Now that's a really bright idea by Jenny Coad
Steuart Padwick has designed for Royalty but his furniture will cheer up any home, says Jenny Coad
Prince George and Princess Charlotte must have a riot in the royal nursery.
And that’s thanks, in part, to the work of designer Steuart Padwick. He won a competition, held by the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers to commemorate the birth of Charlotte and create a set of nursery furniture for the young Cambridges.
His set of table and chairs with flashes of bright lemon yellow, royal red, rich blue and acid green is inventive and fun.
The table top doubles as a wobble board and there’s a tunnel-shaped gap beneath it, through which the chairs – which form carriages – can travel. Parents can perch on the chairs when they are turned over to become miniature benches.
Kate was so pleased with the set, she sent an effusive thank you note. Steuart replied saying he hoped the children would ‘use and abuse the furniture’.
This isn’t the designer’s first brush with royalty. One of his graduate pieces was bought as a wedding present for Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1981.
It’s an arch-shaped open wardrobe with a basket at the bottom and glass back. According to Padwick, the couple hated it.
At one point, it was consigned to their bodyguard’s bedroom. He doesn’t know where it is now. Let’s hope the nursery furniture for George and Charlotte fares better.
But Padwick can’t help but be daring. He is on a mission to save us from ‘beige, beige, blooming beige’. He things we all need to be braver when it comes to our interiors.
‘If you like something, go for it. Who cares what other people think. At least they’ll notice. They’re not going to comment on a beige backdrop. People don’t even see that.’ Kelly Hoppen take cover.
And Padwick, 56, doesn’t just cater to the rich and famous. He was the first designer to work with inexpensive on-line furniture retailer made.com and his pieces for them continue to be popular.
He sells more than 1.300 units a month through Made. The Fonteyn range is elegant, modern and his signature streak of colour appears in the red drawers on the desk, dressing table (pictured below), coffee table and media unit (Fonteyn furniture from £79, made.com).
If you want something more exclusive, the Pitch Bullet Desk is supremely elegant through a rather more daunting £985 (steuartpadwick.co.uk)
Steuart’s latest furniture collection, made in collaboration with furniture company Adams & Moore is bright and breezy. It includes a zingy, almost fluorescent green sofa called Tilt, a small, two-seater cherry yellow sofa with a giant orange button, One Button Sofa, and the purple Humpback sofa.
A set of graphic-looking MagneTick clocks come in purple, brash red, golden yellow, and a more muted sage green.
The clocks, which are magnetic, are a nod to Padwick’s playful side. You could use fridge magnets to message your children helpful hints like ‘don’t get up now’ or ‘time for bed’. Though they would also look stylish in a study or office.
Padwick has them arranged on one wall, like a piece of art, at home. For those nervous of dazzling shades, Amanda Ridley, of Amanda’s Designs, suggests maintaining a neutral background so that the over-all effect doesn’t overwhelm.
But, she argues, ‘colour can completely transform a room, adding life and depth, drawing you in, giving you feelings of calmness or warmth and generally affecting your mood’.
Have some fun, as Padwick would have it. He wants to make us smile and there are tickling flicks all over the place. The scribble in the air light shade looks like a scruffy old Biro scribble, the sticks coat stand i a set of broomsticks ranged at different height for coats and hats. And the Double Cross Take has the most striking set of orange or yellow lacquered legs.
Where does he get his energy from? The answer used to be paragliding but he hasn’t done that since breaking 17 bones in 17 months in two accidents – one while paragliding, the other skiing.
Not that either slowed Padwick down. While recovering in hospital from the skiing slip-up, he designed the HorseShoe Chair, which leans at a dangerous-feeling angle.
Now, he is consigned to his ‘midlife crisis’ red Porsche and a new motorbike, a Kawasaki 650.
Back at the drawing board he’d love to design every single thing for a home – down to the nuts, bolts, light switches and screws.
He did once design cutlery, making chopstick-inspired forks and spoons with long, elegant handles like something out of Alice In Wonderland.
Deeply unpractical and hopeless for the dishwasher or the cutlery drawer, but they’d cause a stir at your dinner party table. And you’d be able to eat off your partner’s plate, perhaps without them noticing.
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