The Brit with a grow­ing rep­u­ta­tion for colour­ful yet serene in­te­ri­ors

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Decorating - DECORATOR IN­DEX FRAN HICK­MAN

Who is she? Fran Hick­man only set up her Not­ting Hill prac­tice in 2014, but she’s al­ready mak­ing waves. Given where she cut her teeth – as an in-house de­signer at the Soho House Group in New York and then at Waldo Works, Tom Bartlett’s renowned Lon­don stu­dio – this is hardly sur­pris­ing. There’s a clean, calm qual­ity to her work that shines through in all her projects, from homes to re­tail. What’s her style? A con­fi­dent use of ma­te­ri­als and colour, and a re­fusal to cram in­te­ri­ors with ob­jects or dec­o­ra­tion – for her, empty space is not a vac­uum wait­ing to be filled. Hick­man says that grow­ing up in a Lon­don town­house with six sib­lings taught her to ‘ap­pre­ci­ate the need for per­sonal space’, and to re­gard the ‘weight of stuff’ as a dis­trac­tion. ‘I would de­scribe my dec­o­rat­ing style as con­sid­ered, tai­lored and con­cise,’ she re­flects. An early project was the in­te­ri­ors of the loft apart­ments at the Vinyl Fac­tory (right and below), a for­mer car park in Lon­don’s Soho. Un­der Hick­man’s di­rec­tion, the walls were painted white and the rooms fur­nished with flea-mar­ket finds and Mod­ernist pieces. What are her re­cent projects? The Chess Club, opened last year in a six-storey May­fair town­house, shows Hick­man’s im­pres­sive de­sign vo­cab­u­lary, with ref­er­ences to the sur­real mid-cen­tury in­te­ri­ors of Renzo Mon­gia­rdino and Carlo Mollino com­bined with mo­tifs bor­rowed from an­tique Ja­pa­nese prints. Ar­guably, though, Hick­man’s finest work to date is on two fash­ion bou­tiques – one for Emilia Wick­stead in Knights­bridge and the other for on­line fash­ion re­tailer Moda Operandi in Bel­gravia (top right). The fo­cus, as so of­ten with Hick­man, is on fine ma­te­ri­als (pale ter­razzo and gleam­ing brass) and shades of blush and lip­stick pink. She says ‘My phi­los­o­phy fol­lows that of Charles and Ray Eames, who be­lieved that the role of the de­signer is that of a thought­ful host, whose en­ergy is de­voted to an­tic­i­pat­ing the needs of their guests.’ fran­hick­

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