My design London
JUSTINE SIMONS OBE was appointed deputy mayor for culture and the creative industries by London Mayor Sadiq Khan in July last year, after working in the capital’s cultural sector for 20 years. She played a central role in delivering the 2012 Olympic Festival and the Fourth Plinth Commission.
WHERE I LIVE — AND WHY I LIVE THERE
I’ve been championing Elephant and Castle since we moved there in 1999 — and now its time has come. My Victorian terrace house is halfway down Walworth Road, in the Liverpool Grove conservation area. There are bombed-out buildings from the Second World War, some of the first social housing in London, cute little cottages, and new studios popping up. Charlie Chaplin was born here and Ernö Goldfinger’s Alexander Fleming House is at the top of the road. Ministry of Sound is nearby. I love herbal remedy shop Baldwin’s, and I can get a manicure for £10 in Walworth Road. And my fave new café is Louie Louie (louielouie. london) — great coffee, food, cocktails and vinyl.
I love colour and vintage. We have William Morris wallpaper and Josef Frank curtains and wallpaper, and vintage 20th-century pieces of G Plan furniture. I’ve chandeliers from Roman markets and homeware from India. My partner is an artist so we hang his work and screen printing that we’ve done together.
Wedgwood (wedgwood.co.uk) is a favourite. I’m from Stoke-on-Trent and I grew up in the village next to Barlaston where Josiah Wedgwood moved all his factory workers for a better quality of life.
The new Design Museum in Kensington. I think director Deyan Sudjic and his team have done a fantastic job of bringing it back to life and opening up the streetscape. Good architecture can give life to an area — look at Tate Modern.
Santa Maria Novella in Piccadilly Arcade (piccadilly-arcade.com) is one of the oldest pharmacies in the world. Established in 1612 by monks in Florence, it sells luxury gifts for the home, candles and fragrances.
The London Underground because I think it’s an extraordinary London story. It’s such a gem that Tube passengers get these world-class artists popping up as they’re going down an escalator. It is a massive gallery for more than one billion passengers on the Tube every year.
TOP ARTY HUB
Somerset House is like a new artistic making hub. The former palace now houses around 100 studios (somersethouse.org.uk/somersethouse-studios). In the basement, under the railways arches you’ll find designers like Gareth Pugh able to use affordable workspace right in the centre of town.
The Stanley Picker House on Kingston Hill (stanleypickertrust. org), or indeed any modernist building by Kenneth Wood. Stanley Picker was a collector and the openplan house, completed in 1968, was designed by Wood to display his art collection and host Picker’s gatherings. I’m always on the Living Architecture site (living-architecture.co.uk) — great for booking birthday celebrations and holidays.
East Street Market off Walworth Road is incredible. And just opposite Southwark Playhouse there’s food market Mercato Metropolitano (mercatometropolitano.co.uk) with organic food and lots of Italian producers.
The Store, Alex Eagle’s new place in Soho (alexeagle.co.uk) sells furniture, art, design, photography, ceramics, fashion and rare books, all selected by Alex. It’s part of The Vinyl Factory, which also runs 180 The Strand creative space and studios.
Favourite new local café: Louie Louie in Walworth Road “for great coffee, food, cocktails and vinyl”
Favourite gallery: art on London Underground can be viewed by up to a billion passengers a year
Get fresh: East Street Market off Walworth Road is a Simons favourite. “It’s incredible,” she says
Home décor: Simons loves colour and vintage at home, including wallpapers by William Morris
Homeware joy: Prestige Panther vase, £4,000 (wedgwood.co.uk)