Ashley Hicks: Rooms with a History

Interior designer Ashley Hicks has a new book out from Rizzoli, called “Rooms with a History: Interiors and their Inspirations.” Inspirational and visually on trend, it’s said to be a pattern book for the 21st century. In it, Hicks discusses his own quirky and colorful historicist interiors, with designs from his recent and faraway past. A+A recently interviewed him via email:

Who is your clientele?
Anyone who likes what I do. If they show me other people’s work I show them how to get in touch with other people.

What kind of assignments come to you?
Private homes generally, although much of what I do is designing and making furniture and objects sold through the design gallery, R and Company, in New York.

Your design philosophy?
A slight air of mystery is nice – to puzzle the eye and let the imagination dream. There’s nothing more boring than a ruthlessly modern, minimal space – or a cloyingly authentic historic reproduction interior.

Your design intent?
I personally like all rooms to combine old and new. A completely historic room always benefits from an injection of modernity, unless it’s actually in a museum.

What about materiality?
Over-abundant luxurious materials give visual indigestion. I much prefer a painted faux finish, but it should not be too perfect. I want to actually see that it’s fake. I want an obviously handmade and slightly unreal quality, a look that suggests the precious material but doesn’t actually pretend to be real.

Where do you find your inspiration?
In historic interiors of every age, in decorative art museums, in organic forms of stones and minerals – everywhere.

Your favorite project?
My own rooms in Albany, London – not a very modern building, 1803, but the decoration is very much ‘modern with a sense of history’ combining obviously new imagery, pattern and bright-colored resin sculptures with old-looking faux tapestry walls and ancient stone fragments.

What do you want to achieve with this book?
To share things that I love and the work I have been doing inspired by them – and perhaps encourage others to be a little braver in what they do to interiors: the worst that can happen is that you’ll feel slightly ridiculous, and if we don’t all feel that every so often, what’s life about?

For more, go here.

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