Inside the WOW!house

WOW!house is Design Centre Chelsea Harbour’s first-ever designer showhouse and it’s a triumph

WOW!house opened last week and it is seriously impressive. There are 17 rooms to explore, created by some of the finest names in interior design. Each room has its own distinctive style from timeless elegance to globe-trotting fantasy and romance and the attention to detail is extraordinary – at the press launch last week I wasn’t the only journalist mouthing ‘Wow’ as I stepped from one beautiful setting into the next.

Step inside WOW!house, the facade was designed by architectural practice Mamou-Mani

Design Centre Chelsea Harbour’s CEO, Claire German, came up with the idea for Wow!house during lockdown. She says, “Our aim was to pioneer a sense of wonder, to amaze and inspire by showing the world what extraordinary achievements can be made when our talented industry comes together.”

Shalini Misra created the entrance foyer including a chandelier made from recycled plastic

This is the Design Centre’s most ambitious project to date, with the room sponsors and interior designers given free rein to interpret their room. The result includes a lavish Colefax & Fowler drawing room, Egyptian inspired salon by Linda Boronkay, quirky day room by Kit and Minnie Kemp and voluptuous bedroom by Rayman Boozer complete with dark salmon ceiling.

Colefax & fowler at WOW!house
The Colefax & Fowler drawing room, a vision in forest green velvet

The rooms are all different, but overall the house hangs together remarkably well. There are so many flourishes and clever details I would defy anyone to leave the house without several fresh design ideas.

Extraordinary detail in the second drawing room by Paolo Moschino

Beyond its goal to engage and inspire, the WOW!house project is also raising money for youth homelessness through a partnership with the charity Centrepoint. A portion of the price of every ticket will be donated to the charity. DCCH has also committed to a mentoring initiative to introduce young people to opportunities. Claire says, “There are all kinds of jobs and careers in this industry whether your talents lie in design or production, craft or logistics. And we want to play our part in providing homeless young people with a future, which is Centrepoint’s key mission.”

Bernie De Le Cuona worked with two UID apprentices to create this calming space

This is not the only principled collaboration taking place at WOW!house. The De Le Cuona living room, inspired by the principles of biophilic design, was created in collaboration with United in Design apprentices Roshu Shrestha and Christine Omorere. United in Design is a charitable organisation created to address the lack of diversity in the British interior design industry.

Immerse yourself in the Julian Chichester library, designed by Turner Pocock

I should also mention that this immersive experience (you can wander all round the rooms, no red velvet ropes to keep you out) is further enhanced by the Language of Spaces Suite, composed specifically for the project by sound artist Peter Adjaye. His aim was to ‘create a landscape for all the different rooms and designs to exist in a unified environment of many different influences,’ and it works. The whole house also smells really nice thanks to fragrances matched to each room by Dr Vranjes.

Brandon Schubert embraced pattern for the Morris & Co bedroom

WOW!house is open until the end of the month. Details of how to buy your ticket and book a timed slot are here.

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