Lawson Robb’s creative leads George Wolstenholme and Lena Cottray have been featured by Artemest Magazine in an interview discussing the ‘Creative Dialogue’
The article reads:
Two different design souls harmoniously merge in the Lawson Robb Studio’s projects. George Wolstenholme and Lena Cottray overcome the conventional design rules through bespoke residential or hospitality projects. Explore their eclectic style that conveys an out-of-the-ordinary twist to interiors.
In the last 18 years, Lawson Robb has been fortunate to design beautiful interiors and exceptional spaces worldwide. Working internationally, the multi-disciplinary team has a reputation for pushing the boundaries of design for bespoke private commissions, super-prime developments, and yachts. Under the new direction of George Wolstenholme & Lena Cottray at the helm of Lawson Robb, the duo endeavors to continue pushing the unexpected and unconventional and producing spaces like never seen before. Between the two, the team brings a wealth of experience in Superyachts and Ultra-Prime residential properties, hotels, and unique bespoke furniture.
With a Masters in Yacht Design and a collective 10-year experience in the execution of both Superyachts and Ultra-Prime residential properties, hotels, and unique bespoke furniture globally, George’s expertise is in the details and the art of bespoke. Lena on the other hand, originally set her sights on the art world and has since delved into the world of interiors, equally bringing a wealth of experience and knowledge with her extensive background in high-end residential and hospitality design.
How did you first become involved in the world of design? Tell us your story.
We have both been working in the industry for the past 10 years and started working together about 3 years ago.
George – I think it all begins with growing up in a family-run traditional hotel in the North of England where I spent lots of time as a child with my Grandfather traveling around sourcing and restoring various antique pieces of furniture, objects of curiosity, and architectural details from chimneypieces to sanitaryware.The more contemporary side comes from my years studying automotive design and subsequently yacht design. For the rest, it is just an obsession with any products of the utmost quality and luxury-.
Lena – I know it’s perhaps a little cliche to say but growing up I always took great pride in redecorating my room multiple times. It was a way for me to experience the space differently and also let my creativity run wild. I equally grew up in hotels due to my father’s profession so I was also always emersed in very stylized spaces and saw the way that they had an effort on you. From then on I decided that I wanted to be responsible for creating those emotions and be able to transport you to another world -.
How would you describe your personal style and what’s the personal signature that makes your projects unique?
Our style overall is quite pared-back yet with eclectic nuances and acute attention to detail. The two of us are very much aligned when it comes to wanting to create something special and daring, yet still, be a space that is liveable and not uptight. Fundamentally design for Lawson Robb means extracting the DNA of an idea or client brief and developing it further to be able to tell a story. A key signature detail that is seen throughout our projects would be our love and frequent use of mixed textures and materials. We love to have a play with various materials which ultimately elevates a space and gives them more depth. Lastly, it is fair to say that all our spaces have a certain element of organic shapes and fluidity adding a bit of softness and tactility.
Where do you draw inspiration for your projects?
Honestly anywhere and everywhere! We are constantly reading, going out to see things and emerging ourselves in the world we live in – there is so much to see and take in and be able to translate into design. When it comes to a project it can either be immediate idea that comes to mind the second the project starts, or it can be a culmination of research and design exploration and ultimately journey that leads to the final scheme.
What’s the decorative piece you enjoy selecting for your clients and why?
Can we say everything? No, jokes aside, one thing that is fun for us is to curate the whole package of the decorative items and create a narrative of how they all work together. This could be from the decorative ornaments on display, the rug or artwork we choose to emphasize right down to the tableware and barware – they all are important in both in their own right, as well as how they ultimately work together!
In a hyper-digital world, do you often turn to social media for inspiration? If yes, which is the social media platform you use and why?
It is hard not to be on social media and not use it as a tool to discover artists and other creatives. Platforms like Instagram & Pinterest also have a real collaborative element to them where you can share ideas with one another as well as discover artisans, designers and other individuals to collaborate with on projects. It is also a great way to meet potential clients as you can share your style and thoughts in a more dynamic and perhaps more informal and relaxed way.
What is your favorite project you have worked on and why?
This is a hard question as all our projects have a special place in our hearts. We give so much attention and emphasis to each one that make them all unique that each were an important element in shaping who we are today. We have a few very exciting upcoming projects that we’re working on such as a penthouse suite for a luxury hotel in London and a Superyacht launching at the end of the year that we are particularly proud of.
What would be your dream project to work on?
We love all sorts of challenges and don’t want to be boxed into solely one category, but one project we would love to design is a ski chalet. Being skiers ourselves and enthusiasts of the alpine lifestyle, it would be great fun to be able to design a chalet along with all of its amenities. It also gives us something to dream of away from London!
Do you have an interior design master that you look up to?
We don’t have one master alone that we look up to but rather have a big appreciation for our current contemporaries and past 20th century masters in the industry whether they are in interiors, architecture, or product design. For example, designers or studios like Pierre Yovanovich, Flack Studio, Achille Salvagni Atelier, Vincenzo De Cotiis or modern masters like Gio Ponti and Charlotte Perriand are inspirational and push us to also think outside the box. Whilst we design a lot of our own furniture for projects, we also like to herald the craftsmen out there who are specialized in their fields and thus bring an enormous wealth of knowledge and experience, from which you can’t help but feel inspired by.
What epoque inspires you the most in terms of aesthetic?
We definitely live in the now with the future in mind, but it’s hard not to look back on the past and ignore it. The 1920s-1970s in Europe had so many amazing innovations in the realms of furniture design and spatial layouts, just need to think about the modern masters like Gio Ponti, Scarpa, Charlotte Perriand or Le Corbusier. All of these as well as many more designers have created pieces, innovations and concepts that are still so relevant today either seen through the introduction of re-editions or coined a now normal way of thinking. You need to learn from the past to move into the future.