Designer of the Week

Interview with Federico Schilling featured in Designmyhub

Tell me a little bit about Flair Studio?

The studio was born under the idea of combining the rigour and formality which are embedded in the architectural profession with little elements of unpredictability and glamour with the idea to slightly shift the angle and to generate new perspectives.

The ability to work across residential, retail, and hospitality fields allows us to keep a fresh attitude and to cross-pollinate design solutions and new ideas from different cultures from one project to another.

In terms of process, we like to work collaboratively with our clients and to support them in developing their visions into quality projects from inception to design direction, through to construction and completion.

The Future of Interior Design: How do you see this year progressing for the A&D Industry as we ‘hopefully’ exit lockdown for the final time?

It is just great to see such results in containing the Virus and the roll-out of the vaccine in the UK after maybe a bad start and thanks to the professionalism of the healthcare system, keyworkers and volunteers – this has given us a sense of pride and enthusiasm.

The idea of get together and rebuild reflects into the industry and is generating new opportunities, which at the moment varies from sector to sector. Hopefully, the rebuild will also be more sustainable and inclusive than it used to be and with more focus and incentives for quality retrofitting the existing buildings.

Another element that I wish could come back soon is the sense of community, which felt so important for the industry during major events like i.e. the Salone del Mobile, which I see not just as mundane occasions but also as an opportunity to meet people in person and to touch, experience and exchange new ideas, solutions and products.

I wish the industry and the hole community could become more connected and regain the capability to share their stories and thus to generate new enthusiasm.

Federico, how do you know when interior design is “good”?

The proportions between the parts, the spatial configuration, the right coordination of the light scheme with the layering of textures and finishes are as much important the overall design language or a single piece of furniture. Sometimes are the small details that can make the difference between a good scheme and a great scheme as they leave a different mark in people’s memories to underline the fact that they have been well looked after.

On a typical Flair Studio project, with a £10,000 budget for a statement piece of furniture or an accessory, what would you like to go for and why?

In our projects I tend to combine the site-specific, bespoke and client-owned with vintage furniture pieces and I am also very interested at the auctions of retro and modern design items, which can also become a form of investment in itself. If I had to throw names in, that would be Gio Ponti, Piero Fornasetti, Ettore Sottsass for the Italian Design, Vladimir Kagan for his incredible sofas… I also love contemporary photographers like Ugo Mulas, Peter Beard, and David Baily to name a few.

What are your signature projects? Could you give us an example?

At the moment our signature project is always the next one as our attitude is to challenge ourselves and to continuously improve what we are doing. Also, by being a young practice, we strive to put great enthusiasm in everything we do. We are currently working at a one-off house for a Danish-Japanese family who is looking for quality and wellbeing whilst working from home and at the same time we are working on a slightly larger scale, mixed-use project which entails the retrofit of a small building near Sloane square which combines a fitness centre with a healthy restaurant and cultural events.

We also just handed over a fine dining restaurant in Birmingham with a nice outdoor area overlooking the canal which has been covered by a bio-climatic pergola which is a great way to break the indoor / outdoor boundaries.

And finally, what do you believe your clients like most about working with Flair Studio?

Sometimes Clients don’t understand the complexity of a project, no matter how big or small, and they might even start thinking of design services as a simple commodity. We like to spend time with our Clients in order to establish interesting dialogues which both will benefit from during the course of the project and beyond. It is thanks to these virtuous relationships that it is possible to achieve successful projects.

We never tend to impose ourselves or a particular style, we rather listen and curate our services with a bespoke attitude from project to project. This is probably the reason why a good portion of our commissions comes from repeat Clients.