In conversation with: Arlene McIntyre

Arlene McIntyre is the founder of Ventura Design a one stop shop for all things interiors. She tells me about the latest collections and the benefits to interior designers of working with Ventura.

When did you start the business and why? I’ve been in the world of interiors for as long as I can remember, working in every corner of the industry over the years. Having this unique insight into the world of design, I developed a strong understanding of how it worked, what the demand was and where the gaps were in the sector.

In 2005 I knew I could create something special if I started out on my own and so Ventura Design was born. I grew up in California near Ventura Boulevard, so the studio was aptly named after the place I spent many happy years of my youth.

With Ventura, we wanted to create a one stop shop for all things interiors. We know how to create beautiful inspiring spaces, but it goes beyond that. We knew that to give us the edge, we had to be in control of every stage of the design process by manufacturing our own furniture. We therefore invested heavily in artisan craftsmen and our own workshop facilities in Europe to allow us to offer a truly bespoke service.

Arlene – her Irish American upbringing has impacted her style

What influence does your Irish background have on the brand?

The fusion of my Irish and American upbringing certainly impacted my personal style and the way we approach projects at Ventura. In America, design predominantly centres around open plan living, utilising natural light and clever techniques to give the impression of capacious interiors. Comparatively, despite having an abundance of charm, Irish homes often featured lots of small rooms without real function, giving layouts that were not conducive to open, family living. We’ve been able to combine the two styles to create something unique, designing spaces that look and function exceptionally. 

Can you describe the Ventura style?

The Ventura Design style is classic contemporary. We don’t focus on trends and are not guided by what is ‘in’ for any given season. We work hard to deliver timeless interiors that don’t age but are filled with investment pieces and designed for comfort.

Penthouse furnished by Ventura Design
Penthouse apartment furnished by Ventura

Why should interior designers consider working with Ventura?

Ventura Design offers interior designers something unique. When we say we offer a bespoke service, we truly mean it. 70% of everything we put in any project is hand-made entirely by our own team of 50 master craftsmen. Unlike so many of our competitors who have to outsource joinery, upholstery or furniture-making for example, we are able to sort it all under one roof. This means designers can expect shorter lead times, more control over the design process and the ability to create one-off pieces that precisely fit the specifications of each project.

Given everything is made in Europe by our large production teams, we have the capacity to do volume. This allows us to work across multiple sectors and projects at any one time. From luxury residential and hospitality, to build-to-rent and show homes, we do it all.

B2B is a really important part of our business – yes we have a huge retail presence, but we can offer designers and studios something unique. We already work with a number of leading interior designers across Ireland and the UK and pride ourselves on delivering quality products with a genuine white-glove service. As we’re in the interior design business ourselves, we know the constraints, challenges and demands designers face; we are here to make their lives easier.

Bastion dining chair from Ventura Design
The new Bastion dining chair – designed for comfort

What is the latest addition to the collection?

We recently launched three new chairs as part of our new London Collection for Focus21 – the Bastion, Taylor and Luxe. The Luxe Armchair boasts a soft curve with column arm rests and deep seat padding, creating a comfortable stylish lounger. The Bastion Dining Chair has a softly curved frame, sloped padding and refined detailing, deliberately designed to give a statement silhouette. It is also intentionally wide for maximum comfort. The Taylor Chair has defined arm rests and a linear backrest surround for a comfortable, deep seat. Sleek and minimal, the Taylor is lower than traditional dining chairs in order to give a more streamlined dining table setting. All are available to view at our London showroom in the Design Centre Chelsea Harbour.

What is your favourite piece in the collection – old or new?

My favourite piece in the whole Ventura offering is the Cooper Ottoman – a round coffee table combined with footstall. We launched it last year and have seen such a positive response from clients. It is so versatile – functioning as both footstall and table – and the different design options available mean it can fit into any home.

What is your favourite possession?

My Bed! Life is hectic at the moment and there is no better feeling than coming home and finishing the day off well. It has a bespoke headboard and phenomenal mattress, which when coupled with some beautiful linen, feels like a big hug whenever you get in. 

Where would you like to travel once we are completely free to roam?

Portugal! We are opening a new Ventura showroom there in 2022, so I can’t wait to go out there and visit our new premises, meet the team and explore the local area.

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