After launching his own design studio in 2010,Robert Angell took what he had learnt under the tutelage of David Collins and developed his own unique style that combines both great modernists and masters of the past. He yearns fora modernised yet timeless aesthetic and as of which has designed some of the most pretigiousand iconic restaurants, bars, hotels, residential and retail interiors for some of the world’s leading brands and influencers. The aim of his designs isto enrich the lives of his clients and to all those who experience his creations, whilst also developing and enhancing the DNA and evolution of the brands and individuals he works with. FOUR catches up with this award winning designer to find out how he developed hispassion for sophisticated andattentive design and what’s next for him…
Where were you born and where did you grow up?
I was born in Dorset and raised on a farm which was amazing as a child. My back garden had a river, an old hill fort and woods to play in. I went to Clayesmore School where I met some brilliant friends and teachers, who helped shape me into what I am today. One teacher used to joke ‘just colour it in Rob’ when I could not make head nor tail of what I was being taught. Clearly my creative side started to shine through at a very young age!
How did you get into your line of work? Was there a particular moment where things just clicked into place or that you realized the direction you wanted to take?
Yes I had a moment when everything clicked. After school I heard the large estate house in the next village which had been derelict for years had been bought and was due to be refurbished. I instantly drove down and offered to help. I have always been drawn to historic houses; my old school was a historic building and Bryanston where Terrance Conran was educated and Milton Abbey were all within easy distance for me to visit. So I embarked on this opportunity and learnt a lot about the different architectural styles and designers along the way.
Tell us about how workingalongside David Collins has influenced you…
David was fabulous, An incredible talent and visionary. He was a true great. I loved working for him. It was a journey we took together; David saw the potential in me and I was quickly given more and more responsibility. David worked hard, we all worked hard. The hours were insane, but I did not mind, I was excited, engrossed and eager to design and deliver such amazing projects. The company grew and through sheer hard work and uncompromised design we became one of the world’s best known design studios.
When it comes to designing the interiors of restaurants, bars and hotels how do the design considerations and approach differ from other sectors for example residential projects?
The approach is very similar it is all founded up a great idea coupled with good design. The layouts and circulation are equally important. Material choices are different to residential, where you have more freedom to use whatever materials you like such as silks. In contrast for commercial design the qualities of materials used must be highly considered; everything needs to be so durable and fire proofed which can affect the way a fabric hangs, and the overall design must have a longevity and endurance to it so that it remains timeless as time goes by.
What do you hope guests should expect when they walk into one of therestaurants or hotels that you have designed?
I hope they expect a fantastic experience with some great food or a comfortable bed or both. I want people to enjoy themselves in my interiors and when they walk in, I want them to know they have arrived and do not really need to feel they need to comment on the design but more the experience.
Do you have a signature design style that is apparent in all of your interiors?
I would describe my style as timeless, bespoke luxury. My clients come to me because they will be confident in the fact that I will design and deliver a beautiful interior which will still look great in ten years without falling to trend or style, yet be of now. They also know that everything I design will be bespoke to their brief and needs and therefore will be the ultimate luxury interior for them.
Where do you get your inspiration for your creative designs from?
I get inspired through my life experiences. Building up a knowledge of luxury and constant reading and research as well as exploration and visiting new places and trying new things. I love design history and it really sets you up for being able to reflect on a particular era or style. Also my extensive travelling throughout the world enables one to really experience cultures and architecture that surround us.
What has been the most memorable moment in your career so far?
I would have to say deciding to leave David Collins and set up my own design studio. It was a hard decision to make and although he did not want me to leave he saw that this was the destiny I wanted to take.
Favourite restaurant or bar interior that you wish you had designed?
That’s quite a tricky question as I have had a hand in a lot of amazing restaurants and bars. I always wanted to redesign the restaurant at the top of the BT tower as it was the tallest building in Britain until the Nat West Tower and subsequently the Shard, which is now the tallest building in Europe, apart from the Eiffel tower.
How does it feel to be considered designer of choice by tops chefs such as Marcus Wareing and restaurants such as Kaspar’s at the Savoy?
I feel so proud to be working with such amazing individuals and institutions. I have had first-hand conversations with some truly amazing Chefs, Fashion Designers, Hoteliers and through this have gained an invaluable amount of knowledge of the industries in which I design. This coupled with the mentoring that David instilled in me and my creative ability to communicate my ideas and most importantly deliver them, I understand exactly what my clients want.
Do you have any future collaborations and projects lined-up you could tell us about?
We are designing a new Jewellery boutique in Knightsbridge and a historic hotel in St Petersburg which are both proving to be very exciting projects in taking my company to a new level in terms of scale and new territories.
In terms of top design trends what is hot on your radar at the moment?
I tend to steer away from any trends in interior design. My design aesthetic is very much founded upon creating something that is timeless and iconic in years to come and I want to create and enhance brands for the long term. Timeless designs that remain of the now is what we endeavour to capture in all of our interiors, although I do take a keen interest in Fashion and art and design in terms of seeing what is in fashion and I often reference fashion and art history in my designs and design inspirations.
Do you cook at all? What kinds of things do you like cooking at home?
Yes I cook but I am no way in the same league as Marcus Wareing! I can cook a mean roast with all the trimmings. I also do a great curry and some Thai dishes.
Favorite place to eat?
I really enjoy the food at Five Fields in Chelsea, it is always delicious and places a lot of focus on seasonality. Similarly the food at Marcus at The Berkeley is also incredible as the kitchen’s focus is on using produce that is at the height of its ripeness or seasonality to deliver the most flavoursome dishes. On the high street I seem to gravitate to Cote as the food is consistently good and great value. Not only because we have designed 26 of their restaurants, but I like the relaxed brasserie style and feel.
Find outmore information about Robert here |robertangelldesigninternational.com