Twelve Minutes with Lewis Taylor
Design Director at David Collins Studio
Lewis Taylor joined David Collins Studio 12 years ago, after being snapped up by the London-based design studio following an impressive graduation showcase at the New Designers exhibition. Lewis worked directly with David Collins himself, before his untimely death in 2013. Since David Collins's death, the studio still follows his design approach. They put themselves directly in the customer's shoes and (in their own words: sometimes painstakingly) consider every aspect of the user journey, never losing sight of the practical requirements, as well as the overall aesthetics.
As the studio's Design Director, Lewis has led the design and delivery of many huge projects. One of his most memorable projects was working for Alexander McQueen, implementing 50 stores around the world, each with a signature, large-scale carved wax panel - each one unique to the other.
Having started out as a furniture designer, Lewis has a particular passion for beautifully made furnishings, instilled in him from an early age from visits to his grandfather's antique shop. We wanted to find out more about his relationship with furniture and what significant pieces have made an impact on him throughout his life.
When we asked Lewis if he had any strong memories of a particular item of furniture from his childhood, he spoke fondly of playing with a sewing chest that belonged to his grandparents. He described the piece as 'magic' and was always fascinated with how it worked, with its unusual oval shape and wooden tambour roll shutter. Lewis even admitted to taking ownership of this item (possibly without explicit permission from his grandparents!) and it now sits pride of place in his bedroom at home.
Furniture can be truly sentimental and most of us have those "must keep" items. We asked Lewis if he could only keep three pieces of furniture from his home, which would they be and why? He said;
'We have an old ash dining table that has amazing grain markings on the top, that would be my first item. It's 60 years old and is a rare example of an item that becomes more beautiful with age and use. I would also keep my Ercol lounge chair, which we have restrung and reupholstered and finally the chairs I made during my final year at the Royal College of Art.'
With an obvious love of craftsmanship and detail, we wanted to know if there had been a project Lewis has worked on where he could really express this in the design. A standout project for him and David Collins Studio alike, is The Ritz Carlton Residences at the iconic Mahanakhon, a mixed-use skyscraper in Bangkok, that took 8 years to construct, creating Thailand's tallest tower. When speaking about this project Lewis commented;
'Both the residences and the public amenity spaces are very special and really have a sense of place, something that we try to accomplish in all of our projects. This was achieved by using local artists and artisans across the property, along with local craft techniques on the custom furniture and finishes, such as walls covered with Thai silk. This creates a unique environment that absolutely belongs to the residences.'
Artisanal interior products and finishes that highlight the makers of this world are more than just a trend. Here at RB12, we believe that the fine details and finesse of a product is what makes true quality and timeless design. That being said, we asked Lewis what interior design trends are exciting him at the moment.
At David Collins Studio, they try not to follow trends and their work is all about longevity and timelessness. Lewis went on to explain;
'Although not a trend, the increasing use of new technology in retail and hospitality interiors and operations is something that is very exciting. The entire ceremony of purchasing goods or checking in to hotels is quickly changing and this is something we are looking forward to watching develop and being able to implement in our projects.'
Lewis Taylor's design top tip
So, what does Lewis suggest for creating a welcoming environment in your own home?
'Colour always adds personality to a space, and can dictate the feeling of a room, often more neutral palettes are chosen in fear, but this can result in a less inspiring space. Lighting is also key, we begin many of our projects by looking at the lighting - it is a balance of maximising natural light, with overhead and lower level lighting. Also, rather than anything visual, I would say that scent can really set the tone of a space and give a strong first impression and identity.'
At RB12, we have a variety of bright and colourful lighting collections available, including handblown Brokis lights and Italian made Selène Illuminazione. For home fragrance solutions, we can provide you with some beautiful scents from Culti Milano.