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Designer Diary V - World Secrets

On a fresh autumnal walk this morning, I saw the last couple of swallows before their colossal journey south. It’s always a bittersweet moment, like when big projects draw to completion.

It’s been a huge year and particularly busy summer for all of us here - but now the nights are drawing in, and the leaves are starting to turn, and the new season is a moment to refocus our attention and look forward to new projects and new beginnings.

Alongside the aesthetic of luxury interiors, sustainability and heritage are a large part of our creative thought processes. I have always loved antique textiles, they can add a delicious depth and texture to a room, and it was with such sadness that the industry learnt of the death of Robert Kime who was the godfather of antique textiles last month. There was very little Robert didn’t know about antiques, particularly those originating from Egypt. The antiques he sold always had the mystique of an interesting past life.

In small homage to a designer, as much as to feed my own fascination, I have recently been to Istanbul which is itself the capital of Ottoman silks and Iznik hand painted ceramics.

Turkish Ottoman silk textiles are among the most beautiful textiles produced in the Islamic world. These fabrics are characterised by large-scale stylised motifs and often interwoven by shimmering metallic threads. Using a wide range of hand woven techniques on both satin and velvet, these silks were originally produced for use within the Ottoman Empire and, considered among the most prized luxury objects, for export to Europe and the Middle East.

There was no shortage of inspiration throughout the city but the hand painted Iznik tiles within the Sultan tombs at the Aya Sophia were an absolute highlight. The colours and motifs are stunning and I highly recommend going to see them if you do go to the incredibly popular Aya Sophia.

Whilst you do have to fight through a number hassling shop keepers dying to sell you a plastic D&G handbag or Gucci belt, it was hard to resist buying another suitcase in the Grand Bazaar due to the sheer quantity of high quality textiles and ceramics also on offer. It is such a thrill when you find a little stand, usually tucked away in a corner and meet a fifth generation textile dealer with shelves to the ceiling filled with my type of gold. It certainly took self restraint but a number of velvet ikat cushions, a couple of cicims and kilims, a few hand embroidered silk suzani panels and a set of stunning hand painted ceramics just had to come home with me.

Istanbul is a cacophony of colours and cultures, all living harmoniously together. There is a mismatched magic which I like to think is the ultimate example of how old and new in all forms of art, furniture and textiles, worldly colours and contrasting patterns and ideas can also work together in interiors.

On top of all this, I encourage you to incorporate antiques are they really are the epitome of sustainability in design. Pieces with provenance create that one-of-a-kind quality, real individuality and authentic interest. It's a real win-win!

Please get in touch if you would like to see some of the pieces that I have available or would like help sourcing anything similar.

As ever, enormous thank you for reading.


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