An invigorating jolt of technicolour pulses through Staffan and Monique Tollgard’s latest residential interior design scheme in this handsome Kensington home. With a vibrant family life at the heart of the brief, the London-based interior design team have drawn a red thread through their clients’ collection of art and artefacts – pieces that reflect their international heritage and passion for contemporary and traditional Ethiopian art. Each of the key rooms in the Technicolour Kensington house take inspiration from the bold works of art or sculpture, drawing colour, texture or strong tactile forms from their worlds.
“The collection of wooden sculptures were a perfect starting point for this design journey” Staffan Tollgard recalls. “We immediately decided that they would work as an introduction to the rest of house and the architecture presented us with a beautiful arch to frame the largest piece. We grounded the works with a contemporary bench by Riva 1920. The very simple but weighty natural length of solid timber was one of the first design decisions made.”
This collection is also framed by the opening into the dining room where functional sculpture, one of Staffan Tollgard’s interior design mantras, is expressed in both the lighting and furniture choices. With natural drama playing a key role in the design language of the project, another element of the client brief was more prosaic: the family needed a lot of very practical but beautiful storage. “We scaled up the already statueseque proportions of Emmemobili’s Dado cabinets on either side of the fireplace” explains Monique, “but as the size increased so we lightened the wood stain to lessen their visual impact.” The triptych of Tom Dixon pendants over the enormous Lema dining table echoes the curves of both the painting over the fireplace and the hallway masks, as well as the sculptural Doodle sofa in the bay window.
The Technicolour Kensington reception room on the first floor marries the sleek, clean lines of Italian design with a riot of colour from the large artworks that take centre stage in the room. Emmemobili were called upon again as couturiers of wood to provide the customised bar and TV console that sit either side of the fireplace. “Our background in film and story-telling means we tend to only have a couple of hero pieces in one room” Staffan explains. “Here the paintings are the focus and the furniture needs to sit back a little to let them speak”. Their colour palette has been worked through the design scheme into the cushions, accent stools and even the choice of flowers, resulting in a room full of drama, energy and warmth.
As befits a home that centres around family life, the playroom that leads out into the garden offers a final, more playful lesson in colour. The room was designed to bring the garden in, and give the family a dedicated place to play, draw, paint, play ping pong and hang out. “The lessons we learned from our clients in how to organise and prioritise family life were both inspirational and invaluable,” Monique recalls. “Their dedication to creating a functional, happy, joyful home made this project a pleasure from start to finish.” The red thread for this project may have begun with a collection of vibrant art, but in truth this is a story of a vibrant family life, lived to the hilt, in glorious technicolour!