In the tenth of the series of Sofa Chats, top interior designer Lucy Clark in conversation with Anke Summerhill about her very first project, her trip to the factory in Milan and the Chelsea Flower Show.
Lucy Clark, the founder of Studio Clark and Co is a fully trained Interior Designer with a History of Art Degree and more than 12 years of experience in the global luxury architectural interior design industry, she has created a studio of talented designers offering an inspiring level of creativity open to endless possibilities.
Hit the play button below to watch the full conversation, or read the full transcript below:
Anke Summerhill: Hi, it’s Anke Summerhill from Minotti London. And today I have with me Lucy Clark from Studio Clark + Co. Lucy has been working with us for quite some time, I think maybe a decade. Is that right?
Lucy Clark: It is a decade. I can’t believe it.
Anke: And I remember you went on a factory visit to Minotti quite some time ago, which gave you some more insight into the Minotti products. Do you remember the trip?
Lucy: I absolutely loved the trip. And I think what was really crucial is understanding the craftsmanship behind your products, which is crucial when we are trying to sell and source a product for our clients, to understand how the furniture is made.
And it just brought a huge fan of respect to the brand, which is really important.
Anke: So, this extra insight into the manufacturing of the product was really a help to you?
Lucy: Yeah. And I really felt that when I met also the family, it just was like home from home, which I think was just really lovely about Minotti and Minotti London.
And they were just so welcoming and learning also about the upholsterers and the seamanship and just the talent behind each individual, the different processes of making the furniture was fantastic.
Anke: Minotti now has a whole new factory ring just for the outdoors. So I think once that is up and running, it would be good to take you there because, Lucy, we have done some nice outdoor projects with you in the past at the Chelsea Flower Show, which I absolutely loved. Do you want to tell us a little about that?
Lucy: Yes. Well, this was back in 2018 and I was asked by Chris Beardshaw to design two gardens in 2018, 2019 for Morgan Stanley. And one of which was, I think, for the NSPCC.
Anke: That’s right.
Lucy: And what was lovely is the relationship with the indoor-outdoor vibe. And I think because your products are so versatile, you can use them inside or you can use them outside, the outdoor collection, they just fitted perfectly with what Chris Beardshaw was designing.
And it was also what was in those days, but in 2018 the fabrics out there on the market were quite rough and not very tactile, whereas the fabrics that you guys supply are just soft and they feel so luxurious and-
Anke: They feel the same as the indoor. It’s hard to see the difference sometimes.
Anke: Well, until it rains.
Lucy: Exactly, but that’s where rain covers come in.
Anke: I know. And the gardens went on to win as well.
Lucy: They did. So 2018, he won gold and best in the show. And then in 2019, he also won gold.
Anke: I always like to think that Minotti helped a little bit win those.
Lucy: Absolutely. Well, I think actually Chris Beardshaw was really inspired by the Colette armchair that we used in one of the pods.
Anke: It did look stunning.
Lucy: Yes. He did this beautiful rod detail, which very much mirrored the design of the Colette chair.
Anke: Yes. So Lucy, and I also remember because you’ve been doing this for, as I mentioned earlier, I think about 12 years, and in one of your very first projects you already used Minotti, right?
Lucy: I did. Yes. The first project.
Anke: Oh, the very first project?
Lucy: Very first project.
Anke: I feel very honoured.
Lucy: Yeah. I know. I actually specified the Seymour collection and I think what’s brilliant about the Seymour collection, is it’s very versatile and I loved how on your website, you showed the different configurations you could create, zoning in just one space.
And that really helped with such a vast living space that we had to design and space plan. And we ended up creating two, three different seating arrangements, which is great when you were entertaining and you were in different groups. It was perfect.
Anke: So why is it that in some of your projects you specify in Minotti?
Lucy: I think the bottom line, I know this sounds really cheesy, but as I’ve been working with you for so long, almost a decade, you’re like a family.
And I know that the team I can really count on and Gail who has always supported me on all my projects, she’s also become a friend of mine. And that just makes it so much easier.
And she just knows what I need when I need it. And I know the job’s going to get done.
Anke: So it saves time and it’s efficient and it’s nice to deal with somebody you feel really comfortable with.
Lucy: Exactly. And I just know that it’s going to be efficient. And if you can imagine being a designer, it’s such a multifaceted job. And you have so much going on.
Anke: So many different hats.
Lucy: Exactly. And you just know that you can rely on your specific suppliers that they’ll get the job done.
Anke: Because you’re quite a small company. So for you, this is really important to have that backup from the company. And also, I don’t think we have gone wrong ever or any problems, but if there were to be a problem or an issue, we’re there for you to help you solve it.
Lucy: Exactly. I’ve literally just done a project in Richmond and you supplied a beautiful bed, the Spencer bed and it’s in this beautiful teal velvet. And it was a little bit crushed, but we put it in storage. And I think I just texted Gail and I said help with a picture of the fabric crushed.
And she said, “Leave it with me. No trouble at all.” In her Irish accent. And the next thing I knew, she’d organise various people to go to the site to sort it out and you would not know. All sorted out.
Anke: Perfect. Well, we are here to serve and it’s always such a pleasure to see you. And I love it when you come in with your clients. It doesn’t feel like a business meeting.
It feels like meeting up with friends. And I think that’s another nice detail when you have been working with someone for a long time that you have the trust and that friendship as well that’s grown out of the business relationship.
Lucy: Absolutely. And I think what’s really lovely is coming here with my clients and you’ve got such a versatile range of different furniture. I’m sure one piece is going to be right for my clients. But equally, I don’t want to do a hard sell.
That’s not what I’m doing. It’s more just making them feel comfortable and relaxed. And I love my clients seeing furniture, sitting in them. This is for their home essentially.
Anke: It’s important. And it’s a piece that you have for some time. It’s important to make the right choice.
Lucy: But I think that’s also where the visit to Milan really helped because I know what goes on behind the scenes. I know what happens in the factory. But the clients don’t necessarily see that. And I’m the one employed to present them with the best of the best.
Lucy: So I think that’s a really important point.
Anke: Well, we’re so happy to have you as a client and a friend, Lucy, and it’s been a total pleasure having you here today. Thank you very much.
Lucy: Thank you.
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