Posted in People on 12 February, 2018

With her truly global perspective and enthusiasm, award-winning British interior designer Kelly Hoppen, MBE is every bit as energetic as she is motivated. Exciting times lie ahead for the company, she tells Can Faik…

With 41 years’ experience at the forefront of the design industry, Kelly Hoppen is one of the most celebrated and sought-after interior designers in the world. It was her relentless passion for design, at 16, which kick-started her iconic career. Her first commission, to design a family friend’s kitchen, has led to multiple awards and numerous publishers and businesses continuously seeking her unparalleled expertise.

What five words would you use to describe your style?

Purist, timeless, textural, elegant and chic.

How and why did you get into the design industry?

I didn’t study design anywhere, I’m completely self-taught – my family is quite artistic though. I’ve been fascinated by design and interiors for as long as I can remember and I always knew it was what I was going to do for a living, in some capacity.

How long have you been involved with hotel design?

Since 2011, so seven years now. My first hotel project was Hotel Murmuri in Barcelona.

What do you love about being a designer?

Absolutely everything….

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I’m often asked this, but there is no one thing that inspires me. It can be anything, from an intricate piece of art to, I don’t know, an interestingly-shaped crisp! Inspiration can come from anywhere.

How important are public spaces in hotels?

Public spaces in hotels are so important. It’s not just about designing the room itself, it’s about creating the whole experience. From the moment you set foot in the hotel, to the moment you leave – it should feel seamless. The thing with public spaces is that they’re not just used by one person, they’re used by everyone, so they need to take into account many different needs.

With so many hospitality designers in the industry, how does Kelly Hoppen Interiors stand out from the rest?

I’ve been designing people’s homes for more than 40 years now, so it’s fair to say I know what people want out of their surroundings, and I’ve been able to bring those skills to the hospitality sector. I think where some hotels miss the mark in terms of design is looking at each aspect individually, and not the space as a whole, which can make it feel disjointed. You need to make functional, complex spaces feel homely, stylish and luxurious. Above all, people want to relax in comfort. I can’t tell you how often I’ve stayed at a hotel and just thought ‘this could be so much better’ – that was one of the main reasons I started designing in the hospitality space, I wanted to shake up the sector a bit.

How is the LUX* Grand Gaube project moving along?

It’s just launched – it’s so exciting to finally see my vision come to life.

How would you define your ‘hotel style’?

Contemporary, pared-back luxury. Each has a different feel, but they all have my stamp on them.

What does design mean to you?

Design means everything to me, it’s my life. Without design we wouldn’t have most of the things we have today – design is what turns ideas into reality.

What do you want in a hotel room?

I want somewhere I can really relax. I want beautiful sheets, fluffy white towels, the best shower, really good mirrors and great lighting. People overlook the bathroom in hotels, but it can make or break a room for me. It needs to be a sanctuary, somewhere I can take a bath and unwind. I have been known to move things around in hotel rooms to suit me!

What’s your favourite part of a hotel?

The bedroom, without a doubt. You want to walk in and see a bed that immediately invites you to lie on it. You can’t beat a comfortable bed with fantastic sheets and lots of cushions.

What has been your favourite project to date?

I really couldn’t choose one as each project is so different and presents its own unique challenges. If I’m not excited about a project, I won’t do it.

Where currently ranks highest on your travel wish list?

Japan, I’m itching to get there. Hopefully I’ll make it over in the not too distant future. I should design a hotel there!

Where do you see hotel design in the future?

I think with all of the major advances in technology, hotels will become smarter – you can probably already use Alexa to order room service in some hotels – but because of that I think, more than ever, people will crave that personal touch. Hotels are starting to become more sustainable and eco-friendly too. LUX* resorts for example, invest in a number of sustainability initiatives and take active steps to offset carbon emissions. Through my new role as an ambassador for the charity Cool Earth, sustainability and our carbon footprint is something I am becoming increasingly aware of, and it’s important that we all make whatever small changes we can to halt climate change.

Is there anything exciting that you are working on at the moment that you can tell us about?

I’m always working on something! I designed the interiors of the Celebrity Cruise Edge ship, which is launching next year and has been a huge project for me. As well as my design projects, I’ll be continuing my ambassadorial roles for The Prince’s Trust and GREAT campaign, and I’ve recently become an ambassador for Cool Earth, the charity of which Dame Vivienne Westwood is a patron, so I’ll be doing some interesting things with them in 2018.

Do you see yourself focusing more on commercial design in the future?

Definitely. Don’t get me wrong, I love designing residential properties, but commercial design is a relatively new space for me in terms of my career as a whole, so it’s really exciting. In fact, I’ve recently collaborated with Brintons on a range of commercial carpets, which was fantastic.

What other areas of commercial design have you been involved with?

As well as hotels and, as mentioned, a cruise ship, I’ve also designed luxury tower blocks all over Asia. They’ve been extraordinary projects to work on, as developers there are spending a similar amount of money as you would see in private design. For example, I designed the One Shenzhen Bay apartments, one of the most exclusive addresses in China. The apartments were created on a scale never seen before, and they sold pretty much as soon as they hit the market.

What will be the top trends in interior design for 2018?

There are a few. There are so many innovative ways to revamp the home, and I think people will start to pay attention to the areas they have previously overlooked – areas such as the fireplace, which is often forgotten when it comes to redesigning the home. In 2018 we will begin to see a revival of statement making, contemporary fireplaces with metal inlays, doubling up as pieces of art in the home. Additionally, people are realising that the space above our heads can be used to bring warmth and texture into a home. For me, ceilings are very much part of the wealth and beauty of a building and it was a real learning curve once I started focusing on this space.

What would you say are the three best places you’ve ever stayed?

La Scalinatella in Capri – I’ve been going there since I was young girl so it holds lots of wonderful memories.

Cuixmala in Mexico. The setting is just out of this world – you’re surrounded by vegetation and a stunning golden, sandy beach. It’s truly breathtaking.

LUX* Belle Mare in Mauritius. It’s such a beautiful place, staying there you get a real sense of being in your own private world – absolute bliss.

Let’s finish with the issue of personal and work life balance. How do you aim to achieve a good balance and what do those closest to you think of your attempts?

As soon as I leave work and arrive home, I switch off – when I’m at home or on holiday that’s my time to relax. It’s so important to have that balance.

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