An interview with Tricia Guild OBE, founder and creative director of Designers Guild


The founder and creative director of Designers Guild has been at the forefront of the British interiors scene for nearly five decades


Photography James Merrell

How has your style evolved over the years?

I have always had an interest in the contemporary, and I think my style has become more modern as time has gone by. What has remained constant over the years, though, is my passion for putting different elements together to create something new.

Who or what are your biggest influences?

Art, architecture, fashion, nature, travel, theatre, different cultures, different landscapes, different ways of living… the list goes on!

Who is your design hero?

The late and truly great painter Howard Hodgkin had the most extraordinary ability in his handling of colour. Colour was a language for Howard and he relayed it effortlessly. His work will always move me.

What is your favourite building?

I am fortunate that my work allows me to travel often; it has taken me to some truly remarkable and beautiful places over the years, all of which, in their own way, have informed my consciousness in that moment.

A moodboard brings together flowers, crockery and fabric in harmonious shades of blue and green

One place that particularly stands out, though, is the Samode Palace in Rajasthan.

Every room is covered with the most exquisite painted decoration in white, indigo, turquoise and other blues.

It is astounding to find all this inspiration and wonderful architecture in one place – such devotion to detail and quality workmanship is a special rarity.

I’m always utterly enamoured of I.M. Pei’s work too; his architecture is extraordinary – minimal and gracious with a quiet profundity.

What makes a home?

A home to me is a place where one’s essence can shine.

I think this comes through all those final little details, such as mementos that you’ve collected over the years, along with colours, textures and patterns that make you happy.

What is your home like?

It’s a curated, confident and contemporary exploration of colour, pattern, texture, form and shape – with lots of gorgeous flowers, of course.

Describe your dream home

That would be my house in Umbria. I escape to it whenever I can. It is filled with light and some of my favourite colour palettes – blossom pinks and lilac, jade and cobalt blue. Every shade was chosen to achieve total harmony between the house, the gardens and the landscape beyond.

How do you relax?

With a simple home-cooked meal for family and friends.

Which iconic interior product do you wish you’d designed?

Probably Harry Bertoia’s Bird chair from 1952 – we’ve used it in so many of our shoots, upholstered in Designers Guild fabric.

How do you invest in yourself?

I’ve always believed that the biggest luxury in life is travel. It reinvigorates you and allows you to reinvent yourself.

The terrace of Guild’s home in Umbria – what better spot for a lazy alfresco lunch

Luxury is…

Quality, style and a sense of timelessness.

What’s the one luxury item you’d really like to have?

I used to have some vintage Louis Vuitton luggage cases, but they were lost on a trip years ago. They were totally impractical but so iconic. I’d love to have them back.

What are you sitting on right now?

One of Designers Guild’s new chairs, the Prague armchair.

What would you say is Scotland’s greatest attribute?

I love the rousing palette of the Scottish Highlands and all that it conjures for the senses. I’m thinking of the brooding darkness of fading bracken and ancient stone – richly textured hues that evoke misty mornings, the smoky smell of peat res and the warm embrace of naturally dyed tweeds. I love the seasons in Scotland too, when the soft bottle greens and whites of summer grasses and daisies gradually morph into an astonishing carpet of amethyst and mulberry heathers come autumn.

Tricia Guild: In My View, by Tricia Guild with Amanda Back, is out now (£45, Merrell Publishers)

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