Inside Sophie Conran's HQ
The perfect office space is paramount for this creative entrepreneur, who juggles her product design business with cookery writing and other projects from her London HQ. Here, she reveals what inspired her elegant scheme.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE?
Relaxed, easy and comfortable... If perhaps a little eccentric! I like to use eclectic pieces and mix and match styles and eras. I also love order, colour and playing with scale.
HOW HAS THIS TRANSLATED TO YOUR OFFICE SPACE?
My office totally reflects my personality – it’s feminine and light and I’ve made room for lots of books and other pieces of inspiration. Try starting with an item that inspires you and then build out from there. This could be a picture, a book or a piece of furniture anything that will bring you joy through those long hours.
IT SEEMS VERY ORGANISED - WHAT'S YOUR SECRET?
I love filing and putting things back in the right place – for me, a tidy work space equals a tidy mind. I keep the room as clear as possible and avoid personal distractions on my desk and surrounding area, so I can completely focus on what I need to do.
I also like clever storage solutions. I have the most amazing desk by [Danish designer] Arne Vodder with hidden drawers and cupboards that house everything I could ever need, including a bin.
WHAT'S YOUR ONE INDULGENCE IN THE OFFICE?
The curtains. They’re made of silk taffeta and are double-lined to look like ball gowns from an Irving Penn photograph called The Twelve Beauties, which was pinned to my moodboard. It was whimsy, but they’re so beautiful and have the added benefit of absorbing sound and giving warmth to the room.
SO HOW DID YOU BUILD UP THE REST OF THE SCHEME?
At the same time that I had the photograph of the ball gowns, I was developing a wallpaper range for Arthouse at B&Q, so I used one of those designs [called Fleur] for the walls. I’d also always wanted a Karuselli chair to sit in the corner, as my dad [Sir Terence Conran] had one in his office and we used to swing around on it when we went to visit him.
WHAT'S THE BEST WAY TO CREATE A MOODBOARD?
Collect images from magazines and books, anything that catches your eye, scraps of fabric, floor and ceiling finishes and any other surfaces you’re going to be using and live with them in the room. Hang bits of fabric or wallpaper on the wall and be sure that you see them all in different lights and at all times of day.
DO YOU HAVE ADVICE FOR WORKING WITH COLOUR?
There are so many ways to introduce colour. I’ve done it with the pictures, the wallpaper and the curtains and the way I’ve colour-coded my books. Try experimenting with different coloured chairs or furnishings, or paint on the walls and woodwork. Pieces of art are a wonderful way to add a splash of colour around the place and you aren’t tied to them forever, as you can move them around!
WHAT ABOUT PATTERN?
Wallpaper and fabric are the easiest and most fabulous way to do this. If you’ve the luxury of having soft furnishings in your office, then go all out and be bold with the pattern. For something simple, box files and folders can be covered in decorative print – there are some lovely ones around at the moment. This is an easy and brilliant way to add a flash of pattern and to keep your everyday work interesting and personal.
HOW WOULD YOU MAKE THE MOST OF A SMALL OR DARK SPACE?
Whatever natural light you have, make the most of it and utilise it within your space. Mirrors opposite windows are a great trick. I truly believe that you can make a nice office anywhere. If you haven’t got much room, use smaller pieces of furniture and make it really cute.
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ONE ESSENTIAL TIP?
Lighting is so important in an office, as you’ll be working in there at different times of the day and year. I like to use a varied mix of sources – I have ceiling spots, a pendant, a desk lamp, an uplighter, recessed lighting and a table lamp, so I can have light at different levels and keep it nice and bright on short, grey days.
AND THE ONE THING YOU'D BUY IF MONEY WERE NO OBJECT?
A fantastic piece of art. I wouldn’t say no to an early Picasso!
For more info, check outsophieconran.com
Shining a spotlight on the now and the next in home design and decor, Livingetc is the UK's best selling high end and contemporary home design magazine. As a brand, Livingetc showcases the world's very best homes, breaks and makes the trends, and has access to leading international designers for insight and ideas. It was first published in 1998, and is currently edited by Pip Rich.
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