O&A London celebrates its 20th anniversary this year! With a growing number of international projects, and in order to create distinctive collections of furniture, lighting, textiles, wallpaper and rugs under its own unique brand, the company develops collaborative projects with amazing and talented people. We are fortunate to work with leaders in their field: people who do not see boundaries and make the impossible possible. We proudly name these creators, not just as partners but as co-designers and friends.
We are now delighted to announce the anniversary project «20 // 20». The project will present a series of exclusive interviews. The interview with Emilio Pimentel-Reid, a UK-based author and creative director who works across the disciplines of design, events, retail and publishing.
Born in the Dominican Republic, Emilio studied Fashion Design at Parsons School of Design in New York. Emilio Pimentel-Reid launched his own multidisciplinary studio in 2012 following many years as the Decorating Editor at ELLE Decoration (UK). His range of commissions blends his interest in contemporary design and historic interiors with a sense of playfulness, rigour and a colourful aesthetic. He currently lives between London, south Somerset and the ancient city of Bath.
O&A: When did you first become interested in the world of interior design?
EP: My mother subscribed to many design magazines when I was growing up and as a teenager I enjoyed escaping into the world that the glossy pages revealed. I now understand how much work, thought and planning goes into conjuring a successful interior – but back then it was just escapism. As a professional I believe an element of escape is an important quality a successful interior should provide.
O&A: Emilio, this year has changed the world. How do you see the future of design?
EP: Luckily the world is always changing. I believe more personal and bespoke interiors, a renewed appreciation of craft and greater respect for the environment will continue as relevant trends.
O&A: What distinguishes an ordinary interior from an extraordinary one?
EP: You know an extraordinary interior the minute you walk into the space. Comfort, beauty, connoisseurship, balance, proportion, appropriateness and confidence all combine with a sprinkling of magic.
O&A: Could you name five international tastemakers whose design work you admire?
EP: Joseph Holtzman – American magazine editor and collector known for his quirky 1990’s magazine ‘Nest’- which featured everything from palaces to igloos and prison cells. It opens your mind up to what a home can be.
Derry Moore – London- based photographer and regular contributor to Architectural Digest over many decades. Moore has photographed important interiors and his eye elevates the spaces he captures with his camera.Oscar de la Renta – the Dominican-American fashion designer whose home and fashion personified a colourful, elegant and well lived life.
Paul Rudolph – American architect and former chair of Yale University’s Department of Architecture known for his modern, brutalist and sexy work including Halston’s NY townhouse.
Vicente Wolf – New York -based Cuban-American interior designer who creates serene balanced interiors combining a range of finds from his travels with bespoke pieces to create supremely well balanced interiors.
They are all worth googling and discovering!
O&A: British design sets trends around the globe. Have you ever heard about Russian design? What does it look like?
EP: Along with my colleagues Sabine Rothman (New York ) and Victoria Murray (London) I have started a new platform called Interiors Academy (@interiorsacademy). The focus is to promote global conversations and to promote international design through an ongoing series of digital talks featuring high profile creatives. We are lucky that on a regular basis we are including designers from Russia and feature their work in Moscow, St. Petersburg and beyond.
In my mind I see Russian design as very international and with very high standards as well-travelled clients expect the best. Russian design is not just one look. Some Russian designers work in a very modern language and others incorporate tradition. To me Russia has always led in its use of wonderful materials taking advantage of the country’s richness in resources. What I would like to discover is more Russian craftsmen. Perhaps I will be lucky one day to be shown around the country by Russian designer colleagues to meet makers.
O&A: The O&A London company was established in Great Britain several years ago. Do you find it a challenge for Russian designers to gain the reputation in the industry of British design? Could you name any advantages of O&A?
EP: It is always a challenge for brands to establish themselves internationally. The UK market is particularly competitive as many brands use Britain as a launching pad to a global audience. It takes time for a brand to become known to both consumers and the press. The main point is to be patient, persistent and consistent.
O & A London is very well placed firstly because it has a very special point of view, Oleg Klodt is very talented and Anna Agapova a true artist. In addition to its beautiful interiors, when it comes to product O&A London has been clever to collaborate with top partners which gives them access to market knowledge and insight as they expand in the UK .
O&A: What is your home style?
EP: My style at home is personal and reflects my interests, upbringing, friendships and mentors. I’m exposed to and work with the most contemporary things in my professional life and yet don’t want to live exclusively surrounded by newness. I appreciate furniture with history and having a couple of pieces dated from the same period as the building acknowledge what the interior could have looked like in the past. They also look great in the context for which they were created. I live with a mix of Georgian, Regency and Victorian furniture as well as designs that have just been launched. Colour and pattern make me happy and the scale of my rooms (the ceilings are over 4 metres) means I have the challenge of plenty of wall space to hang art and textiles. I don’t care about price or provenance in the sense that something good does not need to be expensive. I regularly pick up fabrics, ceramics and many other interesting accessories at vintage shops and online. Other times I do fall for more expensive things that require a little more consideration before I invest. My preference at home is for things that are well made and not disposable – whether old or new. If I really love something, I’m not afraid to go for a trendy piece; I know the trend will eventually be forgotten and I will end up with an object that I love forever.
O&A: Where did the inspiration for your book, Bold British Design, come from and what was the hardest part of writing it?
EP: The idea for this book came from a desire to share the energy and delight I have experienced in my role as a Creative Director collaborating with the many talented individuals I encounter in the UK’s interiors world.
Created in partnership with photographer Sarah Hogan, Bold British Design (BBD) reveals a snapshot of UK design today by showcasing the houses and studios of 21 British-based people working in a range of interiors-related fields. Through profiles and short interviews, we provide context and insight into their design choices. The various spaces reveal distinctive elements of their work, personality, taste and training that led them to create personal, stylish workplaces and homes. The hardest part was narrowing the edit of designers to ensure we featured a range of styles.
O&A: What makes the designers in your book bold?
EP: The designers are bold, not just in the obvious sense of being colourful or quirky (as some gravitate towards muted palettes and their work is subtle) but they are all deeply original, fearless in their interior choices, either breaking the mould or pushing the boundaries of creativity. They are also bold in personal ways, often unconstrained by rules; joyful, and courageous both in how an individual product is made or how disparate elements are bravely combined in a room. They also each exemplify many of the characteristics that make design in the UK unique – a sense of humour and an appreciation for history, craft and modernity.
O&A: What inspires you?
EP: I keep my eyes open and stay curious. I allow myself to get excited about new designs and enjoy discovering historic interiors. I am someone who enjoys being part of our industry which leads me to asking questions, being open to collaborations and new projects.
O&A: Are you thinking about a new book?
EP: Yes I am already putting together ideas and visuals for a new book with my colleague photographer Sarah Hogan. Shooting Bold British Design across different part of the UK opened my eyes to many wonderful creatives and there are new design stories to be told.
O&A: What is next for you?
EP: On a professional level, in addition to a new book, I am focusing on developing new platform @InteriorsAcademy and our consulting service IA Creative a consultancy and production service delivering strategic brand content with an editorial point of view. On a personal level I have a hexagonal shaped folly in the Somerset countryside and plan to allocate time to finish decorating it.