INTERIORS / IRISH DESIGN HEROES
Perhaps the least well-known of our contemporary design heroes is the late Dublin born David Collins. Having studied architecture at Bolton Street he moved to London at the height of the 1980s recession, and in 1985 began work on interior design projects and later established David Collins Studio. Although he is associated with the design of bars, restaurant and hotel interiors, he also became known for domestic interiors for wealthy clients and was later involved with retail fit-outs. His notable, well-appointed yet cool restaurant interiors in London include Mirabelle (Marco Pierre White), Claridge’s Bar, The Blue Bar, Nobu, The Connaught Bar and Bob Bob Ricard. His design aesthetic was luxury in its many guises and he used extravagant materials such as solid marble and polished surfaces, glass and brass, to convey it. His work is characterised by saturated colour,
David Collins’ Home – Simon Watson All images by permission of David Collins Studio, 2018
The life of the party
The Wolseley – David Loftus
David Collins’ Home – Simon Watson 1 2 2 / S E L F B U I L D / AU T U M N 2 0 1 8
notably shades of blue accented with gold or contrasting vibrant shades. He was also known for varying textures in his interiors to achieve balance and for evoking the glamour of Eileen Gray and Cedric Gibbons with his use of Art Deco, which he sometimes balanced with neoclassical details such as columns. Much of his furniture was evocative of the French Empire style, his plump chairs often featured gondola arms and the designs encouraged the user to recline slightly and make themselves comfortable. Like many designers of Irish origin who work abroad, Collins was not known or celebrated in Ireland during his life as much as he should have been – a rare project in his homeland was Kilkenny’s Langton House Hotel. Sadly, David Collins died in 2013. Today, the studio that still carries his name is as busy as ever with 60 employees working on design projects worldwide.