Setting the Tone


Laura Hammett’s classic designs balance the requirements of contemporary living with attention to detail to create stunning luxury interiorsJulia Millen spoke to the inspirational designer to find out how she exceeds clients expectations 

What sparked your interest in interior design? 

 Interiors had been a passion of mine before I even knew that it was a career opportunity. Despite being born into a family of artists, I didn’t come from a world of Interior designed homes but as a teenager I visited the home of my mothers architect friend in France and remember being absolutely blown away by how unique it was. Clean lines and unusual room layouts with a very contemporary bath sunk into the floor. It was like nothing I’d ever seen before and felt more like an art installation than a home. That definitely ignited something in me.

How has your style evolved over the years? 

My personal style is constantly evolving, and for me that’s what keeps this industry so exciting. I could never be the kind of designer who has one set aesthetic across all of their projects. The growth of our studio and client base has naturally pushed me in different directions, starting with working for families in West London, then on to the high net worth in prime Central London and now expanding internationally. I get my inspiration from really immersing myself in new styles and although the core of our brand aesthetic is recognisable, how those principles are applied to each individual client and location is becoming more and more varied, particularly with our current projects as we’re working across 10 different countries. Experience naturally adds layers to your design aesthetic.

Where do you find inspiration? 

I find inspiration everywhere, but for design details particularly bars, restaurants and hotels. I’m a bore to go out with because I photograph everything when I visit places, but thankfully I’ve married a man who is exactly the same. In fact, we bonded on our first date over our appreciation of the design of the tableware in the restaurant. Details are incredibly important to our designs, however for me design is so much about the feeling that a space evokes so I often find myself getting inspiration from a texture or colour combination, or the lighting mood of a space. In my opinion, places like Pinterest should be used to articulate your own ideas, rather than a source to find them. 

How do you keep your designs fresh? 

This global industry is bursting with variety and I think if you’re fully immersed in it as a whole, you will naturally keep your own designs fresh. Social media is a blessing and a curse for creativity but if used in the right way I think it can be a great source. I follow lots international designers and as many different styles as I can, often quite different from my own as well as other different design sectors. I think it’s so important to see that variety to keep your perspective fresh and carve your own evolving aesthetic as you will naturally absorb different elements from them all. 

 What’s been your favourite project to date? 

That’s a hard one because there have been so many that I love for different reasons. Sometimes it’s the style and generous budget which allows us to really push the design further, such as our very masculine and luxurious Berkley Square townhouse project, but there are certain clients that really make this job so rewarding on a personal level. We worked for many years with a family in the Isle of Man to create their long-awaited dream home. They had come from quite a modest home and worked incredibly hard so as cliché as it sounds, there’s nothing quite like helping to make people's dreams come true like that.   

How has the design landscape in London changed since the pandemic? 

We have noticed a big shift since the pandemic in many ways. Not just relating to Covid, but a heightened consciousness when it comes to how people are choosing to live their lives in general and therefore spend their money. Sustainability and ethics of materials and products are now at the forefront of people’s minds in a way we haven’t seen before. The lack of diversity within the interior design industry has also come to light for so many of us as a result of the Black Lives Matter movement dominating recent months. I’m very proud to be involved with a fantastic new charity called United in Design and will be offering mentoring and an apprenticeship in 2021 within our studio, along with many other leading studios in London. It’s all feeling very positive and I really hope it continues.

What’s your advice for reconfiguring a home post-lockdown? 

I have actually just moved house myself post-lockdown and having lived in a very open plan space for so long, we found ourselves really drawn to separate rooms at the new house. This is something that we’re hearing from clients too, the ability to be able to zone off a home now that we’re sharing them with other family members much more of the time, and of course working from home. The home office has always been a key aspect for our clients because many of them are business owners so whether it be their main residence or a second or third home, a private working space is essential, but that is definitely now going to become a priority for most people. Separate kids areas are also becoming more and more vital. Not all homes have the space for dedicated rooms but there are so many ways you can create zones which give a separation. Screens are a great way to create a division and sliding pocket doors to give the flexibility of openness with privacy when it’s needed. 

What projects are you currently working on? 

We signed up some really exciting new projects over the last few months including a 13,000 sq ft private villa in Cap d’Antibes. It’s our second project in South of France and the aesthetic is a very rustic Provençal style but with all of the luxuries you would expect from one of our projects. We are also continuing some long term projects such as a 12,000 st ft Grade I listed townhouse on a very notable square in Central London, a large duplex in Hong Kong and a traditional Haussmann apartment in Paris. 

What are the themes and colour templates for the coming year? 

I don’t tend to follow trends too much so can only really comment on what I’m really enjoying at the moment. For me it’s all about layering texture, unusual materials and sculptural furniture forms to create a dynamic space but in an understated way. I love an interior to slowly reveal itself to you as you take in its details, rather than be too overpowering

What’s in the pipeline for 2021? 

We have lots of great projects coming to an end as well as something very exciting launching. I can’t say much more about it now but I’ve been working on it behind the scenes for a few years and it’s been a real labour of love so I can wait to finally be able to share it! 

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