Wednesday, 09 September 2020 13:38

Meet the Designer: Alan Ellis

    Alan Ellis, Founder and Managing Director of Ellis Design Studio, has almost two decade’s experience as an Interior Designer. Ellis Design Studio – a firm that specialises in hospitality projects in the UK and internationally – was born from Alan’s desire to create beautifully detailed, perfectly formed interiors, which reflect the desires and aspirations of the client and work perfectly for those who use them. Here, we find out more about Alan and his design studio.

    Can you please provide us with a description of your professional career?
    My work has spanned luxury hotels, private members’ clubs, restaurants and bars, including experiential/competitive socialising venues, and has also included work on theatres, concert arenas and high-end retail projects.

    Projects the studio has worked on have received glowing reviews from the press, including national newspapers and coverage in several design magazines. A number of projects have been nominated for design awards in various industry sectors.

    What inspired you to become an interior designer?
    I’ve always had a passion for architecture, design, travel and history. Working as an Interior Designer allows me to explore all these interests and incorporate them within my work.

    Who has been your greatest source of inspiration throughout your career?
    I find myself inspired by a variety of different individuals from a range of creative fields – from artists and architects to fashion designers and fellow interior designers. I love the fierce expressiveness of American Artist Cy Twombly, and the conceptual, cerebral approach of Fashion Designer Alexander McQueen, as well as eccentricity individuals such as Iris Apfel. Each have in their individual style and approach.

    How do you approach your projects?
    Always with a sense of excitement, curiosity and a desire to create something beautiful, unique and perfectly suited to our client’s needs. My team and I spend a lot of time working with our clients to extract the best possible brief. After that, we spend considerable time researching and building a conceptual narrative around the brief. A sense of storytelling through design is an important aspect of the studio’s approach.

    Who is your favourite interior designer?
    In terms of designers, I admire the work of Eileen Gray. Although known more for her furniture and architectural work, her interiors were infused with her sense of adventure, rule-breaking decadence and glamour.

    Would you say that you have a design style?
    The studio works across a range of sectors; from bars, restaurants, private members’ clubs, hotels and performance venues, so the design style is typically shaped by the client’s brief and the most appropriate design response for the space. In terms of my design approach, I’m attracted to interiors with a mix of styles and influences – with a sense of eclecticism and layering. Interiors imbued with a story.

    What do you believe is the biggest challenge for today’s interior designers?
    In the immediate sense, I believe the biggest challenge is the critical issue of climate change and the impact of our actions on the planet.

    Our challenge as designers is to ensure there is an awareness of this fundamentally important issue and recognition of the need to take responsibility for the way in which designers design spaces. We need to ensure the choices we make during the design process are sustainable as well as beautiful.

    How has coronavirus made an impact on interior design?
    As we’ve seen over recent months, coronavirus has had an impact on almost every aspect of the economy with potentially significant changes to how we live, work and socialise. These changes may prompt designers to fundamentally re-evaluate the essence of how shared social and workspaces are designed, experienced and most importantly, how they’re enjoyed.

    I believe that as humans are inherently social animals, our desire to find a way to congregate and socialise will prompt us to adjust and adapt to put us back on track.

    What has been your biggest accomplishment to date?
    Setting up my own studio with a great team of talented designers and delivering a range of exciting projects has been an amazing experience and a great accomplishment.

    What has been your most notable project?
    Electric Shuffle in Canary Wharf, which opened last November was a fantastic project to work on. It’s great to see it being recognised in the press and shortlisted for design awards.

    Electric Shuffle delivers a contemporary, experiential reimagining of the classic game of shuffleboard within a beautifully designed, conceptual space. The 9000ft2 venue, in the heart of Canary Wharf, is set over two floors and comprises 10 play spaces and two bars.

    As part of the brief, the game of shuffleboard has been redesigned and ‘electrified’; therefore, the studio took inspiration from the pioneers of electrical technology, in particular the work of Nikola Tesla. The studio created an interior which fuses references of the past and entwines them with cutting-edge gaming technology to form an engaging and original, contemporary, multi-layered scheme.

    Have you witnessed any recurring requests from your clients?
    Clients in the hospitality industry typically want individuality, durability, sustainability, adaptability, and most importantly, desirability within any scheme we’re asked to produce.

    Do you have a preferred colour palette you enjoy working with?
    We tend to work across a broad range of colour palettes as our job is to work with the client to bring to life a venue which is not only beautifully designed but also perfectly aligned with their brand’s aspirations.

    What advice would you offer to those that are considering a career in interior design?
    Work hard, be detail-focused, never lose your curiosity, be bold, be playful and always trust your instincts.

    What do you believe is the biggest challenge for newly qualified interior designers?
    At present, the slowdown of the economy due to coronavirus poses the biggest challenge to us all and; in particular, to newly qualified designers looking to start their careers. However, hopefully, this situation will soon pass, and we’ll all get back to potentially a ‘new normal’, which will undoubtedly translate into opportunities for graduate designers.

    Do you have any favourite suppliers for your interior schemes?
    We like Amron for their beautiful metal meshes, Lincrusta for their stunning textured wallpapers, Pierre Frey for their luxurious fabrics and Solus Ceramics for their extensive and varied range of tiles.

    What can we expect to see from you over the next year?
    Despite the challenges experienced by everyone in 2020, we’re working on the design for a new flagship bar venue in Central London as well as some other hospitality projects we have in the pipeline. Stay tuned!

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