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December 26, 2014

Tastefully Ever After

Text by Neha Gupta

Internationally acclaimed, British born interior designer Kelly Hoppen recently visited India for a high-luxe project in Mumbai. She chats with Verve about her views on luxury, technology and timeless designs

It was at the age of 16 that Kelly Hoppen was awarded her first project – a family friend’s kitchen. From there her passion for beautifying homes, now seasoned with confidence, blossomed into a serious entrepreneurial venture. Hoppen has an honorable list of credits trailing her namesake brand. With 38 years of experience, all in the realm of luxury, her latest award was from Natwest Everywoman Ambassador in December 2013 for being an inspiration for aspiring women achievers.

Not just an architect with an e-commerce store, two BBC shows and eight books, Hoppen is also an ambassador for the Princes Trust and the Princes Initiative for Mature Enterprise, an ambassador for the Government’s GREAT campaign and works with UK Trade & Investment that mentors small and medium sized businesses.

Known for her classic style that contradicts her vibrant personality, Hoppen will now leave her impression on Mumbai’s luxury homes.

What kind of homes are you designing in Mumbai?
With Lodha Group, we are creating an exclusive new project, which sets a new standard in design, aesthetics and luxury. This is combined with an incredible functionality in design, all of it built around a hyper-connected location.

Since Indian and British design preferences differ, what do you see as a challenge?
My design philosophy has always been influenced by different flavours – be it from architecture and the very essence of a place. I believe that India, especially Mumbai, is a tremendously exciting place and presents an incredible canvas for modern design. Mumbai brings together the best of all worlds, the cutting edge in technology, design and the best in luxury.

What does luxury mean to you?
In a time of recession, people want sustainable luxury as consumers are still holding on to classic and timeless pieces in order to feel a sense of comfort and meaning. I also believe luxury is linked with relaxation and therefore removing clutter and fussy objects can create a feeling of sanctuary.

What is your view on technology in connection with interior designing?
Technology has, of course, grown hugely over the last decade or so. It is probably one of the fastest developing aspects of life with new products being created all the time, and this is definitely important to take into account when designing for a new client. As with aspects of interiors, it is important not to have gadgets just for the sake of it, they can cause clutter and stress. Yet, there is no point in trying to deny it or hide from the fact that technology is a huge part of modern life. When it comes down to my personal choices, I love TVs and have one in practically every room. I also have a thing for sub-zero refrigerators and am very particular about taps, which I consider to be pieces of sculpture!

What does your contemporary style reflect most?
I would describe my style as ‘timeless elegance’ meaning that the design will stand the test of time, will not date and will always look chic. It will be simple yet opulent. Throughout all of my projects my design ethos remains the same: fusing elements of eastern and western principles with neutral tones and a vast array of textures. Neutrals rock and always will, as far as I’m concerned, but the added bits like art, photography…can be anything and everything.

The project that has been closest to your heart?
It would have to be my old home in Notting Hill, which I instantly fell in love with. I loved the lighting in the property as it shone through the whole house and made me feel so happy. In terms of design, I completely took it apart and redid everything, including gutting it.

Can you share the kind of designing you will employ in your new home?
Unfortunately I cannot reveal anything about my house as of yet…. However it is certainly going to be something absolutely groundbreaking and I can’t wait for people to see it!

What are the colours, textures and cuts that are trending this year internationally?
I am not a big follower of trends as I believe that they will make your interiors feel tired in a short space of time. Style is a reflection of who you are and your interests, it should be individual yet classic and therefore perfectly couture for you.

Hoppen’s Picks….

Paint versus wallpapers  
I love wallpaper that can be used all around the home and is perfectly simple yet stylish with a tonal colour palette. My collections with Graham & Brown really capture this essence and do include some more dramatic colour combinations too.

Natural light versus artificial light
I love natural light. However natural light combined with subtle lighting makes the perfect look. For my home I used a lot of low level and back lighting to create a beautiful serene glow.

Light fittings versus lamps
My main tip when it comes to lighting is focus less on ceiling and direct lighting, and more on floor and wall lighting. This is so that the room is flooded in indirect light bouncing back into it.

Bathtub versus shower
I love spending hours in the bathtub. For me, it is a big feature of my space in the bathroom. And scented candles are a must for me in the bath – I love my own collection but am also a big fan of Jo Malone.

Carpets versus bare floors
Wooden floors make a huge difference to the ambience of a room and changing carpets to wooden floors is a great tip for changing things up.

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