In this first in the series of Sofa Chats, Casey Morrison from the Minotti London team speaks to top interior designer Caroline Cobbold about why she loves working with us, using Minotti furniture in her designs and the importance of collaboration in design.
Caroline has developed an undeniable wealth of experience from over 35 years in the design world, starting out as a Set Decorator and then Production Designer on top advertising campaigns and feature films.
Traditionally trained, her impeccable taste and attention to detail have evolved over the years due to her continued curiosity and her experience through travel, leading her to work on beautiful interior projects in the UK and abroad.
Hit the play button below to watch the full conversation, or read the full transcript below:
Casey Morrison: Welcome back to Sofa Chats with Minotti London. My name’s Casey. I’m the account manager here at Minotti and a design consultant. I’m here on the Freeman sofa today joined by the lovely Caroline. Thank you so much for joining us today.
Caroline Cobbold: Oh, thank you.
Casey: We’re doing a little bit about us working together, how it’s developed over time, what you like in design, what you maybe like about Minotti, hopefully? We’re just going to dig right in first, right from the beginning. When did you first hear about Minotti?
Caroline: Well, believe it or not I had, 30 years ago… Well, no, I well little bit longer than that, I bought a sofa from a sales shop. It wasn’t from Minotti at all and I didn’t know it was Minotti, I’d never even heard of Minotti.
Caroline: I bought this sofa and I still have it today, and I love it. I’ve just had it recovered.
Casey: That’s incredible.
Caroline: It doesn’t need stuffing, the everything’s perfect.
Casey: One of those comfy ones.
Caroline: It actually looks better now than it did when I bought it.
Casey: That’s incredible. It’s nice to know that you can have something over that time.
Caroline: I know. I’m somebody who just likes holding onto the things that I’ve bought, if you know what I mean? Because I buy things that mean something to me rather than just buying something for a bit and then changing.
Casey: Yeah, a nice piece you can keep with you over the years.
Casey: That sofa’s been in three continents with me.
Caroline: Absolutely, absolutely.
Casey: Yeah. It’s seen it all. You’ve done some absolutely beautiful projects.
Caroline: Well, thank you.
Casey: Thank you so much for including us in some of them.
Caroline: I love it, I love it. I’d always tried to where one can because you’ve things that will suit every type of property, every type of style, everything, which is what I love about it.
Casey: Yeah. It’s so good. I know that you actually have a couple of favourite sofas, Caroline. There’s a couple that we go to a lot, which are so perfect for a lot of the schemes, because I think actually they’re quite, almost like a base piece that you can then build on with the other decor around it.
Caroline: They fit into everything modern and new, and that is probably my style anyways, is fitting the old with the new, rather than I’m not overly modern, but I’m quite traditional I suppose, in that. Yeah.
Casey: But that fusion is actually something that works so well, especially in the London area with the really quite old buildings. It’s nice to actually have a twist of the modern style. I would say the sofa that I hear most with you is the Anderson.
Caroline: Yeah, the Andersen line.
Casey: For those of you who don’t know, Andersen is actually one of the older ranges.
Caroline: Like me.
Casey: One of our more classic sofas. The Andersen is such a timeless piece, that exactly, as you say, it fits really well in traditional style or a modern setting.
Casey: Andersen, as well, one of the most comfortable in terms of the memory foam. They’re one of those that you can just sit back and relax in. We always know that the clients are going to be happy, but you can actually get it on a line base, what you’re talking about.
Casey: It’s really beautiful to be on plinth.
Caroline: I love it.
Casey: One of the things that really interests me always about your designs, Caroline, is the colours that you use. How do you get inspired by the colours you’re using in a project?
Caroline: Sometimes, and I have done one that is very, very monochromatic, I’ve done jobs that are very monochromatic depending on the client, but to me, I suppose the thing is I walk into a building and I walk to meet the clients and then it all just becomes what you hear what they want.
Caroline: I tried to put colour in. Well, I just tried to put character in, I think, is the word.
Casey: Yeah, I think that’s exactly the word, yeah, character.
Caroline: Someone had likened my work to pared down sophisticated chic, which is quite nice, with the sense of an clandestine meeting just taking place. Everything’s got a story. It’s not totally obvious and it’s not totally safe, but it’s not shock of the new.
Caroline: It’s just sort of like, “Oh, I didn’t expect that” but without being shocking because I’m not that shocking. It’s more that the combination. I think the training from my film industry days has given me the insight for different periods of style. I’ve done things from the 11th century to look 2030, or something like that, futuristic.
It’s quite interesting too, because obviously you see things in vignettes, you see things as you would on a film set so you’ve got a quick flash and it’s got to tell a story. I think my interiors try and do that. I don’t do it consciously, but it happens.
Casey: When you’re speaking with some of your clients in their lovely homes, a lot of them that I’ve met, it’s very important to them, the types of pieces they have. Like you say, they know they’re going to have it for a long time.
Casey: What types of things do you look for in design when you’re thinking about the furniture in the place?
Caroline: Something that’s extremely well designed and unfortunately, there’s so much flooded on the market that is not so well designed. You can really spot those pieces, but I think I’ve got quite good taste.
Casey: She’s got an eye for it.
Caroline: I’ve got quite good taste. It’s not all just about how expensive something is, because that doesn’t really mean anything to me.
Caroline: It’s really how something’s been thought about and how if it’s been made to last, when it’s been actually thought about and its creation, and that stands out. That appears to me, comfort, obviously, but well designed. When you think about it, there are millions, you trawl through millions and millions of, say, chairs, that have been just totally over-designed or someone’s trying too hard.
Casey: Yeah, yeah, yeah. You see it all the time actually, yeah.
Caroline: Out of 1000 pieces, you might find one or two that stick out. Then I sometimes go to those ones at time and time, maybe like the Anderson line, and I keep coming back to that same one.
Casey: You know it’s designed well.
Casey: Yeah. Is there a piece, when you’re wandering around the showroom with me, that you would love in your own home?
Caroline: The Andersen line. There are, there are lots and lots of pieces. I love loads of things. I like the Hamilton sofa as well.
Caroline: One, is the sofas is probably, I think, that’s how probably think more when I’m thinking of Minotti. To me, it’s more sofas, I think. There are masses of lots of lovely little things, but I think it’s the sofas, probably.
Casey: The sofas are a really nice base in a residential area to be able to build on.
Caroline: It’s the main thing, isn’t it?
Casey: I’ve also found when we’ve been working together, because our pieces are very sectional, it’s really nice to be able to create, almost bespoke, the actual size and shape that we need exactly for that client.
Caroline: Well, that’s what you’ve always been brilliant on because I go, “Can I have a …? What about a …? Can you just do this? Can you just do that,” and you always go, “Yes, we can. Yes, we can.” That’s brilliant, that’s brilliant. That’s the joy of working with you, here with Minotti.
This house that I’m doing in Mayfair actually, it’s a mix. It’s a period house. It’s an Edwardian house, all built in 1908 or 1905 or something. They want to keep some of the traditional pieces around, not pieces, but the building, the sense of the building. But then they also have quite a modern, and they want a bit of a mid-century look as well. It just seemed, in certain areas where there’s a sort of singular armchair that it needs to be slightly wide, but it doesn’t want to look like a hotel one, and it needs to still be comfortable looking and friendly.
Caroline: And cosy.
Casey: Just exactly the type of thing you want to just plop yourself down in.
Caroline: I love yours, the Daiki chair and the footstool and the Fynn, which I’m using in a project at the moment in Wimbledon. But that’s a different thing, isn’t it?
Casey: Yeah, it’s a different look together.
Casey: That’s very interesting to know that actually could be made.
Caroline: I kept doing something in Photoshop, in my bad way, of trying to split that one and split that one and then squeeze them together and get it right, and it worked-ish enough for you to understand what I was after.
Casey: Well, hopefully Caroline, one day we can go to the factory together. I would absolutely love that.
Caroline: Yes, I would love that.
Casey: I would love for you to see how some of the pieces are made.
Caroline: I’d really love that because I feel passionate about knowing those sorts of things. I love factories. I love going to factories.
Casey: I know, surprisingly interesting. You think it’s just going to be materials churning and it’s absolutely not and how they design things.
Caroline: No, no, no. I love seeing things, yeah.
Casey: Caroline, it’s been an absolute pleasure having you here.
Caroline: Thank you very much, indeed.
Casey: Yeah. Like I said, absolutely lovely to see you.
Caroline: Thank you.
Casey: We’re really, really looking forward to all the things that are coming up in the future.
Caroline: I know, we’ve got a big order on, haven’t we?
Casey: A lovely one.
Caroline: Yeah, good.
Casey: Also, the idea of how we get towards the next one in which you start having the first ideas. I love working with you from the concept to how it actually then comes about. Yeah. I’m really excited for things to come.
Caroline: Well, I’ve got a new project, which is totally different for me. It’s a barn conversion in Gloucestershire, an 1815 barn. It’s just four walls. That’s all I know. I’m doing a bit more that architectural interior design on that one, but I’m going to try and get some Minotti in there, too.
Casey: Thank you so much, Caroline.
Caroline: Lovely, thank you.
Casey: An absolute pleasure.
Caroline: Thank you very much for inviting me today.
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