During London Design Festival last week, Frame presented a talk on ‘the dialogue of design’ at 100% Design, Earl’s Court. Talks were grouped around the theme of ‘creative balance’ – including conversations with Richard Rogers, Giulio Cappellini and Nigel Coates.

Frame’s session, chaired by editor Riya Patel, investigated the creative conversations and stories that inspire exceptional interiors, taking two client/designer partnerships as case studies: the Spencer Hart Flagship Store by Shed Design, and the Aesop store in Covent Garden by Cigue.

Nick Hart of Spencer Hart and Nick Stringer of Shed Design took the stage first, explaining their vision for a flagship store in a former bank in Mayfair, London. Nick Hart explained his brand’s back story – men’s tailoring inspired by stars seen around Palm Springs in the 1950s, Kerouac, McQueen, Sinatra and Warhol. Nick Stringer talked about channelling the ‘architectural cool’ of Palm Springs to develop the interior architecture. The façade of the Parker Hotel, Palm Springs was particularly inspiring to Shed; a reference that made its way into the final project by way of a perforated concrete block feature wall, but also as a motif for a menswear collection and fragrance inspired by the American resort. Both acknowledged that patience and trust were the key foundations of a good client/designer relationship, and a healthy amount of time spent on building shared values on design, but also art, music and culture.

Hugo Haas of Paris-based design practice Cigue, and Thomas Buisson of Aesop revealed the process of putting one of the Australian skincare brand’s stores together. Despite a rapid building programme with stores popping up worldwide, no two Aesop stores are the same. Thomas and Hugo explained that the design started from a set of inspirations sent by brand founder Dennis Paphitis: a Virginia Woolf quote, a Francis Bacon painting, a Henry Moore sculpture, and an excerpt from Beauty and the Beast. All Aesop stores are conceived this way. For Covent Garden, Cigue designed a minimal interior with graphic tiles, exposed copper pipes and striking green floor tiles. Hugo spoke about keeping the design simple, allowing the bottles and products themselves to be a key design element. Thomas talked about the importance of working with Hugo’s team right through until completion, providing support while Cigue navigated necessary changes to the design that only arose during construction.

For more details on the talks programme, see here