With its heady mix of independent ateliers, high-end furniture makers, galleries and antiques dealers, the Pimlico Road Design District offers so much more than the sum of its parts. For discerning shoppers looking to beautify their homes, it is a unique destination in which you could happily lose an entire day popping in and out of studios, chatting to designer-makers and finding that can’t-live-without objet d’art you never knew you wanted. Ali Howard delves under the veneer of the Pimlico Road Design District and meets some of its hottest new faces.
Located in the heart of Belgravia on Grosvenor’s London estate, the area is steeped in history and carries a reputation as one of the capital’s best-loved creative hubs.
Perhaps its biggest claim to fame, further validating its arts credentials, is that an eight-year-old Mozart wrote his first symphony here in 1764. The composer still stands in the form of a statue on Orange Square overlooking the vibrant streets below, which have, over the years, seen more and more inspired openings.
Relative new kids on the block, PINCH, set up shop on the corner of Bourne Street in 2017 having been long admirers of their friends at Howe, which has been a stalwart of the area since 1986.
“Through the lens of our neighbours we are contemporary,” says co-founder Oona Bannon. “Our starting point is classicism but we bring architectural rigour to the shapes.”
Indeed, PINCH is responsible for giving the design quarter an injection of clean lines and Scandi cool and it’s this juxtaposition of old and new that only adds to the area’s eclectic charm.
“Maybe stylistically we’re not immediately united though I have to say, sometimes I look at our neighbours, particularly the antiques lot, and I think, my god, your beautiful Viennese 1800s mirror would look incredible with my contemporary Goddard sofa. I love that mashup.” Oona speaks very fondly of this arts and crafts neighbourhood, describing it humerously as an ‘anti-retail retail area’.
“It’s not about drawing customers in and convincing them to spend their money no matter what. It’s about people coming in of their own accord to find something perfect that will last them, because the necessities of our world mean that we all need to be buying less and buying better,” she attests.
Other newcomers include Cox London, who make exquisite sculptural pieces for the home; Ochre, a contemporary
lighting and furniture brand with a Pimlico Road pop-up that is about to find a permanent home here; and Fermoie, whose luxurious printed fabrics hark back to the traditional woven textiles of yesteryear.
“Our Pimlico Road showroom is our window to the world” enthuses Fermoie co-founder Martin Ephson. “We’re convinced the stunning location will help raise our growing international presence and introduce Fermoie to many new customers”.
For Geoff Collier, founder of Collier Webb, being part of the illustrious design quarter undoubtedly elevates the brand. “It’s a great opportunity to be in a location that’s internationally renowned,” he says. “People come from all over the world. With the designers here, we can really show, from conception through to completion, each stage of a product. These days, people are as interested in how things are made as the way that they look.”
To the old-school, Pimlico Road is synonymous with antiques shops and veteran interiors brands. The likes of Linley, Soane Britain and Howe all boast 20th century roots here. But a with new breed of craftsmen and women being wholeheartedly welcomed, and a new type of consumer that is deeply interested in the stories behind their purchases, the design district is as dynamic and progressive as ever.
“There’s a lot of institution,” says Oona. “I think that’s just wonderful because it has kept a certain standard and level of expectation, as well as building a strong foundation for a creative community. And what is so amazing is that here you get to meet the individuals behind the work. Believe me, they’re not only individuals but real characters.”