5 minutes with Katharine Pooley

After being shortlisted in the International Design and Architecture awards Katharine Pooley answered some questions on the direction of design;

What direction do you feel design is moving towards in general terms?

Design is becoming more personal with a move towards bespoke, unique items created specifically for individual needs and tastes. I am working more and more with independent artisans and sourcing beautiful products from little-known places in order to encourage and move away from mass-produced products that are over-exposed.

What are the key influencing elements at present?

After the recession hit the UK, many people moved away from overt luxury and grandiose design and instead have moved towards refined, understated elegance with the quality being present in the details, such as in rare objets d’art and exquisite finishes.

What sort of projects are you working on at the moment? – Large apartment in the heart of Singapore – I recently started work on a large condo in a modern building in an exclusive district in Singapore, the design will be in keeping with the contemporary style of the architecture.

-Palatial home in Qatar – I recently began work on a beautiful home in Qatar, the design encapsulates very high end contemporary glamour incorporating specialist finishes such as metallic plaster work, marble, shagreen and bespoke cabinetry and light fittings.

– Royal suites at Heathrow – I have been commissioned to design the Royal suites within London Heathrow airport, the design will incorporate calming slate blues and greys with laser cut stone and luxurious finishes to create a feeling of utmost opulence.A designer’s work is so diverse – how do you manage to hold down a career and a life?Design is my passion and therefore work and life undoubtedly merge. I love finding inspiration in my surroundings and aim to travel and expand my design horizons as much as possible.

Name 5 key essentials for 2012 and beyond.

Home fragrances – living colognes from Jo Malone

Fresh Flowers to make interiors seem more seasonal – Robbie Honey

Candle light to warm up the winter and show everything in a soft glow – Katharine Pooley candles

Cashmere blankets in bright colours – Katharine Pooley

Fine bar-ware to aid your hostessing and home entertaining – Ralph Lauren

And key trends that we should be aware of?

Currently the crossover of the fashion and design worlds is extremely interesting. I am finding that the fashion world’s seasons are increasingly affecting design style and colour. It is also interesting to see well known fashion designers creating ranges for the home which show influences from their fashion collections. Diane Von Furstenburg and Oscar de le Renta are key examples.

If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design schemes, what would it be?

I would advise that it is important to consider your design ideas within a practical context and therefore aim to create a scheme that is not only beautiful and inspiring but comfortable and live-able too. I would also advise clients to ensure their design schemes show a personal touch with accessories and artwork, it’s a great idea to pick up accessories when on your travels to create an interesting talking point.

How important do you feel Design Awards are as recognition of designers talents and achievements?I think that the Design Awards are extremely important in bringing designer’s talents to the fore and putting forward inspirational projects that would not otherwise be visible.

How do you relax?

I relax by escaping to my home in the English countryside with my husband, son and our three dogs.What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months? I hope that the next year is as personally and professionally as productive and fruitful as the last year.

Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself

The car you drive?

Range Rover

Your favourite place to travel to in the world?

Telluride USA and Thailand

Your favourite hotel/ restaurant/ bar?

HK Place, Capri, Italy

The place that gives you the most energy?

My home in the country

And the place that enables you to totally relax?

My home in the country

Your favourite food and drink?

A home-cooked Sunday roast followed by Eton Mess