Name: Celia Sawyer
Company: Celia Sawyer Interior Architecture & Design
Position within company: Founder
Tell us a little about your background in design:
I was always great at art in school and so my love of design started very young. I would sit for hours looking up at the sky and watching shapes and pictures that the clouds made, with the light shining behind them, I was always intrigued by light, and thus over 22 years ago I formed my company. I started off on small projects, and one of the first few I designed was recognised by the estate agents in the area (it was a roof top addition and a full refurbishment) as it lifted the sealing price of the road. After seeing it, other residents ask me to design their properties and it really went on from there. I moved into the high end sector by chance, as a footballer had a house in Hampstead he wanted designed, and I was recommended to him ( I even painted an abstract art piece for his house, he still doesn’t know to this day! ) and it spiralled on from there on.
How would you describe your personal design style?
I have always loved very clean lines and plain prints. My design style is contemporary with a slightly masculine edge, strong, yet not hard, with a mix of elegance, textures and shapes and very cool with a real splash of glamour. People tell me they immediately recognise my work when they see it, which I take as a compliment!
Where does your design inspiration come from?
Mainly from the outdoors. Nature tells us so much about ever aspect of design. The way the light falls at a certain time of the day, the shadows it casts and how it highlights the land or trees inspires me with my lighting designs, the way the wind blows beautiful long grasses, inspires me with the way my rugs or carpets are designed, and how they feel under foot. Nature is my biggest pull of inspiration, its own natural mixes of texture inspire my interiors.
In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
Greener, more economically viable, so better for the environment. For instance, I recently designed an aircraft for a client, and now we have much lighter materials to use, more cost effective, less fuel use, and so better for the environment and I see this in the yachting industry too … soon everything will be electric!
Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2020 and beyond.
- Home offices
Big of course due to the Coronavirus. This is something I am working on at the moment, a way of creating a home office even if you have limited space as not everyone has a spare room or an office at home. It is amazing how inventive one can become when there is less space, a great example of this is yacht design.
- Outside spaces
We are using these more and more and in the UK the summers seem to be getting warmer, so outdoor zoning and outdoor art is key here. Plus we are told it is safer to socialise outdoors. I love zoning areas so that you feel you can have your own space, or entertain with others, but also it gives you the sense of a larger space. Outdoor art is also a great way of showcasing and personalising your outdoor space, I have just bought my own pieces for my garden by the sea, made of perspex so that they are weather proof!
- Surfaces in Design
We will need to be able to keep all our surfaces bacteria clear , although we should anyway, I think there will need to be a change in some of the materials we use in the kitchen and bathrooms, so that we cannot pass of anything to others, but still looks aesthetically pleasing.
- Changing our interior environment regularly
I believe we will need to be inventive with our interior accessories to make sure that if we are spending so much more time at home, we do not get sick of being there. Finding ways to re create your living room or bedroom, in a cost effective easy way, will help with mood and anxiety, so accessories will have a key role to play this year in design.
- Creative lighting
This is key every year, but even more so if we are ever locked down again, and if it is winter time, this will have a huge impact on our health and wellbeing. Lighting needs to evolve to be able to really reproduce daylight at certain times of the year, to give us energy, drive and enthusiasm that we will most probably lose if we are locked in when the nights draw in and we lose light at 4pm inI think people really underestimate the importance of light and how it affects us mentally. This will be a key factor to coping with a possible second winter spike.
If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design schemes, what would it be?
Have a style of your own. Don’t be afraid of what you like and run with it, there is no point in us all doing the same things, as there would be no work and no variation in the industry, so let your own style grow.
How important are The International Yacht & Aviation Awards?
They are very important and highly respected. I am a judge on another design award panel, and I know how much hard work goes into the whole process. It is also great that there is a good deal of creative competitiveness with these awards, as it allows people to really think outside the box and raise the bar in the Industry.
What projects are you currently working on?
Celia Sawyer Interior Architecture & Design are currently working on 8 houses for one client and a 1 story villa in Barbados for another, but due to the coronavirus, I cannot get out there at the moment, so it is all a little delayed, but also a hotel project in the UK which is the refurbishment of an old run down hotel which is a grade 2 listed building, so it is also a challenge.
What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
I am designing an App so I am hoping this will be a great success, it is all about design, and is great fun to work on. I am also in talks about another Television show on design, and that is something I really enjoy, so I am hoping that mixed in with my day to day design work, the show comes off the ground as It makes a really nice change to my working life.
Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself and your daily inspirations:
Your most treasured possession?
Ideally, this needs to have an “s” on the end, as I have a huge art collection and love every piece of art in it. It all has meaning to me and the subjects range from politics through to Pop art so it is an eclectic mix.
Your favourite holiday destination?
Barbados or the South of France. I love both, Barbados has a lovely vibe, and I like the people, and South of France is just beautiful and has so much to offer by way of food and wine, I love Eze and the view from the Chèvre D’or.
Your favourite hotel, restaurant & bar?
Mmm so many to list, one of my favourite hotels is Grand Hotel Tremezzo in Lake Como, with their fantastic restaurant overlooking the lake, I also love Claridges which is opposite my office, The Fumoir bar is relaxing and I love the art deco design.
Your favourite book, film & song?
One of my favourite films is Papillon, it is such a good story, but there are so many and too many to mention. As far as books are concerned, I only like business or inspirational books, and enjoyed Anthony Robbins Unlimited Power, a true classic and up lifting book. As for songs, well I like anything from Classical to Grime music, so there is a huge array of choice!
Your favourite food and drink?
The blackened fish in Barbados, but with a lovely few glasses of LPR!
Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?
Sitting with my children (who are now grown up) and having a laugh and a few drinks at my home by the sea.
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
I always had an interest in details, and can always recognise a face, however long ago it may have been since I saw someone, so I think it would’ve been good to be a detective, as I always check out any business connections very thoroughly before I take the time to deal with them!
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