Designer in Profile: Mathilde Allibe CEO and Creative Director of Secret Cape

Name: Mathilde Allibe

Company: Secretcape

Position within company: CEO/Creative Director

Website: www.secretcape.co.uk

Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc)
I started when I was just 18 years old but have been a perfectionist since almost birth. I had a need of seeing beauty and beautiful places, environments from a very young age. It was giving me a sense of stability and reassurance. I always wanted to organise spaces and rooms in a way that it would give at first glance a feeling of peace and comfort. It was not a surprise to my parents when I started to work at 18 years old in this industry.

How would you describe your personal design style?
“Less is More” and “Timeless is the essence”

Where does your design inspiration come from?
I have at home books that you would not believe to see. I collect books of history, Magnum books of photography, of the past, of Castles, of Louis XIV, of emblematic people (men and women, successful or not) Egypt, traditions, jewelleries old and mythic houses. I can stay looking at a picture and imagining the life around, the people, the look, the style, the design, the reasons behind the picture.

Of course, travels. I used to be in a plane almost weekly for work (prior pandemic). I need to eat the local food, to understand the culture, the language … but you wouldn’t see me with a tourist group. I like to discover on my own, my tempo, my way. Last, I watch little TV but documentaries are my kind. How things are made, Stories about people, Chefs explaining their ultimate goals, the philosophy behind a dish, National History stories about the “silk road” as an example, about Greece, and etc.

In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
I become more conservator. Our world has evolved a lot, and we need to do so too. Quality before quantity.

Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2020 and beyond.
We are living in a time of great changes. The global pandemic has affected every aspect of our life, including our homes. There are few emerging trends that can be distinguished:
More clean and organic leaving
Smart planning of the living space (thoughtfully designed kitchens, private spaces, home office)
Timeless and elegance

If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design schemes, what would it be?
“You live for yourself” Important to visualise yourself into a room, today, tomorrow, in a week time, in a year time, in 10 years’ time. Would you still like it?

How important are The International Design & Architecture Awards?
To have your work recognised not only through your clients eyes, but shared by your colleagues and people working into the same environment that yourself.

What projects are you currently working on?
We are working on some projects in USA (Miami/NY/LA).
We have a Grade II listed manor house in Belgravia.
Another one in Middle-East, very exciting as very tailored which is so stimulating.

What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
“I would keep them for me” as I say myself, the things you like keep them secret

Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself and your daily inspirations:

Your most treasured possession?
My Husband and son. I do not need anything else.

 Your favourite holiday destination? We have a place where we love going together as a family. It is away from UK, so eccentric, different time zone, unique food…you put a foot down and you know that the rest will be forgotten (even if my computer is always by my side J)

 Your favourite hotel, restaurant & bar? I am old-fashioned and love palaces (5 stars +), I am sorry. So silverware, proper linen, china of a kind, the delicate touch of the right flower and its colour, … and you talk to me. But, of course, the food has to go together. Again it is not about quantity, but quality, quality of food, quality of people.

Your favourite book, film & song? The 1st movie I went to see with my mum was “Out Of Africa” and it will stay as a reference in my mind. I was just back from the French West Indies and we were in France for the first time, in a small village where the cinema was in the school’s room where I would have to go and study. My mum took me there after checking with her best friend if she thought I would be old enough to watch it. I was something like 7/8 years old, but felt like I was 18!! I still can remember the ice cream I had! In terms of book, it is difficult. My mum wanted to open my mind as much as possible, so she gave me books like Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte, Anne Frank, Monte Cristo, Dominique Lapierre, etc…They were so different and opposite but so captivating, I would be in my thoughts and wouldn’t eat for days. Song: “La Vie en rose”

 Your favourite food and drink? Mediterranean with spices. Having lived in so many different countries, you will see me eating a plain piece of chicken. It needs to be rich, flavoured, etc…In terms of drinks, I am French from birth, but the French wine culture has not reached my senses yet. My grandmother (who I love dearly) had always in her fridge Bitter San Pellegrino. Give me one, with ice cubes and orange slice and I am the happiest girl on Earth.

 Your favourite way to spend an afternoon? Is that happening often J? I m a workaholic, difficult for me to relax more than 5 to 10 min.

If you weren’t a designer, what would you be? A designer….or I would be trying to save the world working for Unicef, Médecins sans frontieres, UN, Croix Rouge, there is not enough of us working and helping so many different causes. I cannot stand kids malpractice.

Anything else interesting? I think you know already a lot about myself, more than some people who have been working with me…

Secret Cape have been shortlisted for Residential £10 Million (Property Value) Award in The International Design & Architecture Awards 2020.


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