Q&A with Harriet Anstruther | Interior Design Interview

Q&A with Harriet Anstruther | Interior Design Interview

Q&A with Harriet Anstruther Tweet: Q&A with Harriet Anstruther

To begin our interior design Q&A, we spoke with the wonderful London-based designer, Harriet Ansturther.

Harriet is a member of the Development Advisory Board at the Victoria & Albert Museum and Committee Member and Ambassador for the Royal Academy, and regularly teaches at the Royal College of Art.

You may have also read her contributions to the likes of housetohome, Living Etc, Elle Decoration and London Design Week.

Her work is very much multidisciplinary, her designs are filled with an eclectic mix of traditional and modern styles, and from the feedback of her clients, recognises the importance of expressing her playful personality through her work.

We were lucky enough to ask Harriet a number of interesting questions and find out more about her work, style and projects to come.

To start, tell us about how it all began for your interior design career.

"My background was in fine art & fashion. I had always loved mixing art & design & dabbled in interiors, decoration, set design, costume design, textile design et al for most of my career after fashion.

7-8 years ago I decided to go back to school (The Inchbald in London) to do a course that would allow me to hone my skills & interests.

Five years ago in 2011, I launched Harriet Anstruther studio and we are currently made up of 9 people.

The concept of my practise is to have a multi-disciplinary studio that understands & celebrates the cross fertilisation between architecture, interior design and decoration."

Talk us through your creative process, how do you approach each project?

"Art & architecture are usually the starting points in a commercial or residential projects conceptual inception. You cannot remove the inner haptic you create from the skin that it is in.

Each projects is of course different & I do a lot of research about the building & who or what will inhabit it, before producing an initial look & feel to a client."

How would you describe your style, to those who aren't familiar?

"Hopefully, having wit, courage, effortless glamour, originality and function.

I'm told it's quite eccentric & English in it's approach. If it doesn't work those hiring me to live with it, it doesn't work for me."

If you could only pick one project from the last 5 years that you're most proud of, which would it be?

"My own homes I think, though each new project brings excitement, challenge and experience.

The benefit and luxury of doing one's own home is taking the time to mould it, change it and layer it over a lifetime."

How often do you incorporate industrial or vintage elements in to your designs?

"Always. My work is very anti formula; a generic style doesn't appeal. I like surprise and I'm whimsy in life which is reflected in the pieces I choose.

The alchemy is then editing them and curating an amalgam of materials, silhouettes, styles, forms and senses that work independently and together." 

What's your take on the introduction of metallic tones within interior design?

"Metallics work inside or outside. I've a particular fondness for unlacquered metals that change over time.

The reflective qualities of metallics offer movement, light and sexiness. What's not to like?"

Name (any) three things that you think will shape the future of interior design.

  1. "Generosity of Spirit; this could be in the form of offices designed for humans as opposed to the current robot feel of spaces. An environment that is sensitive to our need for interaction, comfort, light & playfulness, will produce happier more productive people.

  2. Economics; hopefully people will make do and mend more. I encourage lateral thought insterad of just big bucks when decorating. The divide between the rich & poor, the have and have nots feels increasingly ugly, with multiple examples of big budgets spent on interiors that look like trash.

  3. Inginuity; no one can afford much space any more, so we'll need to be clever as designers at finding solutions to storage, working from home, re-adjusting our thinking as to what's necessary and what's not in producing balanced, joyful, kind communities."

What's to come for you in the coming 2016, anything exciting you can share with us?

"I'm very honoured to have been appointed on the advisory board at The Design Museum. I'm 2 years in to a series of ground-breaking private residential projects for a client that really celebrates art and design in union.

I am also working on more collaborations and an idea for a new book, so lots to look forward to and work towards!"

In our next interior design Q&A, we'll be speaking with Jordan & Russell aka 2 Lovely Gays.