Do you think people have become more design conscious? Are there differences between the UK and Holland?
Definitely – I think if you compare it to 10 years ago, it’s really growing in the UK, especially if you see the amount of design stores that are popping up in London. There’s a very nice Dutch tile brand named Mosa, and they’ve just opened up a flagship store, and a lot of Italian furniture brands opened showrooms recently.
I find that British clients are still slightly traditional or they’re über-modern, you know. It’s either Norman Foster or William Morris. For their interiors here in London people will spend a lot of money. I find that the Brits I work for want more quality in what they have. I think in the 80s and 90s people did up houses pretty badly with a lot of DIY-ing and a lot of cheap products. So basically a lot of jobs are gutting it out, cleaning it up and building it up again.
In Holland we have a big contingent of middle-60s to stark 90s new dwellings, and now there are a lot of other national building projects going on. I’m designing a family house in a small pocket like that. There are a lot of rules and constraints – it’s like a Grade II listed area in the UK – but it’s fun.
Tell us about some of your favourite projects – you worked on London restaurant Oldroyd with Tom Oldroyd and Meryl Fernandes?
We did Oldroyd with the three of us, it was great. The thing is, if people are inspired and they want to go for quality – it almost always works. Especially with the restaurant, it was easy to work with them. It’s always great when someone has a lot of experience of cooking and of how a kitchen works. So it was like, why don’t you carve out the space you need for the kitchen and tell me what else you want and I’ll make you some drawings and see if it fits or not.
One of the main things of course was, the restaurant is very small downstairs and that’s a negative and a positive – the positive is that it very quickly becomes very cosy, and that’s amazing. We really wanted that feeling and I think we succeeded.