At this years BCFA’s Annual Luncheon held at the prestigious Dorchester Hotel, London, Mary Fox Linton was awarded the 2015 Panaz/ BCFA Lifetime Achievement Award for her services to the contract design. The award was presented by Tony Attard OBE who commented that he was delighted to present the award to such a design enthusiast.
Here is a little information about Mary…
Mary founded Fox Linton Associates in the late seventies and remained the head consultant to the highly renowned practice with a studio based in London until 2014. Their clients include prestigious UK and international hotels, spas, commercial spaces and private residences.
In the 1950’s Mary started her design studio under her own name working on large private houses both in the UK and abroad. Interior design scarcely existed as a profession in the 1950s when everything was traditional with brown furniture and overly frilly décor. Mary was never a fan of this look and favoured clean looks such as white walls and floors, geometric patterns and bold colour blocks. Not to say that Mary didn’t love antique furniture – she constantly searched for pieces that looked suitable for both modern and historic settings – it was reproduction furniture that didn’t appeal to her sense that ‘all things should be real’
She soon started to gain clients, usually Americans and Europeans who lived in London – the English people she knew at the time fell into the ‘traditional’ category, with little interest for contemporary art and architecture.
In the 1970’s Mary collaborated with friend and fellow interior designer David Hicks working on private houses all over the world as well as hotels and shops.
By the time she founded Fox Linton Associates her client base already included many eminent people from the world of royalty, politics, entertainment and the English aristocracy – a sophisticated elite – who preferred her architectural approach and contemporary style mixed with her appreciation and knowledge of the past.
The 1990s saw Mary’s rise into large-scale projects, in collaboration with hotelier Gordon Campbell Gray, she created the pioneering and award winning design of One Aldwych in London defining the aesthetic of 5 star boutique hotels globally, followed by Carlisle Bay Antigua and Le Gray Beirut.
Fox Linton Associates have since built a world class reputation for hotel design and the name is associated with some of the most iconic luxury hotels of recent times such as The Grove hotel Hertfordshire, Turnberry Scotland, The Dorchester Collection’s Coworth Park, The Caledonian Edinburgh and The Wellesley Hyde Park London.
But Mary is not only associated with the world of architecture design, some 35 years ago through her love of textiles she introduced Jim Thompson the Thai silk company to the interior design scene which are still sold at the Fox Linton Showroom at Chelsea harbour.
We sat down with Mary to reflect over her years in design and to see what she thought of receiving the award…
First off, what was your favourite decade of design? And why?
Probably the 1970’s as this is really when interior design became more contemporary and open minded. It started with fashion in the 60’s and then this carried over into interior design in the 70’s. People were more adventurous and more willing to experiment with their interiors which made it so much more fun and interesting. And of course challenging too.
I know it is probably hard to say, but do you have a favourite project you worked on?
That would have to be One Aldwych as it was very much the first of it’s kind in London.
Have you noticed a difference between when you started in Interior design to how the industry is now?
When I first started out, there was hardly anything to buy compared to what is available on the market today. Of course there was no internet available in those days and this has completely changed the industry.
And finally, what does the receiving the BCFA award mean to you?
The BCFA is without doubt one of the greatest furnishing organisations in existence today. I never thought that I would be the recipient of the BCFA Panaz Lifetime Achievement Award and I am truly honoured (and somewhat speechless!) to receive this award.
Thank you Mary for everything you have done in this industry, and shall carry on doing.
Mary follows previous esteemed winners of the award including Sir Terrence Conran, Rodney Fitch and Mrs Margaret Miller.