INTERVIEW WITH MANAGER VICTOR BORELLY

CULTURES & INTERIOR DESIGN TODAY

24 June 2019

Originally from the French city of Lyon (known for its historical and architectural landmarks), Victor’s passion for architecture and design was developed in childhood. This passion was further cemented through living in some of the world’s most prestigious cities, including São Paulo, Montreal, Paris and Sydney. Victor continues to take creative inspiration from these experiences and coupled with his business background, joined Markus Interiors to contribute to their expansion into the UK market.

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF HIGH-END INTERIOR DESIGN TODAY?

It is all about perfection. It starts from the design concept itself and its practicality. It then follows the impact of craftsmanship quality, the furniture selection and the finesse of details. You always need to strive to achieve a delightful harmony between the environment, the client’s culture and the architectural and interior design elements.

Foal skin wall covering & oriental pendant for Arabic lounge. Discover our projects here.

HOW BIG IS IT IN LONDON AND WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES FOR DESIGNERS?

Interior design here is a really big thing! London is a centre point, attracting global HNWI/UHNWI (High Net Worth Individuals) coming for business and the lifestyle of the city. As a result, high-end interior design is of great interest to many prime property owners, investors and developers.

Challenges are numerous, competition is high, trends change very quickly, exposure is exponentially increasing, and people are becoming more and more knowledgeable and discerning. I think the main challenge for London’s high-end interior designers is to offer the “wow-factor” and to deliver exclusiveness in every aspect.

WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF LONDON’S DIFFERENT CULTURES ON HIGH END INTERIOR DESIGN?

Cultures have always been impacting design. Each culture has its own unique and legitimate characteristics that influence creation and its aesthetics. This is an exciting challenge which pushes interior designers to continuously innovate in their creation.

More recently, globalisation has led to important new trends resulting from a fusion of cultures. Personally, I love it and I think these collaborative influences between London’s different cultures plays an important role in the exciting evolvement in design and creates exotic ambiances we have never seen before.

Chic living room with oriental touch for Middle-Eastern family. Discover our projects here.

HOW CAN WE MARRY BOTH INTERIOR DESIGN AND CULTURE PERFECTLY? WHAT IS THE CHALLENGE?

First of all, knowing and understanding the culture is key before conceptualising any design. Indeed, an interior design that delights should have the power to reflect the client’s culture and capture their spirit to deliver unique and authentic results.

Good knowledge of a culture’s history, heritage and values are extremely helpful to successfully create an interior design that resonates with the client and their world.


WHICH CULTURES ARE THE MOST PRESENT IN LONDON AT THE MOMENT?

London is one of the most dynamic and culturally diverse cities in the world. It generates a strong attraction to people from all backgrounds, irrespective of the current political and economic situations. Luxury lifestyle is growing and evolving more than ever, and we see a concentration of Middle Eastern, Asian and American affluent individuals and families investing or living in London. According to Knight Frank Middle East’s Wealth Intelligence team, real estate remains a significant wealth preservation asset class. Middle Eastern investors have been longstanding players in the global real estate markets, particularly in the UK.

WHAT ARE THEIR MAIN CHARACTERISTICS?

It is a well-known perception that Middle Eastern people are brand conscious and love spending money on luxury brands. Buying is very social in their culture and they like to negotiate their purchase or investment, especially when it is a long-term item or project. A funny fact is that they also appreciate touching things before they buy. As religion is a very important part of life for many Middle Eastern people, it is often essential to genuinely integrate it in a design project.

Traditional hand-made textile from Morocco. Discover our projects here.

WHAT ABOUT IN SWITZERLAND?

Switzerland is cosmopolitan, especially in Geneva and Zurich. This is mostly thanks to its international institutions, the security and high-quality lifestyle. However, as these cities are much smaller than London, the impact of culture is less important. Swiss citizens are different, they like minimalist and functional design. Despite its economic strength and stability, it’s still a traditional country and a ‘showing-off’ culture isn’t really appreciated there. Switzerland’s shift in habits and design is noticeably slower than in the UK but I think it is going to change in the future.

Contemporary apartment in the Valais, Switzerland. Discover our projects here.

WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ON THE INTERIOR DESIGN TRENDS OF TODAY?

I see more and more interesting cultural mixes in today’s design that defy all styles. Affluent individuals appear to favour top-end contemporary design to other traditional styles, which seem to be more advantageous currently for future sales. I am also fascinated about intelligent home atomisation, which is now a must for high-end homeowners. Its introduction and development within our homes has truly ignited a new design era. Living experience is being elevated to a level that pushes designers to innovate again and again. Finally, I would say these trends are no longer just trends. They have become legitimate standards in this range of the market and not adopting them can affect the value of the property in a city like London.

Interior design trends can be beautiful, inspiring and very valuable to a client, especially if their main purpose is to invest and sell. However, what truly makes an interior design special is when the home-owners personality can be subtly sensed. I think nowadays, most properties are losing their character and authenticity for the sake of mainstream high-end design. Prime properties’ interiors are very similar from one to another and look more like advertising assets than personalised residential spaces.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE IN COMMISSIONING A BOUTIQUE STUDIO COMPARED TO A BIG ONE?

The designer and his team are fully devoted to the client and are committed to the project from A to Z. The relationship is therefore much more personal, which enables tailor-made designs and a high-quality of service for the client. Tailor-made design is also a synonym for ‘good value design’, as economy of scale can be performed to reduce the client’s expenses. Moreover, boutique studios have much less exposure on social medias and can keep their client’s privacy and discretion.

Big studios have a big name, larger teams and are much more business-driven. They can accommodate many projects at the same time, but the main designer’s participation is not ensured for each of them. For brand image purposes, pre-made design-patterns are more likely to be proposed. It might not always result in completely bespoke schemes but can be realised in less time than a smaller studio can provide. Privacy can also be an issue with increasing digital exposure on social media. Lastly, large recognised design studios can expect and demand significantly high prices for their work, especially in London.

WHERE DOES MARKUS INTERIORS FIT INTO THIS AND HOW DO YOU THINK THEY ARE ABLE TO DELIVER FOR CLIENTS?

We are a multicultural small team with significant international experience, speaking a total of six different languages: English, French, German, Portuguese, Italian and Spanish.
We have successfully completed design projects in many different countries in Europe and further afield. We have worked with clients from many different cultures, such as Europe, The Middle East and North and South America.

We have excellent knowledge of and a good working relationship with some of the best furniture markers, offering specific design for a specific type of clientele. We pride ourselves on building close a relationship with our clients to perfectly match their tastes, desires and requirements to the characteristics of their properties.

CAN YOU SHARE AN EXAMPLE WITH US?

Of course! One of our past projects illustrates perfectly how the client’s culture is reflected in the interior design. This project was realised in Vienna for a Russian client who had a fine taste for contemporary style but also liked opulent design. Our mission was to find a way to find a design that would perfectly harmonise both preferences.

To achieve this, we proposed large living spaces with imposing elements, garnished with golden ornaments and refined pieces of furniture and decoration. Getting to really seize the clients’ tastes and expectations was an essential part of this project. Once the design concept was approved, we fine-tuned the remaining finishing touches from the selection of furniture and lighting to the concept elements of decoration. We sourced absolutely everything from the slippers to the towels.

Discover the Golden House project

If you would like to discuss your project with us, please get in touch with our team and we would be delighted to talk to you.

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