THE WOW!HOUSE IS BACK AT LONDON’S DESIGN CENTRE CHELSEA HARBOUR – HERE ARE SOME OF THIS YEARS’ HIGHLIGHTS

There aren’t many opportunities to see the work of the world’s finest design talent all in once space, but the WOW!house at London’s Design Centre Chelsea Harbour offers just that. Back for a third year in 2024, the event is a mecca for design enthusiasts and professionals alike, showcasing the work of a roster of exceptional designers – some established luminaries, others rising stars – from all corners of the globe. The House Directory sustainability partner, Positive Luxury, also proudly supports the event.

Image: WOW!house entrance
Image:  Discover WOW!house with The House Directory.

These exceptional creatives, which include several House Directory members, have designed 19 immersive rooms packed with incredible fabrics and wallpapers, furniture and artwork, as well as imaginative and unusual design details. Here, we take a look at just some of the spaces to take inspiration from this year.

Watts 1874 Legend Room by Alidad

The multi-layered, multi-purpose Legend Room is a collaboration between two design icons: world-renowned, Iranian-born interior designer Alidad and Watts 1874, the illustrious British company known for its exquisite fabrics, wallpaper and passementerie. A feast for the senses, this incredible space celebrates the 150th of anniversary of the family-owned brand with a breathtaking mélange of textiles, furniture and architectural details.

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Image: Watts 1874 Legend Room by Alidad. Photo by James McDonald

Inspired by Watts’ heritage, Alidad’s starting point was ‘Malvern’, a large-scale Renaissance design redrawn in 1889 by the pioneering architect and co-founder of Watts, G.F. Bodley. “I decided to use it for the walling as I wanted a big design that had movement, that also appeared to be growing up to the ceiling,” he explains. Against this backdrop, layer upon layer of antiques, artwork and objets d’art help tell the story of Watts 1874, past and present. A monumental Gothic Revival fireplace nods to the company’s ecclesiastical roots, while ceiling paper created especially for the space was inspired by a coffered ceiling at Eastnor Castle in Herefordshire. It’s an enchanting collection that together creates a room that’s undeniably opulent yet wonderfully liveable.

Image: Watts 1874 Legend Room by Alidad. Photo by James McDonald
Image: Watts 1874 Legend Room by Alidad. Photo by James McDonald

The Rug Company Dining Room by Ken Fulk

The WOW!house dining room is the work of American interior designer extraordinaire, Ken Fulk. Fulk, whose clients include Pharrell Williams and Gigi Hadid is renowned for his high concept spaces and here the cues comes from the bespoke rug he designed in collaboration with room sponsor and globally renowned carpet experts, The Rug Company. “It’s called ‘A Life Reflected’ and it’s inspired by the traditions of storytelling in Delft and Azulejo tilework dating back to the 14th century,” he says. “We then took the concept to new heights by setting it within our favourite dining room in London – William Morris’ Green Dining Room at the V&A Museum.”

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Image: The Rug Company Dining Room by Ken Fulk. Photo by James McDonald

A tribute to the decorative arts, the room features ornamental mouldings and ceiling coffers printed with drawings originally made for the rug. A French Empire fireplace sits proud next to a vast dining table laid with place settings by ceramicist Linda Fahey, while an extraordinary chandelier made from hundreds of recycled plastic bottles by Thierry Jeannot sparkles overhead.

Tissus d’Helene Drawing Room by Guy Goodfellow

Designed by Guy Goodfellow, founder of his eponymous design studio, the WOW!house drawing room in collaboration with House Directory member and room sponsor Tissus d’Hélène is a masterclass in underplayed elegance. Blending old with new, the timeless space is anchored around the architecture, with a colonnade that separates the main drawing room from an imagined winter garden. A monumental antique French limestone fireplace provides focus, while a faux coffered ceiling is made from a bespoke printed linen by fabric house Namay Samay.

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Image: Drawing Room by Guy Goodfellow. Photo by James McDonald

Also key to the space are the unique decorative finishes by Matthew Bray and Matthew Collins, as well as 18th and 19th century Japanese Imari porcelain from Guinevere, a contemporary artwork by Adrian Heath, an 18th century bureau from Brownrigg and an eclectic selection of Tissus d’Hélène’s fabrics. The result is an eclectic space that’s elegant yet packed with personality.

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Image: Drawing Room by Guy Goodfellow. Photo by James McDonald

Jamb London Primary Bedroom by Charlotte Freemantle and Will Fisher

Charlotte Freemantle and Will Fisher, the creative force behind Jamb, one of the capital’s leading destinations for exceptional antiques and reproduction chimneypieces, lighting and furniture, are the designers responsible for the WOW!house primary bedroom. Inspired by the palettes and extravagant drapery seen in paintings by Renaissance and Baroque masters Domenico Veneziano, Rembrandt and Velázquez, the walls, which are wrapped in blush pink silk, form the perfect backdrop for their new ‘Palmira’ bed – a magnificent four-poster that replicates an original Chippendale model.

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Image: Jamb Primary Bedroom by Charlotte Freemantle and Will Fisher. Photo by James McDonald

No Jamb scheme would be complete without a chimneypiece and here, the ‘Algernon’, carved from richly grained black and grey marble sits next to an early 18th century mirror, an antique Japanese rice paper screen and an ornate, black lacquer Chinese Coromandel cabinet. Completing the scene is a rich apricot 19th century Ziegler rug, which is brought to life by the glow from their own ‘Batsford’ dish light. Together they create a space that’s sumptuous, enveloping and imbued with echoes of the past. 

House Of Rohl Primary Bathroom by Michaelis Boyd

Clay plaster walls and a hand-painted mural evoke an atmosphere of serenity in the primary bathroom by architecture and interior design studio Michaelis Boyd, who masterminded the scheme in collaboration with room sponsor House of Rohl. A desire to challenge the traditional, function-driven focus of a bathroom was the starting point, for Christina Gregoriou and Rina Kukaj, the Michaelis Boyd partners leading the scheme. To achieve this, they used an “Alice in Wonderland” technique, turning the room into a series of spaces linked by a floor of Mosaic Factory chequerboard tiles to create a feeling of discovery and intrigue.

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Image: House of Rohl Primary Bathroom by Michaelis Boyd. Photos by James McDonald

Boasting a marble topped, curtained vanity unit and a bespoke daybed by Goldfinger, the room is also home to a magnificent ‘Diamond Olive’ chandelier by House Directory member Cox London. The luxurious freestanding ‘Taizu’ bath comes courtesy of Victoria + Albert while the brassware is by Perrin & Rowe. “Our bathroom is a sanctuary for relaxation and the discovery of the senses,” they say.

Image: House of Rohl Primary Bathroom by Michaelis Boyd. Photos by James McDonald
Image: House of Rohl Primary Bathroom by Michaelis Boyd. Photos by James McDonald

Colefax and Fowler Morning Room by Lucy Hammond Giles

“My starting point was the name of the room itself,” says Lucy Hammond Giles, Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler’s associate director. “To me a morning room is somewhere you’d want to sit on a Saturday with a cup of coffee and a newspaper, with a desk for writing and a sofa on which to nap.” Taking the brand’s signature aesthetic of deeply comfortable, relaxed interiors as her starting point, the space is filled with details inspired by decorating legends John Fowler, Nancy Lancaster and Tom Parr, as well as the current directors.

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Image: Colefax and Fowler Morning Room by Lucy Hammond Giles. Photo by James McDonald

Walls are lined in Larsens saffron yellow ‘Sound’ linen with matching curtains – a homage to Lancaster and Fowler’s famed Yellow Room at 39 Brook Street, Mayfair. These textiles are mixed with other gems sourced from the archives and the company’s Pimlico Road showroom including the ‘Fulco’ sofa Hammond Giles commissioned from Kingcome, which was inspired by, and named after, a photograph of the apartment belonging to Chanel’s famed jewellery designer Fulco di Vedura. Antique furniture and a wonderful miscellany of decorative objects complete the elegant scene.

Image: Colefax and Fowler Morning Room by Lucy Hammond Giles. Photo by James McDonald
Image: Colefax and Fowler Morning Room by Lucy Hammond Giles. Photo by James McDonald

Schumacher Courtyard Bedroom by Veere Grenney Associates

Elegant and effortlessly chic, the courtyard bedroom is the work of acclaimed British interior design firm Veere Grenney Associates, who created the space alongside room sponsor and iconic American design house, Schumacher.

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Image: Schumacher Courtyard Bedroom by Veere Grenney Associates. Photo by James McDonald

Having founded the company 17 years ago, Grenney is known for interiors that are serene yet intriguing, and this is an approach he used once again in this space. Inspired by a former bedroom of his own, the scheme combines his new ‘Woodman Check’ fabric for Schumacher, which has been used to line the walls as well as to make full-length curtains.  In contrast, swathes of ‘Suffolk’ damask envelope the custom-made four-poster bed, and together the fabrics create a fresh, subtly tailored feel.

Image: Schumacher Courtyard Bedroom by Veere Grenney Associates. Photo by James McDonald
Image: Schumacher Courtyard Bedroom by Veere Grenney Associates. Photo by James McDonald

Much of the furniture is from Grenney’s own collection, including a pair of ‘Paris’ tables in Lucite and brass, a signature armchair upholstered in a glazed linen from Schumacher and a glossy side table from a previous collaboration with The Lacquer Company. “It’s a kind of self-portrait,” he says. “I am designing this room for me!”

Chase Erwin Library by Andrea Benedettini

Framed by sumptuous, curtained walls, the WOW!house library is an immersive space by conceived by interior designer Andrea Benedettini in collaboration with room sponsor, the textile company Chase Irwin. “The concept is based around ballet, which is part of my background as I attended the English National Ballet School when I first moved to London,” he explains. “We looked at Swan Lake in particular as it’s the epitome of elegance and romanticism.”

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Image: Chase Erwin Library by Andrea Benedettini. Photo by James McDonald

This influence can be found throughout the space, most notably via a pair of swivel armchairs Benedettini designed for The Sofa & Chair Company, which are a nod to the movement of dance. The Murano glass ‘Thea’ chandelier by House Directory member Fiona McDonald is another sophisticated addition. Further theatrical details include a hand-painted, stylised forest wallcovering on the ceiling and a ripple effect ‘Riviere’ rug by Lotus Rugs. A champion of modern craftsmanship, Benedettini has also included an antiqued mirror ‘Miami’ cocktail cabinet is by Rupert Bevan and a waved-edged liquid metal and resin coffee table made to commission by the artisans at Anka Bespoke. “Anyone who loves books, classical music and elegant furnishings will love this room,” he says.

Sitting Room by Sophie Ashby for United In Design

The WOW!house sitting room is the work of renowned interior designer Sophie Ashby in collaboration with House Directory member and WOW!house 2024’s charity partner, United in Design. Founded by Ashby alongside fellow interior designer Alexandria Dauley, the aim of the organisation is to address the lack of diversity within the interiors industry. Packed with pieces by creatives that Ashby hopes will inspire the up and coming designers that the charity seeks to support, the scene is comfy and inviting.

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Image: Sitting Room by United in Design with Sophie_Ashby. Photo by James McDonald

Highlights include the Venezia games table by Artemest, and chairs by design duo Wilkinson & Rivera, a textural ‘Wires and Pulp’ lamp by B.C. Joshua and a blown glass ‘Marsha’ table light by design studio Meseme. These sit against walls upholstered in fabric by Dedar, which are hung with work by artists including Lily Bertrand-Webb, Sridhar Balasubramaniyam and fashion designer Rejina Pyo. Textiles by Sow Studio dress the window, while blown glass and turned wood vessels come courtesy of Jahday Ford, Millie Harris and Darren Appiagyei.

Sophie Ashby
Image: Interior Designer Sophie Ashby

There are also pieces designed by Ashby herself – two chairs, upholstered in a new fabric, ‘Trippy’, and a ‘Sculpted’ sofa from her Sister collection. Cushions are woven by textile artist Dalia James while an abstract rug by Studio Ashby, Shame Studios and fashion designer Priya Ahluwalia complete the light-hearted scheme. “It may be a room by us, but in truth, it’s a room by the brilliant assemblage of individuals we gathered,” she says.

The Dining Space by Suzy Hoodless

The palette in the WOW!house dining space, designed by Suzy Hoodless is rich and earthy. Divided into flexible zones linked by colour and texture, the starting point was the bespoke Adam Ellis treescape wallcovering that wraps the walls. Next came the custom fireplace clad in Moroccan bejmat tiles from Robert Emile Atelier, which forms the perfect backdrop for contemporary designs and vintage finds, including Another Country’s new ‘Series 5’ dining table, paired with a set of 1950s ‘Model 2027’ dining chairs by Josef Frank for Swedish brand Svenskt Tenn.

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Image: Dining Space by Suzy Hoodless. Photo by James McDonald

Underfoot is the ‘Tric’ sisool carpet, supplied by natural flooring specialists Crucial Trading, while the hand-tufted rug was created by The Rug Company from a geometric floral design based on Hoodless’ own Cornish garden. “We delight in taking a brief and blowing it out of proportion so that the finished design is beyond what could be imagined,” says Hoodless.

Martin Moore Kitchen with Studio Vero

The WOW!house is the perfect showcase for the global launch of House Directory member and room sponsor Martin Moore’s 50th anniversary collection, ‘Legacy’. Styled expertly by boutique interior design company Studio Vero, the scheme has been realised in a rich palette of green, terracotta and tobacco that pairs elegantly with the natural, pale washed finish of the timber cabinetry.

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Image: Martin Moore Kitchen with Studio Vero. Photo by James McDonald

Complementary materials, colours and textures including textural plaster walls, handsome green granite worktops and handcrafted zellige tiles create a feeling of calm. These are complemented by state-of-the-art Gaggenau appliances and elegant brassware by House Directory member Waterworks. “We wanted to create a kitchen that’s somewhere more than just somewhere to cook,” say the studio’s founders Romanos Brihi and Venetia Rudebeck. “It’s a place to spend time in and somewhere that should showcase personality just as much as any other room.”

Waterworks Tap detail
Image: Martin Moore Kitchen by Studio Vero with Waterworks’ Henry kitchen faucet in brass with spray

Summit Terrace by Fernando Wong

This tropical outdoor room is the work of Panamanian landscape designer Fernando Wong. A collaboration with House Directory member, Summit, it showcases the exceptional handmade teak outdoor furniture that the US company is so well known for. Combining pieces from both the ‘Arc’ and Modular’ collections, the tables, chairs, sofas and loungers sit against a backdrop of extravagant planting and are complimented with cushions made from ‘Bahama Basket’ and ‘Madagascar Stripe’ fabrics, both of which are from Summit’s Nina Campbell collection.

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Image: Summit Terrace by Fernando Wong. Photo by James McDonald

Also part of the inviting scene are carefully chosen decorative pieces such as a charming ‘Mini Cep’ alabaster lamp by Collier Webb, a playful daisy-strewn rug by Jennifer Manners and an impressive mirror-polished stainless steel ‘Torus’ outdoor sculpture by renowned British artist David Harber. The result is a lush oasis that’s both dynamic and restorative.

www.dcch.co.uk/wowhouse/


We hope you’ve enjoyed our WOW!house highlights. If you haven’t already, visit WOW!house until 4th July 2024. Please do share this blog if you have found it useful and check out some of our other recent posts here.

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