I am today. Someone I look up to and admire in my industry is Kit Kemp.
She has the strongest sense of style and lives by the same ethos as me, in that ‘there are no rules in interior design.
What is your most notable project to date?
I would say that my most notable project to date would be for a boutique nightclub that I designed in Soho, London, called ‘Green Carnation.’
It won the award for ‘Best London Night Club’ at the London Bar and Club Awards. It was this design that really put me on the map.
What advice would you give newly-qualified interior designers or perhaps amateurs with a passion looking to follow in your footsteps?
I would say not to pay too much attention to classroom or textbook learning. From experience, when mentioning with newly-qualified interior designers, they are too wrapped up in the text books and what they’ve been taught.
I think that to be a ground-breaking successful interior designer, the vision has to come from within. You have to have passion and natural artistic flair; it is not something that can be taught.
We’re all looking at ways to try and minimise our environemental impact these days. How important do you think sustainability in design is?
It’s hugely important and I am always conscious of incorporating this into my designs wherever possible. I am very ‘old school’ in my approach to interior design. I am not a fan of the ‘flat-packed culture’, whereby furniture is produced and sold cheaply on mass, to be replaced a y
ear later. It is not environmentally-friendly, nor is it possible to create a visually pleasing or quality design scheme. I am a huge fan of antique furniture and I am an ambassador for ‘luxecycling.’
I am an ambassador for ‘luxecycling.’
This is the process of taking preloved and unwanted furniture and reinventing it; giving it an entirely new lease of life.
Do you have a design style?
If I had to describe it; I would say that it’s creating a brave, bold room that is a visionary feast for the eyes, which reflects the individual’s unique style and personality.
My goal is always to design a space that is exciting and that has huge impact. Most importantly, every room I design must tell a story.
Do you have a preferred colour palette to work with?
The colour palette will vary from client to client, because naturally every individual is instinctively drawn to different colours. It is hugely important to me that my clients get a sense of joy and calm form the colours they are surrounded with.
Everyone is different, so choosing the correct colour palette is vital to creating a bespoke design scheme for each individual.
Personally, I will always choose bright colours. My favourite colour combination is mixing bright colours with black and white for the ultimate ‘wow factor.’ It is the surest way of making an unforgettable statement.
How do you encourage your clients to think outside the box?
I believe that to create a successful interior it needs to be a true reflection of the client’s unique style and personality, whilst showcasing their passion and lifestyle. To achieve this, you have to think outside the box, otherwise your interior will simply look like one from a catalogue. It can take time for a client to understand the process but this comes from building process, but this comes from building trust and spending time working together.
Mix bright colours with black and white for the ultimate ‘wow factor.’ It is the surest way of making an unforgettable statement.
What trends are you currently witnessing among your clients?
I encourage my clients to ignore the trends. Trends come and go. Whilst they may seem fun at the time, they soon disappear resulting in a scheme looking dated within six to 12 months.
I will often use fashion as a parallel. You wouldn’t use the latest outfit off the catwalk to wear, you’d choose an outfit that suits you and your personal style – interior design is exactly the same.
What would you class as an ‘inspiring’ interior design scheme?
To me, an inspiring design scheme is one that successfully breaks the rules and one that is unforgettable.
What is the source of inspiration for your designs?
I am always thirsty for inspiration and absorb it wherever I go. I am very inspired by art and will often visit art galleries and exhibitions. I am always intrigued to witness new techniques and colour combinations. Artists are great risk-takers and I find this courage through experimentation utterly awe-inspiring.
Do you believe there is a strong link between fashion and the interior world?
There is undoubtedly a strong link between the two. If you follow both, as I do, you will soon draw strong and numerous comparisons between the two, season-to-season. This has become even more prominent with fashion designers such as Matthew Williamson doing interior design collections for fabric houses.
Can you describe a typical Nouska Design client?
I actually can’t! The beauty of what I do is the array of different people I am privileged enough to work with. I have designed for all sorts of people, from DJs to doctors and rom bachelors to families of six. The variation is what makes my job so exciting.
Learn more about Nouska Design here