House style

The de­sign duo happy to mix it up

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - 21.07.18 - Jes­sica Doyle

THE QUES­TION OF how to ar­range a room is one that has foxed many an am­a­teur in­te­rior de­signer. Most of us as­sem­ble a fairly dis­parate col­lec­tion of fur­ni­ture and ob­jects over time, rather than a per­fectly har­mon­is­ing set, so how do you put it all to­gether in a way that works?

The an­swer may well lie be­hind the doors of 8 Hol­land Street, a fur­ni­ture, art and de­sign gallery and store founded by in­te­rior dec­o­ra­tor To­bias Ver­non and cu­ra­tor Rowena Mor­gan­cox, who opened the west Lon­don space in March, and a sec­ond near Frome in Som­er­set last month.

The duo’s ethos is that a col­lec­tion should ‘grow or­gan­i­cally’, and as such they source their pieces from far and wide: at auc­tions, fairs and mar­kets, through their con­tacts in the arts world, and from the emerg­ing de­sign­ers that come on to their radar. The looks they cre­ate are un­doubt­edly eclec­tic, but also – cru­cially – smart and well bal­anced.

Ver­non and Mor­gan-cox take in­spi­ra­tion from the serene interiors of Ket­tle’s Yard, the mod­ern-art gallery in Cam­bridge founded by the late col­lec­tor Jim Ede, and sub­scribe to Ede’s be­lief that there should be no ‘hi­er­ar­chy’ when it comes to dis­play­ing fur­ni­ture and art­works. At their gallery and stu­dio, you might find an 18th­cen­tury cabi­net rub­bing shoul­ders with a mod­ern print by Terry Frost, a silk Uzbek ikat panel hang­ing above a mid-cen­tury wicker lounge chair, or a Ja­panese screen jux­ta­posed with a con­tem­po­rary plas­ter lamp by young de­signer Vi­ola La­nari. The beauty, they be­lieve, is in the mix, and good de­sign is not nec­es­sar­ily about al­ways putting your most valu­able pieces front and cen­tre.

The dis­play at both lo­ca­tions changes on a monthly ba­sis, and, whether or not you’re in the mar­ket for a piece of fur­ni­ture or art, they of­fer plenty of ideas for how to ar­range old, new and stylis­ti­cally dif­fer­ent pieces in a way that looks and feels co­her­ent and calm. And, surely, isn’t that what we’re all aim­ing for?

The Lon­don gallery at 8 Hol­land Street, W8, is open daily; the Som­er­set stu­dio is by ap­point­ment. 8hol­land­

Right To­bias Ver­non and Rowena Mor­gan-cox at their Hol­land Street gallery. Above Ce­ram­ics by young sculp­tor Emily Buck are dis­played next to ab­stract paint­ings by Martin Bradley and John Eaves, and mid-1970s Hans Weg­ner chairs. Pho­to­graphs by James Mc­don­ald and Ryan O’toole Col­lett

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