Lawson Robb is part of the International Design Group Allect, consisting of luxury design houses Helen Green Design, Rigby & Rigby and Lawson Robb. Director – Head of Residential at Allect, Iain Johnson, delivers a Q&A with Clifton Property Partners – a conversation including Iain’s inspirations to the future of Allect.
Clifton Property Partners are prime London property specialists located in Mayfair and Prime Central London property specialists, responsible for selling, acquiring and advising on some of the most exclusive properties in London.
Why is London the greatest city in the world for you?
So much diversity, experience, history and culture – I travel extensively, and I can honestly say that for me there is nothing like the feeling of strolling around Mayfair on a brisk autumn morning.
What is your favourite building and why?
I have many but a true classic – Barcelona Pavilion by Mies van der Rohe, totally timeless.
Who is your greatest inspiration both personally and professionally?
On a macro scale – I have just read Shoe Dog by Phil Knight who was the creator of Nike. I have total respect for Steve Jobs, especially with his early influences and Sir Jonathan Paul on the way they got continuously knocked down and back up again to create one of the most outstanding companies in history. Personally, I work with some incredible people, we have some of the most outstanding and forward-thinking innovators, mentors and entrepreneurs in the Allect group.
You have produced some incredible interiors in your time, what has been your most challenging project?
We are always testing our capabilities; we are regarded as one of the very finest professional services teams in the industry and our research and in-depth analysis of product and solution make me extremely proud. We are currently producing one of London’s most complex new build private residences and we are excelling in the collection of prestigious awards from our multiple service lines. For example, the construction and projects division at Rigby & Rigby just got platinum exemplary rated for their activity on site. We are also looking to Well certification to respond to our client base which would be an extremely rare accreditation for a scheme of this calibre. It would be a privilege to be one of the first teams in the UK to provide this standard.
Which building (anywhere in the world) has the most inspiring interiors?
We have a project in Montenegro, and I was fortunate enough to go to the Aman in Sveti Stefan earlier this year – the luxury interiors there are understated chic and I was very impressed by what designer Marylou Thomson called ‘honest’. Very much my personal style and the comfort level was unbelievable.
In bringing together some of the most recognisable names in Interior design, has this enabled you to keep your designs fresh and progressive?
We have so many plans for the group so watch this space – the talent collection of Allect International Design Group alone is incredible, and we are always on the lookout for the best of the best to join us. Working with good people makes what is an extremely complex business easier. We are a super collaborative team, lots of energy and across the three brands that we run in Rigby & Rigby, Lawson Robb or Helen Green Design we have specialists in every single luxury component. Everyone is well read, super talented and comes to the table with dynamic ideas, so we are quite fortunate in this regard that everyone wants to push the boundaries and excel. We have recently ventured into marine design with two superyachts in the group. One yacht launches at Cannes next year and is a collaborative project between Rigby & Rigby and Lawson Robb. The other yacht launches in 2021 at Monaco Yacht Show and is being designed by Lawson Robb. We have also created a Studio. Lab product project which is launching soon – very exciting times ahead.
What or where would be your dream interior design commission?
Rigby & Rigby has just been appointed to act as a development manager on a private house project of 25,000 sq. ft in the heart of Tokyo, this is a dream opportunity for me personally as we are working with Kendo Kuma Associates in a country with a culture I dearly love.
Are there any plans to bring more design practices into the group?
We have harmonised a very sophisticated Allect platform now which is proving to be a success with our clients. We have a clear strategy that we are following but are still opportunistic so let’s see what happens!
For consistency and elegance its Scotts in Mayfair, the seabass and creamed spinach is amazing.
Who or what is the next big thing in design from your perspective?
I think people will be investing more but wanting less, key pieces from archive or collectables will become more on trend and interiors will focus around a very strong narrative. This is a current theme we are talking about in our design studios at the moment.
London is a great city, no doubt, but what could you do to improve it?
I love the essence of pedestrianisation and the public realm improvements that are already taking shape with projects in South Kensington and Mount Street already completed. I am looking forward to seeing Berkeley Square transformed towards the end of this year. For me more landscaping, tree lined streets and a major drive for safety so our international community feel totally at ease in our capital would be my priorities.
Favourite holiday destination?
I like a multi stop vacation, this year I was really impressed by Lake Como in Italy for its tranquillity. Niseko Japan for its amazing soft powder for snowboarding and the emerging Montenegro with its new superyacht marina. I love being on the water so anything that involves a boat and a real sense of freedom gets my vote
What is next for Allect?
We collectively have some new employees from specialist practices so there is a real buzz and energy about the collaborations we will be able to deploy. Lawson Robb is very busy on their superyacht and have recently completed projects in Chelsea Barracks and Emirates Hills Dubai. Rigby & Rigby have a special projects department now deployed on three hero projects (comprising properties worth upwards of £75m+) and Helen Green Design is working at One Grosvenor Square and have two very lovely country houses on the drawing board.