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09 Nov - Interviews

Conversing With Interior Designer Rui Ribeiro

Drummonds had the pleasure of interviewing Rui Ribeiro an Interior Designer listed in the House & Garden Top 100 Interior Designers with studios in London and Lisbon who gave us an insight into the world of texture and material based design.

Born in Angola and raised in Portugal, Rui moved to London in 1992 to study interior design at London Guildhall University. In addition to his studio in London, in 2019 Rui will launch a new flagship gallery in Lisbon to showcase his new limited edition and one-off furniture pieces.


“Do you have a style?” we ask him, Rui laughs and replies “I’m not the best person to answer that question”. If you follow Rui’s Instagram and explore a little of his website, there is evidently a flair and use of darker colors and a palette of textures that with just by looking, you can feel.

As Rui sits in our Kings Road showroom, he is impeccably dressed in an ivory turtleneck with a textured knit! “Well, I tend to respond to the architecture and the location of each property, that’s really important to me,” he tells us, which we can also agree is an important component in interior design and is recurring with great designers, such as Rui.

There is a delightful modest and allure to Rui, “We are not about shiny, bling interiors. I do like shiny surfaces, but I use them in subtle ways.”  We ask Rui if its ‘Soft, Subtle and Moody’ he interjects:“ yes but also Textured.”

Rui, though now a softly spoken and intricate interior designer didn’t initially intend to be in the field of interiors.

In his early twenties, he was enlisted in compulsory military service, which was mandatory for all men in Portugal, making Rui’s year the last to participate on a compulsory basis. “I have some good memories, I had no interior design interest then, that was until I came here.”

He studied in London for 4 years after one of his cousins was going to do an interior design course. He then attended an open day. “ I thought to myself, I can do this.” Rui then worked at one the largest architectural firms in the world. 11 years ago he opened his own company ‘Rui Ribeiro Studio’.

“I’m obsessed with materials and finishes“ many of Rui’s clients and visitors that go to his studio bring texture up. He runs his hands along our meeting table and says “I love the curvature of the edge and to feel the texture of the surface” .

The locations of Rui’s projects has varied  “For the first 5 years, yes mostly London based but now we go wherever our clients take us” with recent projects being implemented in the US and Middle East.

One of the unique features of Rui’s interiors projects is that he is involved in the high-end design of office spaces as well as homes “We have completed three boutique offices in the last five years varying in size and scope , I call them boutique offices because they are working spaces that are an ‘extension’ of our clients private home” Rui takes into account the image each client wants to project, their work, personality and obviously the practical requirements. “In the end, the clients’ offices, tend to be different to their homes.”

We asked Rui if his home is anywhere close in design to that of his clients, he laughs and says: “My home is very personal to me and my partner and not like my clients homes at all,  also because I don’t’ have my clients budgets!”


Rui Ribeiro Studio also collaborates with international luxury brands to produce special editions of Furniture, Lighting, and Accessories. “While we approach each project collaboratively with the same dedication and attention to detail from concept to completion, we also consult independently with makers to ensure precise and conscious design decisions are made at each phase of the manufacturing process in order to ensure a robust concept. ”


As the interview draws to a close Rui concludes that style develops with time “You end up having one, if not consciously” he leaves us with one final piece of wisdom “Taste develops with time.”