Adriel Lack and Rae Underhill, aka Raven & Lack, took me on a tour of their latest project and discussed the merits of being two Australians on London’s interior design scene.
Can you tell me a bit about the property?
This is a 650 sq ft, one bedroom apartment. It is on the ground floor with a gorgeous indoor / outdoor garden space
Who was your client for this project and did you have a potential end user in mind?
The client is the property developer St George, part of The Berkeley Group.
The intended buyer profile is: Young professionals both local and international – lifestyle driven and attracted to the luxury offering of the surrounding area and to the sense of community that the Chelsea Creek development provides.
These are creative and entrepreneurial minded buyers who focus on work, travel and value the concierge service provided. They are interested in health and well-being and are generally active and fitness focused.
What was your starting point for the interior?
Initially we drew inspiration from the architectural influences of the building which was inspired by European waterfront living – namely Amsterdam and Copenhagen’s famous canal-side architecture.
From here we developed design principles specifically for the project. The first was focussing in on the furniture selections, inspired by the De Stijl Movement and focussed on natural form and colour.
The second looked at light and reflection, referencing the unique waterfront location and influencing the material palette selections.
The third design principle honed in on the detailing, with a focus on geometry and proportion.
How did you decide on the colour palette?
We opted for a stylish monochromatic palette as we felt this created a timeless interior that complimented the waterfront backdrop and tree lined promenades. We wanted to create a tranquil and relaxing home with light, soft interior.
We chose subtle finishes that reflect light as the basis of the palette and as a direct reference to the unique waterside location. Luxurious liquid metal finishes were introduced to provide an up-lift of specialist finishes to the base build.
We created a juxtaposition of matt and gloss materials throughout to create contrast and interest to the relationship of materials. And introduced luxurious hand-woven fabrics to create a layer of texture and signify quality.
Did you specify any bespoke pieces for the project?
Almost all of the furniture in the apartment is bespoke.
The timber shelving that wraps around to the sofa serves as a cerebral barrier to the dining and kitchen spaces. This is important with buyers potentially using this space to work from home as it gives clear delineation between the working or dining vs relaxation spaces in the home. It also serves as an additional ‘moment’ for dressing the space with books and accessories.
The banquette in the dining room is bespoke – the design was tweaked specifically to ensure the seating was comfortable enough to spend the day working from it or to spend a long lazy evening entertaining guest.
The master bedhead was designed specifically for the space. It has heavily textured curved details and bespoke metal clasps with integrated bedside lighting.
What is your favourite design feature?
The TV joinery which was inspired by the De Stijl movement; the Mondrian ‘golden mean’ inspired rectilinear hand carved timber finish to the front and sides of the cabinet, the metal detailing to the display shelving, and the exceptionally rare Jurassic White stone top.
Tell me a bit about yourselves, where did you meet and when did you start working together?
We met in Australia at a multi-disciplinary architecture practice, we both moved to London, rising through the ranks of London’s super prime interior design firms.
By 2017 Adriel had become a Design Director of 1508 and Rae had started a small boutique design firm, however by 2019 that firm had grown so much that Rae asked Adriel to join forces to scale the business and Raven & Lack was born.
How have two Australian designers been able to create such major momentum in London’s design scene?
We both have the same drive and passion for all things art and design, and we love to collaborate with talented people both internal and external to R&L. We have been told that our Australian background and our approach comes across as down to earth and hardworking, so clients, suppliers, and building teams find us fun and easy to work with.
What lessons have you brought with you from down under?
We really appreciate any outdoor space and therefore try to seamlessly integrate them into living spaces, whether it be a small Juliette balcony with a window box or gorgeous garden. Planting and greenery adds life to your interiors and well-designed seating will extend your useable areas substantially.
Work hard, put in the hours, pay your dues, and you can end up anywhere!
What do they think the future will hold design wise now that lockdown restrictions are being lifted?
Hopefully, it means a fast return to visiting showrooms and exposure to a new world of exciting and fresh finishes / fabrics/ furniture and ideas. We are definitely feeling the lack of contact with our broad network of suppliers so we cannot wait to re-connect and get back out there!
What’s next for the Raven & Lack studio?
We have some big projects launching later in the year, incredible world class properties, but these are super confidential so watch this space!!
We are also developing a bespoke furniture line of our most coveted furniture and decorative lighting designs. This will be launching in the third quarter this year.
You can visit the raven & Lack website here