Delivering literally hundreds of interiors, there is much that is now recognisably Arent & Pyke, there is also a lot that is clearly an Arent & Pyke copy, which is to say there is a style that many aspire to. As such, it was a revelation to look through their book, Interiors Beyond the Primary and see just how diverse their output has been. And, how little of the signatured elements are actually repeated.
Instead, what is revealed is a deeply rich and layered collection of exceedingly well-crafted interiors. Ranging from the Parisian chic styling of a grand apartment to the Mediterranean nuances of a large harbourside home, the focus is always on style and substance.
“For us, the building blocks of a project are not the bricks and mortar but the intangibles that make up our ethos as a business: the transportive and immersive roles of colour, the creation of joy and forging of an emotional connection, the character and spirit of a house – its heart and soul – and that special alchemy that occurs when it all comes together in a unique, magical blend,” say Juliette Arent and Sarah-Jane Pyke in the book’s forward.
For each of the projects examined in the book, the integral way the pair think and their shared design process is foundational to the outcome: “Every home and every client bring their own particular requirements so the outcome will always differ, but our approach to each design is guided by the same principles. Five concepts encapsulate our approach and make up our ethos as designers: joy, colour, character, spirit and alchemy,” they say. And, though not always tangible these elements effectively bring each design to life.
Arriving into the interior design world at a time (2007) when the male-led minimalist and monochrome interior dominated, the pair were quick to realise the homes they wanted to make would be havens. As such, they have never shied from inserting the feminine into their designs. But, it should be quickly noted that by feminine they never mean sweet and shy, but rather, strong, nurturing and dynamic.
The projects are in fact exceptional with no expected outcomes and certainly nothing cookie-cutter. Vintage elements are dotted through projects when that feels right, while others are wholly contemporary. Layers of pattern and colour are used differently at every turn, as is the introduction of art, which is again, wholly appropriate to each project.
Plants become features and marble is deeply coloured and delivered in surprise appearances. Large pendant lights are always a feature, but never the same. Fabric too is always interesting and unexpected. Indeed, the range of products, materials, colours, objects, design and art languages these two draw on is vast beyond compare.
They are also two of the most fabulous people you are likely to meet. But back to the book. It’s terrific. The projects are varied and well explained, the photography is excellent and the reasoning behind their design direction for each project is clear and concise, even when it touches on joy and nurture as driving concerns.
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