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2 May — Interviews

Interview | 10 Minutes with Tommy Bendall Lawrence

How would you describe your signature style?
This is a hard question to answer in so few words, I think my sense of style is always evolving and changing but I guess that I always have a sense of History – an eye on the properties architecture. I’m into restoring original features and colour pallets of particular historical periods – I read a lot of history, it’s my not so secret passion.  I like a star piece, one or several items that grab your attention – something that leaves a lasting impression in a room that you’ll remember later on even when you aren’t in that room anymore.  Lastly I like to bend my own rules – the best designers always bend their own rules I think – basically I like to make an impression.


Who are your favourite designers?
I love Tom Dixon’s lighting and furniture – I used to work at Habitat when he was there and I respect him a lot. I have a thing for mid-century modern design and I think his work has a lot of interpretation from that era.  I grew up with the architecture of Sir Richard Rogers, Lord Foster and Sir Michael Hopkins – I love the English architectural heritage of giant glass structures from the Crystal Palace by Joseph Paxton in the mid-1800s and the never complete Great Victoria Way up to the British invention of plate glass that allowed giant sky scrapers of glass to be built across the world, including 30 St. Mary Axe & 122 Leadenhall Street.  As an East-ender I’ve seen these buildings come up and these Architects have made London what it is.  I’m also a big fan of Nicholas Hawksmoor and his English Baroque style, London wouldn’t be the city it is without his Iconic churches and monumental buildings dotted about the City.  I always feel I’m home when I see the giant monoliths of Stone and Glass of my Architectural heroes.

Source: Woont

What do you like most about your job?
I like helping someone create their perfect relaxation space.  Bathrooms are a modern convention and I think only in the last 15 years have we started to see them not just as rooms for cleansing ourselves but also our minds too.  Helping someone realise this can be very rewarding and sometimes challenging which makes it all the more sweet.


What’s the hardest part?
Not being able to enjoy it yourself I guess.  Sometimes you’ll be drawing out a bathroom layout, and imagining the space.  But you’ll never be able to draw a bath yourself or enjoy the space, so I can enjoy it but only in my imagination, which is fine but sometimes you just wish you could try – just once.


If you were to own just one design classic piece what would you choose?
Actually I recently purchased (and then re-sold!) a Habitat chair I’ve always wanted.  They released a Chair by Philip Treacy in their Very Important Products range whilst I worked for them, and I have always wanted to own one.  They’re very rare but I managed to find one on eBay.  My home is full of classic pieces – mostly mid-century – that I am constantly selling off and replacing.  I think next I want Eero Saarinen Tulip table and chairs to replace some of my G-Plan furniture. I like to change it up, and find a lot of classic pieces in Hackney and online.

What inspires you most?
My family, my parents worked hard all their lives and I think I get a lot of my work ethic from them.  My Husband also inspires me he is a photographer and his approach to work inspires me also.


Where’s your favourite place to be?
It would have to be the UK – Summer, surrounded by friends, with my Husband and dog sitting in Victoria Park, or London Fields near my home sipping a Pimms having a picnic and watching the world go by.


What is your most treasured possession?
My Dog Buddy- he’s not really a possession but he is a very important character in my life.  I treasure him.


If you had a time machine, what period of design would you like to live in?
I’d love to see London before the Embankment and when Old London Bridge had houses on it – probably during the Restoration and reign of Charles II. I’d have to stop off in the 1950s on the way though.


Complete this sentence – home is…
Where the story begins.

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