DESIGN CENTRE, CHELSEA HARBOUR
For the best in design and decoration, look no further than Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour.
A commitment to design excellence has put it firmly on the map. More than a design resource, it is a thriving platform, both creatively and commercially, for an exceptionally dynamic industry. It is the largest of its kind in Europe and well-established as a premier design destination. Nowhere else will you find such a high concentration of design’s biggest namesshaping luxury interiors today – all at one address. With expansion high on the agenda, this year sees a significant influx of new international arrivals and the development of Design Centre East to showcase more global talent.
Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour is the first port of call for professional interior designers, architects, specifiers and style-seekers looking for specialist expertise. Dedicated to inspire, inform and deliver the best in design, it is the perfect place to discover world-class talent, connect with influential designers and get the inside track at high profile events. In fact, it is a measure of the Design Centre’s influence that people fly in from all over the world to see what is on the style radar there.
What is on offer is ‘couture for the home’. With more than 600 international brands on site, it is pretty matchless when it comes down to choice. Showcasing the highest expressions of creativity, Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour brings together not only fabrics and wallcoverings, but also, furniture, lighting, accessories, kitchens, bathrooms, outdoor living, trimmings, hardware, tiles and carpets. Carefully selected for their impeccable design credentials, it showcases designs of exceptional breadth and scope imagined by some of the most creative minds in the industry from around the globe.
The 120 showrooms cater not only for those who have a passion for creating their own projects, but for designers who are working on the interiors of famous hotels, bars, restaurants and boutiques. What you see in the showrooms is just the starting point. Recent products that have been sourced at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour include lighting for Claridge’s; bathroom products for the Waldorf Astoria; leathers for the Aqua Shard in London and also for the Hilton hotel in Dubai, rugs for the Four Seasons presidential suites; handmade wallpapers for the Shangri-La in Paris and for The Jefferson in Washington DC; silks for Cliveden hotel and hand-blocked fabric for Ham Yard Hotel; custom carpets for ‘Ace’, a 87m superyacht; and a bespoke champagne bar for the Mandarin Oriental in Knightsbridge. International clients include fashion designers, stars of stage and screen, royalty, financiers and high-net worth individuals.
Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour has become a renowned design hub. Creations from some of the world’s most influential brands set the pace, as well as meet the exacting standards demanded by a discerning clientele.Key values of creativity, skilled craftsmanship and technical ability lie at the heart of so much of the offering. Visitors can see products of character, complexity and originality, alongside great workmanship and artistry up close. Many showrooms have long-term relationships with designers and the collaborative nature of many projects can lead to some impressive results. Bespoke products is another forte – with countless showrooms creating tailor-made pieces for one-of-a-kind spaces.
As beautiful as the designs within it, it is no coincidence that every aspect of Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour has been conceived to create the ultimate environment. At 155,000 sq. ft., it is at the epicentre of a larger 697,000 sq. ft. development. Fronting the famous river Thames, it includes a marina for 80 luxury yachts, as well as a 5-star hotel, private residences and commercial offices. The transformation of the Design Centre itself began with the introduction of sleek glass balustrades and contemporary showroom frontage, delivering cohesion throughout. Black olive trees were brought in as the finishing touches to a £6m total refurbishment scheme, bringing natural life into the iconic domes. The spotlight is now on the expansion of Design Centre East, linking it more closely with the domes.
Keen to foster creativity and push artistic boundaries, new pop-ups and installations are specially commissioned on a regular basis to work in harmony with the Design Centre’s famous architecture.Recent commissions have included a floral sky of 6,500 blooms by floral artist Rebecca Louise Law. As well as working in public spaces and museums, she has collaborated with leading fashion brands such as Hermès and Salvatore Ferragamo. Fashion illustrator Megan Hess, who has a huge international following and is known for her work with luxury brands such as Chanel, Dior and Rolex, was asked to depict the glamorous world of Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour in her signature style.
In fact, Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour supports a broad spectrum of creative disciplines across the design agenda. A natural home for creative expression, recent exhibitions have included ‘Marilyn Monroe: Legacy of a Legend’ which showed never-seen-before personal treasures and original costumes from films like ‘Some Like It Hot’ and ‘Art & Interiors’, a curated exhibition featuring photography, paintings and sculptures that have inspired 30 leading designers.
Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour plays a central role in Britain’s cultural landscape. Every year it holds Focus and London Design Week, two highly globalised design shows. Fixtures on the international design calendar, they are considered the haute couture events of the spring and autumn seasons. Highly immersive, visitors can engage with the industry’s top creatives, influencers and big thinkers, marvel at skilled craftsmanship at demonstrations, exchange ideas at workshops or join curated tours and trails. With a burgeoning interest in the design narrative, the popularity of these interactive sessions has accounted for a huge growth – at Focus/16, there were over 127 events in six days.
The exchange of views is paramount to a dynamic design industry. The ‘Conversations in Design’ programme has gained much momentum in recent years with renowned names from the international stage eager to share their design knowledge. An impressive line-up of past speakers has included Rosita Missoni, David Mlinaric, Ilse Crawford, Tom Dixon, PatriziaMoroso, Pierre Yves Rochon, David Rockwell, Barbara Barry, Martin Brudnizki, India Mahdavi, Lee Broom and Michael S Smith. From seminars on gardening, the future of hospitality design and blurring of art and interiors to new markets in Brazil and Asia and the impact of 3D printing, Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour is committed to hosting topical and engaging discussions.
Throughout the year, new initiatives are introduced to offer specialist interest and inspiration. Dedicated events include SuperyachtDesign Week which sees international delegates gaining insights from the marine world and beyond, as well as meet the designer sessions with superyacht luminaries. Coinciding with nationwide campaigns, the Design Centre has supported Wool Week since the start. It was developed by a coalition of industry groups convened by HRH The Prince of Wales to educate consumers about the premium quality of wool. Individual tours are arranged regularly for developers in residential, retail and premier property. Bringing the design community together, it hosts the popular Dog Day while the annual Twinkle of Christmas is a much-anticipated evening when the domes are illuminated with thousands of festive lights.
Third party luxury brand partnerships build on core values of quality and choice. From global launches, photographic exhibitions, creative showcases to pop-up tasting bars and seated dinners, these collaborations encourage exchange of ideas and social interaction. A measure of how highly the Design Centre is regarded is the number of luxury brands that want to partner with it. For example, Land Rover chose it for the launch of the new Range Rover Evoque to their global dealer network.
There are few things more hotly anticipated in the design world than the latest design directions and the launch of new collections. Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour not only has its pulse firmly on global trends, but is setting them. With access to the latest new directions, the style-savvy can get the inside track on the pieces and people making waves via The Guide, dedicated newsletters and trend reports or online via the website, Instagram, Twitter and a design blog that reaches out to an expanding digital audience. With breaking news as well as interviews with the people who make great design happen, it offers unprecedented access.
Design Club, a private members’ club for like-minded people in the design and creative industries, is hard to beat.The sleek interior by award-winning designer RabihHage is a stylish base to work, meet or entertain.
What began over twenty years ago as a spectacular building near the River Thames, has grown into much, much more. Today, visitors to Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour are encouraged to shop, relax and spend time in the domes. As well as visiting the showrooms, they can browse through specialist titles in the Bookshop or stop to refuel at the Absolute Taste Design or Dome Cafés or a new stylish space in Design Centre East. From greeting you at the door to the friendly concierge desk, the on-site team is on hand to help visitors navigate what is on offer with ease. High definition screens and smart interactive display cases keep everyone informed about the latest news and activities.
If London is the powerhouse of interior design, Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour is its ‘design compass’, leading the way in terms of inspiration, style and ideas. No wonder visitors come back again and again. A single visit is rarely enough.
The Design Centre is accessible by train, bus, tube or river taxi and there is secure parking for cars.