Exploring London: Design and Tradition

The Design Museum London. Exploring London design and Tradition

Exploring London: A Designer’s Perspective on Design and Tradition

London holds a special place in my heart. Its vibrant atmosphere and seamless blend of tradition and innovation make it a constant source of inspiration for designers. Recently I spent a fabulous week exploring London, uncovering design and tradition, hidden gems, and revisiting familiar favorites. Here’s my designer’s point of view on London 2024.

The author with sculpture in London

Design and Architectural Influences

London’s unique geographic position makes it a cultural and financial powerhouse. London was founded by the Romans in 47 A.D. It’s strategic location has facilitated trade with both the East and West. Without a doubt, this contributes to the city’s financial success. London’s success fostered a rich tapestry of influences that are evident in its architecture and design.

Roaming the streets finding a Chihuly Display

 

Westminster Abby

 

A Designer’s Perspective: London and Interior Design

When navigating London’s eclectic neighborhoods, be sure to take a moment to relax at one of the many outdoor cafes. Here is where people-watching becomes an art form. You are surrounded by vibrant shopping arcades adorned with umbrellas, lanterns, and banners adding to the city’s colorful backdrop. Once you finish sipping a coffee, it is time to immerse yourself in the London interior design scene.

A covered shopping arcade in London. Exploring London Design and Tradition

 

Breakfast at an outdoor cafe.

 

The Design Center In Chelsea

Interior of the Chelsea Design Center in London

My journey began at the Design Centre in Chelsea Harbor. This hub of creativity is home to showrooms featuring international and exclusive local designs. Here you uncover a unique perspective on the blend of traditional and modern design. One standout was David Hunt Lighting.  Beautiful light fixtures made in the Cotswolds. The attention to detail was outstanding. Each piece of the collection is hand-crafted and finished. The company is committed to the highest standards of craftsmanship, and it shows.

David Hunt Lighting studio in the design center of London

David Hunt Lighting.

Maximalist Dreams and Italian Elegance

Next, I stepped into MINDTHEGAP Design & Supply. The showroom was a maximalist’s dream, bursting with splashes of color and layered patterns. 

Mind The Gap Supply showroom in London

The Ceccotti Collection was filled with exquisite Italian-designed furniture. It was a visual feast of classic beauty and modern flair. I found familiar brands such as Samuel and Sons, House of Rohl, Interiors, and many more.

Fine Italian designed furniture

 

House of Rohl

The Bespoke World of David Linley

Bespoke design of David Lin

 Another highlight was my visit to the bespoke design house of David Linley. Their marquetry home accessories, from picture frames and trays to chess sets and even a Monopoly game, were exquisite.

Kitchen design in London

David Linley showroom in London.

The kitchen design center showcased fabulous finishes and doors with intricate inlay work. I had an engaging conversation with their head of kitchen design about the differences between US and UK design styles. It was a wonderful and insightful conversation. Learning about Linley’s royal lineage added an extra layer of fascination to the experience.

Exploring London: Design and Tradition

The Timeless Elegance of London’s Architecture

Walking back to Mayfair, I was captivated by the seamless blend of historic and contemporary design. The beautiful facades of buildings, high ceilings, and intricate moldings are glimpsed through windows, offering a peek into the elegant interiors. London’s passageways and small arcades, adorned with natural design elements and colorful lanterns, beckon visitors to explore the hidden treasures within.

A scene from Camden Market.

Iconic Landmarks and Cultural Gems

No visit to London is complete without experiencing its iconic landmarks. St. Paul’s Cathedral was designed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1710.  Similarly, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, The Tower of London, and Big Ben are steeped in history. The Tate Modern, with its cutting-edge exhibitions of art, photography, and performance, offers a modern contrast. Each adds its twist to the design landscape of the city.

St. Pau'ls Cathedral in London

 

  Iconic clock tower in London

A Shopper’s Paradise

Another important stop is Harrods, with its world-famous retail experience, which is a must-visit. The ascent to the fifth floor, known as Shoe Heaven, is as remarkable as the stunning architecture seen throughout the city.

Escalators in Harrod's

 

5th floor called shoe heaven at Harrod's London

Nature and Pop Culture

On our last day, we ventured to Richmond and Kew Gardens, the Royal Botanic Gardens of London. This tranquil escape was the perfect way to unwind. Because we were in the area, we couldn’t resist visiting the filming location of Ted Lasso, one of my husband’s favorite shows.

Filming location for Ted Lasso

Ted Lasso film location

Designer POV: London Feed the Eyes and Inspire the Soul

I certainly love exploring London. Always an unforgettable journey of design inspiration and cultural discovery. From historic landmarks to modern design centers, the city offers endless sources of creativity. Whether you’re a design enthusiast or a curious traveler, London’s unique charm and vibrant energy will captivate your heart and mind.

Finally, I hope you enjoyed my designer’s perspective on the city’s blend of design and tradition. Whether you are planning a visit or looking for design inspiration, London promises to be a treasure trove of experiences.

Sharon L. Sherman, ASID, NCIDQ, CID, CKD

ABOUT SHARON. 

Sharon is the founder of Thyme and Place Design, headquartered in Wyckoff, New Jersey. She’s been practicing kitchen and bath design for the past 40 years and is a Past President of the American Society of Interior Designers – New Jersey chapter. She is a current member of the editorial board of KBB Magazine, the official magazine of the National Kitchen and Bath Association. Sharon has also received a Kitchen Bath Design News 2022 Innovator of the Year Award.

Her award-winning designs and editorial comments have been featured in Forbes, The New York Times, Design Milk, Furniture Lighting and Decor, Designers Today, Bergen NJ magazineKitchen & Bath Design News, Woman’s Day, Country Decorating, Design NJ, New Jersey Home Magazine, 201 Magazine, The Best of Bergen, Savvy Living, The Vue, The Record, The Star-Ledger,  and Aspire as well as several books.

Her blog “Tips from the Trade” appears in digital form on DesignNJ.com and KBBonline.com. She has also appeared on HGTV’s My Big Amazing Renovation and episodes of House Smarts with Lou Manfredini.  Sharon was a featured speaker for  *Voices From The Industry*  at the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s international convention and The International Surfaces Event and is available for further speaking engagements nationwide on all topics related to running a successful kitchen and bath design business. She is also a CEU provider for IDCEC. 

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Sharon sherman

My award-winning designs haven been featured in multiple magazines, industry publications and on television. That’s nice affirmation, to be sure.

But perhaps the greatest accolade I’ve received is the repeat engagements with so many clients, project after project, year after year.

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