As the founder of luxury design studio Elicyon, Charu and her team create beautifully bespoke environments for their clients from around the world. Whilst cutting her teeth at Allies & Morrison Architects as well as the renowned Candy & Candy group, Charu designed spaces for clients around the world – with projects encompassing those in Beirut, Doha and Africa. With an international upbringing and as a fully qualified architect, Charu has a unique perspective and often brings bold, surprising elements of fun into her classic schemes.
We’re delighted to chat to Charu about her design favourites, her top interior design tips and what makes a perfect Sunday…
How would you describe the look that Elicyon creates for their clients?
Being so focused on our clients’ needs, the look is always a direct expression of their brief and aspirations for the property. Our skill is in identifying these needs; we create a project that brings in elements you hadn’t explicitly requested but were picked up over our conversations with you.
Our overriding approach is to create a tailored environment, beautifully crafted and sourced. You will often find playful touches in our look, subtly woven in through colour, geometry or texture. I love to create dramatic, strong spatial experiences that are simultaneously a pleasure to live in.
In terms of furniture, what design classics standout for you?
The design classics that I’m drawn to range from Scandinavian modernism to French Art Deco pieces from the 1930s.
Whilst in Paris for Maison Objet a few weeks ago I enjoyed visiting the Bruno Moinard showroom and seeing how he approaches furniture design from an architectural perspective whilst incorporating playful and unexpected design elements.
A successful interior for me is one that marries pieces from various time periods.
What would be your top interior design tip for our readers?
The first elements to consider are form and function, starting with how the room(s) will be used, the flow for circulation and the plan arrangement. Designing an interior that looks perfectly coordinated yet effortlessly tailored can be challenging. The solution is to create contrasts in everything from the furniture sourcing to the choice of materials. Mixing statement vintage pieces with contemporary design and cutting edge technology creates interesting layers to a home. Overlaying harder materials such as metals and timbers with tactile textures in the soft furnishings is another important element.
Well placed lighting at the right colour and intensity adds the finishing touch!
What does home mean to you?
Home is a sanctuary, the one area in which you can create a space that is an expression of how you want to live your life. It is a chance to create the space, the time and aesthetic that makes you come alive. I have used some lovely luxurious materials in my apartment to create an elegant family home, and statement lighting dotted around the house creates the right ambience.
For me it currently means a wonderful light filled home for our baby boy, full of interesting things for him to enjoy as he grows – artwork from India; carpets from Iran; handicraft pieces from around the world; the huge tomes on economics and history that his dad reads, all to create an evocative childhood. A beautiful home is one that fits the changing landscape of your life.
What are your three most treasured pieces?
A contemporary silver vase hand crafted by my mother who is a silversmith. Every piece she makes is a labour of handcrafted design, architecturally inspired and entirely unique.
An antique emerald ring that my husband gave me as a ‘temporary engagement ring’. It brings back memories.
A box full of odd objects which contains a blue crystal my brother brought me back from Lake Baikal in Southern Siberia – he ventured there on the Trans-Siberian when he was 17 and it reminds me of how much the trip changed him; a little prayer handwritten on a piece of paper by my grandmother; I am a sentimental person, and for me objects with mental and emotional patina are all I would really save from a fire.
A perfect Sunday is…
A long brunch at our dining table at home, with produce bought locally at the artisan grocery shops on the Chelsea Green. We have everything from a butcher to Andreas with his great fruit & veg to Haynes Hanson & Clark for their unique wines. This would be followed by a walk through the streets south of the Kings Road which have some amazing quirky buildings, walking along the river and across to Battersea Park. An Aperol spritz at the garden of the Ivy or a quick bite at the Cross Keys, a wonderful gastropub with a conservatory at the back and banquette seats along an eglomise mirror wall.
I’ve always loved a movie at the Chelsea Cinema with Pullman seats as an extra treat before heading home to read the Sunday Papers, such as the FT Weekend, and getting the week set up with a big cup of my favourite Yorkshire tea! Elicyon fills my days with such exciting projects working alongside our fantastic clients, that Sundays are mostly cherished for their moments of quietness and aimless wander.
If you could choose one piece from Layer, what would it be and where would it live?
This striking cocktail table with its geometric design and subtle satin brass detailing would sit beautifully as a statement piece is any reception room or library. It captures everything we look for when we source furniture such the unique design feature and a combination of contrasting colours and materials.