Beige is beau­ti­ful

Kelly Hop­pen has turned her name into a global brand that is cov­eted for its in­te­ri­ors, fur­ni­ture, home ac­ces­sories, books and more

Philippine Tatler Homes - - DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT - words: Tamsin Bradshaw

Kelly Hop­pen is a house­hold name. The South African-born Brit is in­te­rior de­sign’s an­swer to the “star­chi­tect,” mov­ing in celebrity cir­cles and cre­at­ing homes for the likes of Vic­to­ria Beckham. She is known the world over as the queen of beige, hav­ing taken it from bor­ing to beau­ti­ful—and she prac­ti­cally owns the rights to a cer­tain shade of taupe.

Hop­pen started her ca­reer at just 16, when she was given the op­por­tu­nity to de­sign a fam­ily friend’s kitchen. She has gone from strength to strength since then, re­ceiv­ing an MBE in 2009, star­ring in BBC Two’s re­al­ity show about en­trepreneuri­al­ism, Dragon’s Den, and re­leas­ing a se­ries of books on in­te­rior de­sign. Her cur­rent projects in­clude the Lux Belle Mare ho­tel in Mau­ri­tius, Pearl Yacht 65, Lodha Estrella, a 55-storey tower in Mumbai for Yoo and Ab­hi­nan­dan Lodha, and luxury homes in Hong Kong, Bei­jing and Tai­wan.

Meet­ing her in per­son on a re­cent Hong Kong visit, it was easy to see how she has built such a name for her­self. Hop­pen is not only a tal­ented cre­ative, but also a shrewd busi­ness­woman with an eye for sound com­mer­cial ven­tures. Ul­ti­mately, how­ever, it is her en­dur­ing pas­sion for what she does that makes her tick, and her abil­ity to blend styles to per­fec­tion that keeps the Kelly Hop­pen em­pire grow­ing.

You re­cently de­buted your e-com­merce store, kel­ly­hop­ What in­spired you to go dig­i­tal with your prod­ucts for the home?

My part­ner [for­mer IT busi­ness­man John Gar­diner] had been re­tired for 10 years, and he said, “Kelly, you’ve got an in­cred­i­ble brand, why have you never done an on­line store?” The truth is, I’d just never had the time. And I think it takes a cer­tain kind of brain to set up a strate­gic plan and get the right peo­ple in­volved. He said he’d quite like to do it, and it’s been great. I’m left to be the cre­ative and he’s built this in­cred­i­ble ma­chine that never lets us down.

Is it dif­fi­cult to work with your part­ner in love?

The in­te­ri­ors and prod­ucts are in one stu­dio, and the dot­com is else­where. John is do­ing some­thing to­tally dif­fer­ent, so we don’t re­ally cross paths. And at least I know I’m work­ing with some­one I can trust with my life.

You’re work­ing on 52 projects in coun­tries all over the world. How

does the de­sign process dif­fer?

Each cul­ture is dif­fer­ent, and yet every­body’s needs are the same. Ev­ery­one wants com­fort, they want to feel at home; they want to feel soft and nur­tured.

Why does Asia in­spire you?

My first book was East Meets West [East Meets West: Global De­sign for Con­tem­po­rary In­te­ri­ors, orig­i­nally pub­lished in 1997], so it’s al­ways been in my blood.

I started com­ing to Asia reg­u­larly six years ago, and I’ve now built a very good, loyal fan base here in terms of my prod­uct and my books.

Peo­ple started call­ing me about do­ing de­vel­op­ments in Tai­wan, Bei­jing, Shang­hai, Hong Kong, and the calls just started com­ing in quicker and quicker and quicker. The clients here are very much at the fore­front, and they have con­sid­er­able re­sources to build un­be­liev­able build­ings.

There’s a part of me that lives in this world, even when I’m not here. I need to connect in or­der to do what I do… if I was work­ing some­where I didn’t have a con­nec­tion with, I don’t think I could do it.

How have tastes evolved in Asia?

Two years ago, I had this epiphany when I was fly­ing back from Bei­jing and I thought, “I know how to do this.” The luxury that orig­i­nally I was be­ing asked to do was not very “me,” so I had to ed­u­cate some of the clients that I was work­ing

with. I had to say, “I prom­ise you, this is go­ing to work, it’s just dif­fer­ent.”

Now, the world is not a big place any­more. With the in­ter­net, every­body knows ev­ery­thing and they’re more dis­cern­ing. I look at other projects in Asia, and I see ev­ery­thing that I could get in the UK or Europe.

I have to con­stantly make things, de­sign things, go vin­tage, or find new peo­ple to make things.

What else is hap­pen­ing in the world of Kelly Hop­pen?

We’ve got two re­tail stores open­ing in Lon­don. We’re also look­ing for part­ners in Asia that we can work with. We get so many hits in China on kel­ly­hop­pen. com, but it is very ex­pen­sive to ship prod­ucts. We’re look­ing at ware­hous­ing here, and re­tail­ing.

I’m also read­ing a few film scripts at the mo­ment. You look at the homes that are de­signed for film, that’s some­thing I’d like to get into.

I’m work­ing with the Prince’s Trust, and I was in Africa re­cently for Comic Re­lief, talk­ing with amaz­ing in­spi­ra­tional women.

You are an in­cred­i­bly busy woman, how do you jug­gle ev­ery­thing?

I don’t know, and when you start to think about it, it makes you feel ill. But I like to be chal­lenged, and it will be 40 years next year that I’ve had the busi­ness. If I didn’t do some­thing dif­fer­ent ev­ery day, I think I’d climb the walls.

I eat as much alkaline as I can. That’s my daugh­ter’s [Natasha Cor­rett of alkaline life­style brand Hon­estly Healthy] in­flu­ence. And I ex­er­cise al­most ev­ery day. I have two per­sonal train­ers in Lon­don, and when I’m abroad, I get up at 6am and run for half an hour. That’s my med­i­ta­tion.

And I sleep a lot, be­lieve it or not. John and I also just love to be at home. We en­ter­tain a lot, rather than go out. We’ve got a house in the coun­try, which is John’s and which I’ve done up, and we’re build­ing a new home for our­selves in Not­ting Hill. We found an amaz­ing old auc­tion house—it’s my new love at the mo­ment.

this page hop­pen was re­cently com­mis­sioned to turn this mount street, Lon­don apart­ment into an of­fice and sec­ond home. she used clean lines, warm neu­tral tones and luxe tex­tures to cre­ate an invit­ing space

op­po­site, Clock­wise Kelly hop­pen in one of her taste­fully de­signed rooms; her sig­na­ture use of soft, neu­tral shades to cre­ate an un­der­stated but el­e­gant am­bi­ence

Clock­wise From left an im­age of the yacht taken at sea; one of the cab­ins de­signed by Kelly hop­pen on board the luxury Pearl Yacht 65; the in­door sa­loon

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.