Quick Five Questions with Charu Gandhi, Founder and Director of Elicyon24th November 2022
What is the most unusual design brief you have had from a client?
Over the years, we have had quite a range of requests that some would consider unusual, but when you are working with high-end luxury clients, nothing can ever be too out of the ordinary. Over lockdown, we noticed more of our clients were ﬁnding inspiration from TV shows, and were using the sets as mood boards for their own properties. We were designing a large house in London which had a spacious master suite and when it came to designing the dressing room, the client referenced a speciﬁc episode of The Real Housewives as they loved the way in which the central island was organised. While the suggestion itself was not unusual, it showed me how much had changed due to the pandemic, as many of my clients were no longer able to pull inspiration from their recent travels, boutique hotels or art shows, and highlighted how much TV shows were impacting on interior design trends.
Recently, we have been commissioned to create a parrot room as our client breeds endangered members of the species. This adds a whole new level to the design process, as there are more things to be considered when creating a bespoke area for pets. We are currently in the process of creating this room, so it remains an exciting prospect that we look forward to working on.
We love it when we have the opportunity to create bespoke pieces for our clients – elements that are unique and crafted to be one of a kind. Another project required us to create a multi-functional dressing table at the client’s request. It was a really intricate development process as we wanted to make sure that all the elements could ﬁt into one, and would still be able to fulﬁl its functionality in the room. These requests, while sometimes unusual, are my favourite as they allow us to create considered objects that you would never usually have the opportunity to make – whether that be the design or using certain materials, these pieces will always have special signiﬁcance to our clients.
Do you notice a difference in way people use their homes post pandemic?
Yes deﬁnitely, the last few years have caused a lot of people to reﬂect on how they use their homes and has made us all revisit the basics of design for living. Covid enforced a solitude that many had never experienced before and we really had to adapt to the continuous changes in response to the uncertain situation. The home became a multifunctional hub of residence, ofﬁce, restaurant and gym that meant people had to ensure that their homes could cater for all those functions. The pandemic ignited a desire for further innovation and honing of craft which continues to have an emphasis in design today. It has also highlighted how central social and familial interactions are to a home, so spaces are being designed with company in mind and focus less of media entertainment screens.
Photography: Patrick Williams
What would be your dream design brief?
A dream brief begins with a client who is interested in embarking on a creative journey, who is invested in craft, art and workmanship to have a home that has a timeless design and longevity. Our aim is to curate a space that is a true reﬂection of our client, and with each project we are always looking to see how we can best bring our client’s vision to life. We have worked on projects all around the world, so in that respect, I believe our role is to improve our clients’ lives, quite simply by realising their dream homes that facilitate their varied lifestyles, and I am always proud to be part of that journey.
What trends do you predict for the future?
For 2023, I believe micro-trends will start to weave their way into the larger trends cycles we have seen over the last few years to create a hybrid of different aesthetics. Experimentation with small additions from different design styles can help keep spaces feeling vibrant and timeless. I think we are going to shift away from the new neutrals we saw post-pandemic, and integrate them with more saturated, rich, bright colours that are warmer and light up a room. Earthy tones of golden ochre, yellow, sunset orange and brick red are shades that will be key colours for next year.
Artisanal details like hand painted patterns on interior architecture will be use to highlight features like dado rails, ceiling roses, and wall panels. At the moment, we are seeing tiling in an array of colours but also using gloss and matte ﬁnishes side by side for an iridescent play with the light that reﬂects on them. Trends are great for ideas, but there’s no one-size ﬁts all. Find beauty in the everyday and elevate these details to convey a timeless appeal; evolve your own aesthetic alongside those wider trends to keep your space feeling balanced and curated.
Photography: Patrick Williams
What has been your favourite project and why?
Whether it be the location, client, or design brief, I’m are proud to say that each of our projects has a special quality. I believe that your best project is your next one, and I align with this ethos whenever I discuss my favourites.
Our projects are expansive and versatile, and collaboration is key to understanding and achieving our clients’ vision. I ﬁnd the process of working with different individuals to bring out their expression one of the most delightful aspects of my work and a cornerstone of my design philosophy. I always tell our clients and others that we work with, that we want the relationship to end better than it started. Our focus on building long term relationships and providing the ultimate
bespoke service to our clients makes it such an enjoyable part of our process. We always aim to fashion interiors that are timeless, and this is usually achieve through our considered and curated approach to design – be it through the choice of artwork, the materials we work with or the bespoke furnishings we create. I’m generally inspired by historical references and cultural details, so some of my favourite projects have been when we’re able to work with clients that want to use pieces inspired by their heritage and passions. By using these to accent the spaces we design, it ensures that there’s cohesion throughout the scheme, resulting in strong, characterful spaces that are harmonious within their setting. We have been fortunate enough to work on some amazing global projects, so I can only hope there are more to come in the future.