In the twelfth of the series of Sofa Chats, top interior designer Daniel Hopwood talks about his relationship with us, his favourite piece and the importance of the timeless design of the Minotti furniture.
Daniel’s skills as an architect and interior designer are evident in his use of efficient space planning to turn what could be a challenging space into a celebration of versatile design and living in multipurpose spaces. His signature blend of rich colours and versatile furniture choices.
Hit the play button below to watch the full conversation, or read the full transcript below:
Anke Summerhill: Hi, I’m Anke Summerhill from Minotti, and I’m really pleased to have Daniel Hopwood here, for our first Minotti Mini Sofa Chats. We’ve been working with Daniel for… I don’t know, Daniel, how many years has it been?
Daniel Hopwood: I don’t know because I’m so young that I can’t imagine it’s very long at all. Anke, thanks for inviting me today-
Daniel: … and we’ve known each other for quite a long time. I’ve been working with Minotti here for… well it’s 27 years, actually. Very loyal customer.
Anke: Very, very and this is why you’re the first one here.
Daniel: Thank you very much.
Anke: We very much appreciate and we love working with you.
Daniel: There’s a good reason. I’m sure I’m not one of the big spenders here, but I do slowly purchase good Minotti furniture over the years. And I’ve got a good reason for buying Minotti furniture because clients are demanding, of course, they are.
They’re paying an interior designer to do a project for them and they want the best. The big keyword I get from a client is, is it practical? Is it comfortable? Yes, I know. I know with Minotti, it’s going to be. Is it good quality?
Yes, I know it’s good quality, but the most elusive thing, and this is why I was thrilled when I discovered Minotti, is the fact that at the same time, it’s really stylish. Normally you just don’t get those three things in a piece of furniture. That’s why I’ve been coming here for 27 years.
Anke: I love the way you use Minotti because Minotti has a certain look. For example in a showroom, it’s kind of monochrome, the colours. But when I see Minotti in your projects, I always get really excited because I love your use of colour.
You transform the look of a Minotti sofa. I think in one of your projects, you used bright orange or yellow, and it was absolutely stunning.
Daniel: It was that bendy sofa in turmeric, bending out of a window because the issue you have in London is also that houses and apartments are relatively small, but Minotti furniture is a larger scale, but you can have fun with that because if you put less but bigger pieces of furniture to a small room, it looks better.
And that’s what I’ve done with Minotti. And also, I love to play with conformity and actually just react against it. So, you take something which is beautifully elegant and then covering something outrageous because I can, and I dare my clients to do that. It just turns something into real fun.
Anke: Do you find you have to persuade your clients to go for these colour schemes or do they see your plans and they immediately enthused?
Daniel: The way you do it, is you keep your client on board with you. You give them questions. Do you want to be like everybody else? No.
Anke: They want to be original.
Daniel: So, let’s just bring some samples out, some fabrics out. What do you think about these? I love that, holding it to my chest and you think right, we’re on a winner now. How do you think that would work with the sofa? Can we do that?
As if they’re asking me permission to do that, and you say, of course, you can, like a magic wand and boom, they’ve got it. So, you keep the client involved in the design process and then you can be more daring.
And yeah, louche, lush, fun, exciting, but also a sense of longevity. It’s not for five minutes. It’s for life. It’s sustainable. That’s what it’s about. Actually, if you build a home for somebody and it’s all about what they love, it’ll last forever.
Anke: Yeah. How do you introduce Minotti to your clients?
Daniel: I don’t have to. Minotti’s just there. It’s in my portfolio of work. They can see it’s there, but it’s not jumping out as being a Minotti piece because of the way I play around with it. Also, the way that I would sell a piece of Minotti furniture is, I send them here.
You have amazing showroom. I had one young guy, he was on a budget and he couldn’t afford Minotti on his budget, but I sent him over here and he said to me, “If there’s anything I’m going to have in my house, it’s a Minotti sofa.” And I said, “Are you sure?” He said, “I will sacrifice all sorts of things for that sofa”
And he did. I know that he will live on that sofa for a very long time. In fact, one of my clients from 27 years ago still has her Minotti furniture and it still looks amazing.
We’ve covered it a couple of times, she’s had three boys, two dogs, and a husband climbing all over it, and it still is fantastic. So, it does work and it does last.
Anke: Absolutely. Yeah. This is what I always tell our clients. I’ve had Minotti myself for over 25 years. And it’s, dare I say, it’s pretty indestructible. It’s very childproof, dogproof, very livable. Its beautiful design and the beauty is the timelessness. It doesn’t date.
I think this is also the beauty. It’s not just the quality. I think it’s the timelessness of the pieces. It doesn’t matter that it was designed over 25 years ago. It still looks beautiful today.
Daniel: But it’s Italian furniture in the UK, so it’s just got to be twisted a little bit just to make it naughtier and more personable. More suitable to the UK and to London, especially. And that’s being riotous.
That’s when I jump in because I know there’s a good range of fabrics from Minotti. There are fabrics that can actually make things look a little bit daring, but I also know that you can send something over and they will use it and cover it beautifully.
They say it doesn’t matter what age you are. It’s about having great bone structure and…
Anke: Very nice. Yeah, I like that.
Daniel: That is the same with Minotti. It’s got great structure. They’ve got great shapes. I also think they’re thinking constantly about how people live and how they use their homes. It’s not just a set of sofas, but it’s some quite special furniture.
In fact, the piece of furniture that we’re sitting on, it’s very clever because they’ve raised the sofa back up again. It’s a little higher. It’s comfortable, but it’s not a dining chair. And yet you could eat and work at this table as well. Perfect lockdown location, actually I think this, isn’t it?
Anke: Yeah, it’s perfect. I know I absolutely adore this piece because you can fit it in so… If you have a large house, it fits in your boudoir or in your bedroom.
If you have a small flat, it’s your relaxing sofa. It’s where you can dine. It’s where you can work, where you can see your guests. It’s just so versatile.
Daniel: Anke, have you got a boudoir?
Anke: No. I wish.
Daniel: I’m trained as an architect, but my speciality subject is interior architecture. As a result, I look for certain structure and shape and how a piece of furniture relates to a room. It’s about the proportion and Minotti works well for me on that basis.
You’ve asked me if I have a favourite piece of furniture from Minotti. There are quite a lot and I must admit I’m quite old fashioned. It’s the older sofas that I do love, but my ultimate favourite is a piece of furniture that I have in my own bedroom.
And I still love it. It’s a Suitcase Chair in crocodile leather and it just looks great. It’s comfortable. It’s the cube. I know I’m sad like that, but I like that sort of shape and it works really well.
Anke: I think it’s a sheer simplicity of it, I think. And yeah, it’s just a beautiful piece. You never tyre looking at it, I think.
Daniel: I’ll never tyre. I’ve been finding during the lockdown, a lot of work’s been coming in and what’s remarkable is I’ll have young people coming to me.
My youngest this year was 21 years old. Some in their early thirties. A lot of people starting their families, they’re coming to me, which I think is quite exciting.
I think, here I am the old boy standing there, but I think it’s the blend of having the security of knowing that someone like me knows what I’m doing.
Anke: Yes. Experience.
Daniel: I’ve got the experience. I know how it works structurally. I know how it is going to work financially. And also, I’m not going to send them up the river design wise.
I’m going to make it daring and special for them because actually surprisingly enough, the young people are much more conservative than the older people. Go for a 70-year-old. They don’t care. They just want it to be really fabulous.
Anke: Exactly. They don’t have to be worried about the fact, if they’re going to be bored with it in 20 years.
Daniel: You never know. During lockdown, right at the beginning of it, I became a deliveryman for one of the grand old city guilds.
Anke: Did you?
Daniel: There’s a Guild of furniture makers.
Anke: I know. I know.
Daniel: I’m part of it.
Anke: Yeah. We’re part of it.
Daniel: You are part of it?
Anke: Digby is.
Daniel: Isn’t it? Oh, we can see you there. Now I’m chair of the Bespoke Guild Mark.
Anke: He doesn’t chair. He’s just a member.
Daniel: Yeah. I chair the Bespoke Guild Mark. We actually give guild marks to absolutely excellent bespoke pieces of furniture. I’m learning a lot about handmade furniture from there. So, it does actually link very nicely with Minotti, I think. We’ll have to collaborate-
Anke: Can I expect something?
Daniel: Yeah. I think we need to collaborate sometime. Maybe exhibit a couple of pieces.
Anke: That’d be very nice.
Daniel: Yeah. It’ll be fun.
Anke: Very nice. Yes. Okay. Daniel, it’s been a pleasure as always having you. Thank you very much.
Daniel: It’s fabulous. It’s like being on morning TV, isn’t it?
Anke: I feel like breakfast TV. Exactly.
Daniel: But a more stylish way.
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