Wow factor

September 01, 2022

This June, London’s Design Centre in Chelsea Harbour adopted a clever idea from across the Atlantic in order to promote the best in interior design. COVER took a close look

Designer showhouses are nothing new. In the US, the Kips Bay Decorator Show Houses and San Francisco Decorator Showcase have long provided a platform for the best interior designers to show off their skills while raising money for charity. In the UK, however, this concept is much less known. So when Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour in London launched its WOW!House this June, it was a big event.

Day Room by Kit Kemp Design Studio featuring Always Greener by Kit Kemp x Annie Selke

The brainchild of CEO Claire German—who spent lockdown dreaming about doing something totally different—WOW!House was open to the public and staged in the middle of the Design Centre. Rather than taking over an existing building, as is often the case in the US, it consisted of a series of rooms snaking through a 400-squaremetre temporary structure. This had the added benefit of allowing trade customers to get their fix of inspiration and then proceed straight to the Design Centre’s many showrooms to place their orders. Part of the proceeds from the events went to Centrepoint, a charity working to give homeless young people a future.

Principal Bedroom by Rayman Boozer featuring Bedlam by Matthew Wailes

As is the custom with decorator showhouses, each in a selection of well-known interior designers was allotted a room and given carte blanche in terms of how to decorate it. The room thus becomes a microcosm of a particular designer’s taste. Happily, many of those little worlds were adorned with handmade rugs and textiles.

Dining Room by Freddy van Zevenbergen featuring Lampides Punch Bouyant from Silk Avenue

The design journey began with Shalini Misra’s Entrance Foyer, where Mae Engelgeer for cc-tapis’s Bliss Big Ultimate supported a round table on a triangular base; the two pieces together read as a celebration of geometric shapes. Misra said about her room: ‘It shines a light on what it means to live with design, and how design can marry the traditional and the contemporary to create a meaningful, welcoming space.’

Living Room by De le Cuona featuring Origins from Topfloor by Esti

Going further into the house, visitors reached Rayman Boozer’s Principal Bedroom. Boozer does not shy away from strong colour and pattern, as evidenced by his choice of a dark-salmon ceiling and green-and-purple wallcovering. This taste for interior adventure was happily reflected in his use of textiles. The bed rested on custom version of Matthew Wailes’s rug Bedlam, characterised by a striking combination of pink striations on a black ground, while Hummingbird, by Alexander McQueen for The Rug Company and part of The Sarabande Foundation, took up residence on the floor of the adjoining en-suite bathroom.

Read more in COVER 68 Autumn 2022.

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