Areen Design has over 35 years of experience in delivering exceptional Interior Design and cost-effective Procurement solutions to an international client base. The team at Areen Design have kept busy during the pandemic and have updated The Areen Design Library; the very heart of their business. Design Insider speaks with Jo Payling, Associate FF&E at Areen Design to find out more about the Library for our readers…
Please can you introduce yourself and your role at Areen Design?
Jo Payling, Associate FF&E at Areen Design.
35 years in the industry has taken me from decorating show homes in the East Midlands to designing and furnishing some of the most luxurious multi-million-pound residences in the world. Working in FF&E means being surrounded by fabrics and finishes, from the most traditional styles and materials through to pioneering, sustainable solutions.
Can you summarise Areen Design and what you do?
We are an international design consultancy, working in interior design and procurement management, which means the scope of an FF&E designer is very broad, from concept, through development; working collaboratively with manufacturers and suppliers, and with our in house procurement team to ensure that first spark of an idea still shines through in the delivered space. As a company, we work across all sectors, with expertise in Residential, Hospitality, Aviation and Commercial design. We’ve been delivering luxury projects around the world for over 35 years.
The FF&E team that I manage focusses on luxury residential properties. We’re highly skilled at sourcing and commissioning individual artists and artisans to produce bespoke furniture, special fabrics, carpets, decorative lighting and accessories, and curating artwork and sculpture, individually or at scale.
When clients open the front door, their property is fully installed, from an embroidered cushion to a walk-in humidor and even shampoo in the shower.
Please tell our readers about your Library?
It’s funny, isn’t it; how something as mundane as a library can be so fundamental to success. The Areen Design library has always been at the heart of our business. It’s a social space. Not only the place to meet new suppliers and house their samples but also, a place of creativity and theatre to develop and showcase schemes for clients. It’s now over 300 sqm, housing the full gamut of materials and finishes.
What inspired you to renew the library?
Renew is a great word. And Covid was the impetus (not the inspiration!) When we all suddenly found ourselves locked down and working from home, we had to maintain our access to such a fundamental part of the design process, so we set about re-engineering the whole space to double its size – allowing us to socially distance, and still get in there and create.
To give you one example of the changes made. We’ve opened up the large fabric library and created space and natural light, and lots of hangers so that we can see actual lengths of fabrics rather than just sample books.
We’ve created work zones, for instance, a carpet section with hand-tufted and machine-made samples, specialist paint finishes and wallcoverings, ironmongery, the list is endless. And, finally, we liberated all of the wonderful bespoke materials that we’ve been squirrelling away in storage for years and put them out on display!
How do you determine what is included in the library, and what is not?
The Areen Design library is immense, but space is finite so, the strength of such an important asset lies in its careful stewardship to ensure the right breadth and depth of samples – fabrics, finishes, glass, mosaics, tiling, timbers, stones, etc. – from the classic to ultra-modern.
Digitisation has obviously become more important to us and downsizing the space allocated to catalogues, to be replaced with an improved digital reference library, has freed up room for vital physical samples.
What’s your favourite part of the library and why?
I don’t have a favourite part of the library, I prefer to think of the library as my favourite part of the place I work! It’s this amazing combination of materials and space: collaborative and contemplative, those in-between spaces that really spark creativity.
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