An oasis of amber & ebony hues

Architect and Brand Innovator Paul West found his oasis inside this beautiful townhouse in East London. After months of renovations the place brightens with the perfect balance between timeless design pieces and classic silhouettes, giving to this Georgian building a sense of charm and charisma.

A fan of MISMO himself, we had the opportunity to talk about how we can try to stay unique in a world of  "hyper-information", the process of creating a wood lamp, favorite spots in London, and some memorable bags in between.

Picasso once said “ Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working”. How do you feed your inspiration?

I’m inspired by people who see the world through their own lens. They could be philosophers, founders of purposeful businesses, architects, writers, artists, designers, thinkers.

I’m forever inspired by my soulmate, Michelle. We bounce ideas off each other every day.

Also, inspiring places trigger new ideas. We love exploring cities, villages, markets, exhibitions, and
historical places.

Simple, everyday activities inspire thoughts and new ideas, too. Cycling through London with its cross-section of life in just a few miles – from parks to landmarks. Being in the garden, anything really... such as looking after our home. Simply focusing and rewiring the brain for a few moments helps recalibrate the mind, and spark new thoughts and ideas.


At which point did you realise that you fell in love with Interior Design? How was that process of self-discovery?

I’ve had an interest in spaces, cities, and experiences from a young age. I was obsessed with drawing spaces and places as a child, and continued to find interest in design and architecture as a student - particularly with how the places we inhabit shape our daily lives. Further to my degree in Interior Architecture and Design, I have worked at some great design consultancies and architects, gaining experience across a wide range of projects – from private homes to airports.

I have been working in the creative industries for around 20 years now, and my passion for architecture and design has evolved into creative direction, strategy and brand consulting.

For me, joy is found in creative thinking and it can be applied everywhere – from shaping businesses, building brands, experiences and design across many disciplines.

Describe your favourite spot in London - and what this place means to you?

There are so many! We tend to spend a lot of time in East London, and East-Central, but enjoy exploring more widely across the city.

There are intimate and indulgent settings like Monmouth Coffee, St John Bread & Wine, or Jolene.

Taking a stride from where we live, there’s Victoria Park, historic Spitalfields, and a short cycle through the charming streets of Clerkenwell and elsewhere around Islington always brings a smile. The redevelopment of Kings Cross has been, and continues to be, exemplary, and heading more central, we love being in Marylebone, too. But, most importantly, home is the place that brings the most joy, every day.

Curiosity is what it takes to discover unpredictable paths, people and places. How does your passion shape the way you travel?
I’m passionate about ideas... ideas for architecture and interiors, businesses and brands, craft and creativity. When we travel, we often seek out and enjoy places with creativity at the heart – from the historic and established cities to the new and dynamic neighbourhoods.
The (short) story of an object, a piece of furniture or an item that holds a special place in your heart or has inspired you in your work.
I have taken a keen interest in sourcing, collecting and curating design and craft for many years. Rather than one thing, I would say the collective nature of all these things is what inspires me. Many say I’m a minimalist; I don’t like clutter, but I love character. Character is born out of being (as William Morris mentioned) ‘useful and beautiful’, and I enjoy this eclectic mix of things with character – antique, modern or contemporary – and how they enhance daily life on a practical and emotional level.
We live in a world of “hyper information” and “hyper-production”, it seems that creating something relevant and different nowadays is hard. What is ‘uniqueness’ for you?
I agree, as we’re better connected than ever before, there’s a lot of homogenisation out there, and trends come and go very quickly. It’s easy to be seduced by newness, and how others interpret the world, but uniqueness comes from within. We are all individual in our own thoughts and skills, so it’s important to recognise what genuinely interests and excites you, what your values are, and try to identify what your mission and role in life is. I believe this personal ethos should manifest in every aspect of life – how you live, the company you keep, who you help, what you create, to the experiences you seek.
Many say I’m a minimalist; I don’t like clutter, but I love character. Character is born out of being (as William Morris mentioned) ‘useful and beautiful’

We know that you worked with your dad creating wood lamps. How was that process?

My Dad has a lifetime of experience in carpentry, joinery, and building. He’s now retired, and has been keen to spend some more time on working with wood – mostly on his lathe - turning things like bowls and decorative crafts.

Dad has kindly made a few pieces before – mostly because I couldn’t find what I was looking for – so I
put pen to paper and we worked up some solutions together. We have made a few things for the home. One very special item was a daybed.

I also wanted to make a new type of lamp – reimagining the traditional table lamp design but crafted from wood. The one shown here was cut from a cubic foot of solid oak, which was incredibly hard to work with – not only because it’s very heavy, especially when it’s spinning around on a lathe, but also because it needs to dry out slowly so it doesn’t crack so badly that it falls apart.

It wasn’t an easy project, but I remember arriving home to visit dad, and it was all finished, presented in the shed with a tablecloth backdrop and ready to be illuminated. It was a memorable moment.

A great bag is like a supportive companion that follows you everywhere and shares adventures and memories with you. Is there a special and memorable bag that has followed you at some point through life? Tell us about the most treasured bag you ever owned and what made it so special.
I have actually been a Mismo fan for many years! I love the Mismo tote bags, they’re great for trips around town, cycling to the studio, or carrying some shopping. The ‘Mate’ leather bag is my new everyday favourite. I have also had many Monocle totes through the years, they come free with the magazine subscriptions – they’re very handy because they have pockets inside, and are very robust. They always end up filled with sand from holidays, travel tickets and happy memories like that.
If you had to choose one song to play every time you walked into a room for the rest of your life, what song would you choose and why?
So, this is probably the most difficult question. Alongside having a passion for design, I am a bit of an audiophile and have been passionate about music since being a teenager. My friends and I used to be keen DJs, producers, and promoters (although we never took it too seriously!) and music has always been a backdrop to life. Every holiday is fuelled with a new playlist, and every day and evening at home is animated with music. I like lots of genres but I’m a minimalist at heart – so whether it’s jazz, folk, electronica or soul, I tend to like anything that’s quieter, simpler, and originates a new idea. An album that has somehow been a backbone to every Saturday morning, and one that I never tire of, is Pink Moon by Nick Drake. If pushed, I would have to choose the last track here – ‘From the Morning’. It’s a beautiful song and I love the messages within it.
What does the future hold for you? Any plans you can share with us?
Firstly, to enjoy life by being present! Life is busy, I have a role as a director of a brand innovation studio here in London – we build brands and design experiences that are purposeful, inspiring and helpful for lots of brilliant, international and leading clients in retail, service and culture. Related to this, I’m interested in how creative direction, curation and thoughtful design can inspire better daily life and experiences at home. I have been exploring this idea with my instagram feed @consideredthings. It started as a passion project to document life at home; shaping and sharing the
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