In Rose Uniacke’s studio and shop in the Pimlico design district in London, one finds carefully chosen antiques and 20th century furniture, as well as the Uniacke’s very own line of furniture and lighting. In the latest edition of Art & Home published by Sotheby’s International Realty, the London-based designer explains how she tries to achieve balanced and harmonious spaces with her style.
Uniacke’s activities perfectly complement each other because she believes in curating spaces that combine old and new with effortless refinement. When asked to define her style, she said that she dislikes the idea of rolling out a signature style.
“I have a visual sense of what I’m trying to achieve, but it is never formulaic,” she says. “I don’t like spaces to be too perfect – an element of the unfinished or the casual is a reminder that we are human.”
What comes first when she is designing – the interior or the art?
“It depends on the client’s situation. Some might want me to design a space around their collection, which is interesting because art in itself sets a mood. If I don’t need to take art into consideration, I begin by conceptualising the situation – the bones of the room and try to establish how to combine art with a context that feels logical, comfortable and welcoming.”
Do you know from the first moment exactly how the art will be installed?
“Part of the fun of design is that it is an organic process and you can’t always anticipate how the volume of a space will be affected when you come to hang a painting on the wall. It is all about creating a sense of harmony. A small object might have a power equal to that of a huge canvas. But it is not essential to have art in a room – sometimes the absence of art can be interesting and is certainly restful.”
It is not a question of saying, “The room is finished, let’s add some art,” she continues. “Everything must feel integrated and speak with one voice. The furniture and the art must feel as comfortable as the people.”
For her, a piece of design is as valid in an artistic way as a painting.
“I love objects and furniture – they can be incredibly powerful and do the same job as sculpture or art. An interior is like a canvas. You might just have a simple table and chair and a glamorous light and that may be all you need. To me, a space should have a soul and a voice. I am also a firm believer in function; it’s boring if you have to worry where to put your glass down.”
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