The Interiors Monologues - Ashley Hicks
The greatest designers of the century talk about Interiors: The Greatest Rooms of the Century
The London home of Ashley Hicks is situated in the Albany, a tree lined, prestigious apartment complex tucked discreetly off Piccadilly, which, over the past two centuries, has been home to the likes of Lord Byron, J. B. Priestly, Aldous Huxley and Edward de Bono. Inherited from his interior-designer father, David Nightingale Hicks, Ashley Hicks’ interior is a playful mixture of his father’s bold, eclectic style and his own modern and anachronistic sensibilities.
As we relate in our new book, Interiors: The Greatest Rooms of the Century, with the exception of Ashley’s grandmother’s Louis XVI sofa, which he upholstered in a fabric of his own design, little remains from David’s original interior. Where David preferred antiques and museum pieces, expertly arranged on tables and plinths, Ashley has opted for contemporary, colourful objects, often produced by his own hand, such as giant cast-resin gems stacked into towers; a gilded hand-carved pine table; obelisks in bright colours or covered with photocopies of jewel-tone onyx that reference austere, subtler versions that featured his father’s original design.
His work on his London home is featured in our new book, Interiors: The Greatest Rooms of the Century, which highlights 400 of the world's best living spaces created by over 300 of the most influential people in interior design. (In keeping with such a mammoth and ground breaking undertaking we decided to make it available in four different color cover choices.)
Ashley’s hand can further be seen in sepia murals depicting, as is the case in the living room, Constantinople in 1818, overlaid with ceremonial antique Roman pendants and surmounted by likenesses of the chickens Ashley keeps at his Oxfordshire home—a typical appropriation, as he puts it, “of layers of history, with a modern pizzazz.”
Hicks was born in 1963 and trained at the Architectural Association in London. He worked briefly for his father before starting his own design practice.
We asked Ashley about the interior in our book that inspired him the most; what it means to be featured in Interiors: The Greatest Rooms of the Century and what is the most important aspect of a room that aesthetically-minded buyers of the book can focus on. And, of course, we obviously had to ask him where in his own home he'll be placing his own copy of Interiors.
Couturière Jeanne Lanvin’s bedroom is my favourite room in the book. It's by Armand-Albert Rateau the genius designer who did everything for her - all her private and commercial interiors, perfume bottles, logo. He was such an incredible talent, and evolved an entire visual language mixing Assyrian forms with animal motifs, with a whole complex of workshops producing every tiny detail from embroidery and wood carving to bronze-cast furniture. A real hero of mine.
I'm deeply flattered about being included in the book - especially as I’m in it facing my father, who is genuinely one of the greatest, which I’m really far from being.
For me, comfort is very important. I need a really good sofa that I can lie on to read and watch TV. What can anyone do to make their rooms better? Make them personal. Avoid copying stuff from magazines, avoid banality and neutral, insipid, frigid white minimalism, instead make it personal, take a risk or two, enjoy yourself.
Oversized and available in four collectable velvet covers to decorate any space in style, we wondered what colour cover of Interiors: The Greatest Rooms of the Century David will be choosing.
The yellow version will look great with the golden yellow curtains behind the coffee table in my room pictured above and in the book.
Take a look for yourself and choose your own version of Interiors: The Greatest Rooms of the Century here. And check back in the coming days for our next interview with a designer from the book. Meanwhile, you can see more of Ashley Hicks's beautiful work at his website here.