With studios in Singapore and London, and a presence in the Middle East, Elliot James Interiors are the go-to designers when it comes to enhancing and creating multipurpose interiors. Whether it’s a penthouse, apartment, villa, nightclub, office, or bar, any project is possible for the talented and multi-disciplined team at Elliot James Interiors.
The team’s wealth of global experience has won them a multitude of global awards throughout the last decade, including ‘Interior Design Scheme – Asia Pacific’ at The International Design & Architecture Awards 2021, and ‘Residential House Under £1m Design’ at the SBID International Design Awards 2018.
FOUR speaks to Co-Founder, Elliot Barratt, to understand more about creating iconic design concepts and why it is important to champion current and future creative talent.
Can you explain a bit about your background and how you got into design?
Design has been a passion I’ve held since I could put pen to paper; with a father as an engineer and a mother as a huge interior design enthusiast, it gave me a deep-rooted love for building things whilst also making them look seamless and beautiful. I followed my design passion through to university, where I studied furniture design, and at 21, I established ‘Elliot James’ as a furniture design company. After a few false starts, I fell onto the corporate ladder, running a design team at The Telegraph newspaper, and my business rumbled along on the side.
At 24, my twin brother moved to Hong Kong, and regular trips to see him opened my eyes to Asia, where I was captured by the incredible style and charisma that it held. As 30 approached, I knew that my burning passion to run my own business couldn’t be ignored anymore, and after a chance meeting with my business partner, Tom Ryan, who was living in Singapore, I poured every penny I had into the company, and I upped and moved to Singapore to embrace the Asian market and establish Elliot James Interiors.
What was the inspiration for creating Elliot James Interiors?
I love design; it might sound cliche, but I really do love creating beautiful, striking, never before seen designs, something that wow’s and is functional in equal measure. I wanted my own company that could create those designs, and give clients something really special and luxurious, a company that was synonymous with incredible design, and amazing service. I initially established Elliot James as a furniture design company, but I quickly realised that I wanted to curate the space around the furniture, and the company naturally shifted into an interior design studio.
How long does it take to go from design to creating the final product?
It naturally depends on the size of the project, but on average, we take time to study our clients, their way of life and how they wish to live in their new home, and then the design period could take anything from 2-6 months, and the build usually takes an additional 6 – 12 months. It is important that our design compliments and enhances our clients’ lives, and also stands the test of time, so taking time to get the design right is extremely important.
What makes Elliot James Interiors different from other design studios in your opinion?
This is always a hard question to answer, and I imagine we (all interior designers) sound the same when we say it… but we believe we are creating a lifestyle rather than just designing a space. We want our clients’ homes to appeal to all the senses, such as smell, sound, feel, as well as what they see. We want their environment to adapt depending on the time of day and the needs of the client. Sound, lighting, home automation and fragrances all play a huge part in this.
How would you describe the designs of Elliot James Interiors?
Timeless, eclectic, sophisticated, and unique.
How important is it for you to champion local artisans, craftsmen and components?
Incredibly important. We are very proud to be British, and we think there is a level of quality that comes with British manufacturing that is second to none. We love that the UK is steeped in history as well as culturally diverse, and through this is an incredible pool of creative talent who have for so long pushed the boundaries and created world-changing movements through art and design.
Equally, in Asia and anywhere where we are working, it is so important to immerse yourself in the local culture and understand its traditions and help promote the current and next generations of talent.
What have you been working on recently?
We have numerous global interior projects running at the moment in Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, London and the Middle East. We’re redesigning and building mountainside villas, city penthouses and large landed homes, all exciting and all completely individual. We’re also busy working on our first furniture collection, due to be showcased later this year, that will consist of some very unique and unexpected materials and forms. We are so fortunate to love what we do and have an incredible network of global designers and suppliers that allows us to take on amazing projects from around the world.
Where do you get inspiration from?
I take inspiration from all around me, from scents, fashion, travel, car design, and architecture – everything in your life can become an inspiration once you start looking.
Do you have a favourite design in the collection?
That is too hard to say, as I love them all in different ways. The most recent one tends to be my favourite at the time, as it is fresh, and I feel as I mature, so does my style, but I really do love them all as they represent where we were during that stage of this amazing journey.