Name: Sophie van Winden and Simone Gordon
Company: Owl Design
Position within company: Directors / Owners
Website: Owl Design
Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc)
We met at Ravensbourne University where we studied Interior Architecture. We clicked immediately and had similar design styles – which were very different from the rest of our class – so always had a dream of working together someday. We both went on to work for other designers but started working on small projects together, gradually getting more and more work. 5 years after leaving University we were able to give up our other jobs and go full time with Owl.
How would you describe your personal design style? Eclectic, happy & positive.
Where does your design inspiration come from? Travel – everywhere we go inspires us from Jamaica to Morocco to Spain (where we both frequent a lot), colours of nature, historical houses and museums – especially the V&A.
In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
Sustainability and health factors will continue to be key in the future of interior design. New innovations in VOC and plastic free products will determine the design ethos and eco-friendly materials will keep evolving and replacing harmful ones (we hope).
Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2020 and beyond.
Sustainability, longevity, organic, unexpected and positive.
If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design schemes, what would it be?
Ask the question, does it make you happy? It should!
How important are The International Design & Architecture Awards?
It is so important for all the amazing design talent that is out there right now to be recognised – to show appreciation to the designer’s work and to inspire and encourage others.
What projects are you currently working on?
We are working on a penthouse apartment in central London, a large Edwardian house on the outskirts of the city and a duplex apartment in Hackney, along with a couple of large events we are styling. So quite the variety!
What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
We would love the opportunity to design a boutique hotel, either at home or abroad. We think we could really add something to the sector.
Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself and your daily inspirations:
Your most treasured possession?
We would both agree that we try not to get too attached to possessions because if you lose or break them it is too devastating (I learned the hard way). So, experiences and time with loved ones are my most treasured things.
Your favourite holiday destination?
Sophie: Mexico + a little village in Spain called Altafulla where my parents met and that I have been visiting since I was a kid
Simone: Barcelona would have to be mine. I first went there on a university trip and just fell in love with the food, architecture, culture and the fact that it has a beach too!
Your favourite hotel, restaurant & bar?
Sophie: The Standard Kings Cross (hotel + bar), Trullo,
Simone: The Pig hotel and restaurant chain would be my favourite. I love how they grow most of the produce in their own gardens ready to be served in their restaurants, it’s such a lovely way of living.
Your favourite book, film & song?
Sophie: IQ84 by Murikami, After Midnight/Before Sunset, anything by Kate Bush
Your favourite food and drink?
Sophie: Fish tacos + red wine
Simone: Tapas would have to be my favourite food as it’s such a social way to eat and enjoy lots of small plates with friends and a glass of wine.
Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?
Sophie: Walk on the beach followed by pub lunch with friends
Simone: I love nothing more than visiting one of the many beautiful stately homes the UK has to offer, on a summer’s day followed by a picnic.
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
Sophie: If I wasn’t an interior designer I would be a furniture maker or fashion designer. I can’t imagine not being a designer…
Simone: I’d love to design and own a B&B combined with an interiors shop.