Jo Le Gleud and Scott Maddux reflect on designing private residential spaces with a playful nod to personality and thoughftul consideration of space and place.
Mapping out clients’ dream homes with individuality and personality is a practised skill. Learning about their own quirks and eccentricities as well as designing a space that works practically and emotionally for clients is a balancing act.
Here, Jo Le Gleud and Scott Maddux talk to Interior Designer about the home narrative.
WELCOME JO AND SCOTT. TELL US, HOW HAS DESIGN FOR PRIVATE CLIENTS AND THEIR RESIDENCIES CHANGED RECENTLY?
We’ve seen a reassessment of how people are living, particularly during the pandemic. The home must now seamlessly accommodate multiple functions for extended periods of time, and clients are looking at ways of making their homes work for these increasing needs, with spaces for living, entertaining, relaxing, working, and learning. We are seeing the ‘return of the room’ – a shift away from a desire for total open-plan living, with the reintroduction of walls, doors or room dividers, to create areas for solitude or concentration. Divided spaces and multiple rooms offer more opportunities for differing moods and personal expression in a home, providing a richer living experience which our clients have always trusted us to deliver. Ultimately what hasn’t changed is the need for the home to act as a both personal sanctuary from the unpredictable world around us and also a source of inspiration for our daily lives.
SO, HOW DOES THE CONVERSATION BEGIN WITH A PRIVATE CLIENT WHEN REDESIGNING THEIR HOMES?
Hopeful not to state the obvious here, we always ask our clients to be completely honest; honest about how they live their lives and what is truly important to them. Honesty allows us a better understanding of our clients and manage the project effectively, so we can tailor our designs to clients’ specific requirements, unique personalities and integrate them seamlessly into their daily lives. Given we tend to work on total renovations we are with our clients for a long time, so connecting early on in the relationship is key. Designing a home is an emotional experience for a client, we are very privileged to win new projects, and that responsibility is a huge honour and one we never take for granted.
HAVE YOU NOTICED A SHIFT IN HOW HOME OWNERS ARE INFLUENCED IN THEIR CHOICES?
Our clients, and society in general, have access to so much visual information and inspiration due to the rise in social media, particularly Instagram and Pinterest. The sphere of reference for design inspiration is now truly global, and this information feeds into our design dialogue. Instagram and Pinterest also work conversely for us, allowing a wider audience of clientele to discover our work, and to engage us on projects in Europe, North America and further afield. Technology such as Zoom allows us to manage the design and the greater project from effectively anywhere.There is, however, the concept of “genius loci”, or “the prevailing atmosphere of the place”, which is also very important for us in our designs. It, along with our clients’ personalities, and their properties’ own quirks and challenges, allow us to create unexpected and unique results for every project. Never the same twice! While we develop inspiring and visually appealing concepts and ideas we also make sure that they work practically for the homeowner. Functionality in design is paramount. Being predominantly client-led means our work does not vapidly follow trends, and that our projects do not have a repeated narrative. We go out of our way to avoid repeating design solutions, so that each project is fresh and individual. We encourage our clients to be bold with colour and not afraid with texture. We like to believe we are champions of craftsmanship. We encourage our clients to invest in “future heirlooms” commissioning contemporary makers to make custom pieces that will stand the test of time, or scouring markets (in person and virtually) around the globe for antique pieces that have already done so.
Our approach is architecturally led. We investigate and respect the history and heritage of a building, we then weave this narrative into our designs alongside the functional requirements and aesthetic desires of our clients. We also use furniture and cabinetry in thoughtful and unconventional ways to shape our interior spaces and ensure it flows effortlessly.
WHAT IS A MUST-HAVE IN YOUR OWN HOME AND DO YOU FIND THIS OFTEN ALIGNS WITH YOUR CLIENTS’ NEEDS?
We use our homes as canvases for experimenting with colours and creating vignettes with pieces we acquire in our travels. These often find their way into our clients’ homes as the basis of a decorative scheme in a more refined form.
HOW DO YOU WEAVE FACETS OF THE CLIENTS’ PERSONALITIES INTO THE DESIGN WITHOUT BECOMING A PASTICHE OF THE STYLE?
Our fundamental approach to furnishing is eclectic and playful. We always seek to counter any chosen piece with something opposing, in form, period or colour, creating a visually balanced yet layered space. Our clients, and the homes we create for them are multi-dimensional.
HOW HAVE TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENTS CHANGED HOW YOU APPROACH YOUR WORK?
Video conferencing allows us to work seamlessly on projects around the globe, with team members from around the globe also. 3D modelling as a form of design communication is increasingly important; our clients expect it so we are now creating these models inhouse and essentially designing in 3D. Of course, there are some limitations to working in models, as changes to detailed models are cumbersome and potentially costly, so there is still a lot of hand-sketching!
MADDUX CREATIVE’S TOP SUPPLIERS
• Tissus D’Helene and George Spencer Designs showrooms fulfil the need for a rummage and often leave
with a sense of having unearthed something new and inspiring.
• Yarn Collective is an exciting young company and we consistently reuse. Their fabrics and colour range are so well-considered
• Charles Burnand finishes are fantastic and the brand is wonderful to work with.
• So many amazing antique dealers, such as Nick Jones, Dorian Caffot de Fawes, Quindry, Beton Brut, Foster and Gane, Lorfords.
• Almost all of our projects have a wall covering from Fromental used somewhere
• Balineum is our go-to for all things tile and bathroom related
• Sarah Watson is inspirational!