ACHICA Living chats to hunter-gatherer of the design world and colourholic Laura Slack of Places and Spaces. We talk furniture personality and find out why she dislikes the phrase ‘interior design’…
Laura Slack, founder of Places and Spaces in her shop in Clapham Old Town, London (above)
At Places and Spaces you source and supply some of the most influential designer brands in the world including droog, Oficina Kreativa (above), Smarin, Kyouei Design and Mater. What first inspired you to set up Places and Spaces?
My main inspiration was the fact that when you went shopping in London the products that were available were all repeated everywhere. There was very little choice and only now small boutique shops that were killed off years ago are re-emerging. The larger stores tend to place it safe and sell brands that are obvious. With Places and Spaces I wanted to give more choice and offer people something a little more unusual or a key piece for their room. We tend to source from abroad and designs that people know about but don’t know where to get their hands on them.
Where did the name Places and Spaces come from?
It’s actually named after an old Donald Byrd American jazz record! I bought the name and premises in Clapham Old Town from a company who used to sell vintage furniture and turned it around completely. We like to have a holistic approach at Places and Spaces – the shop is great for unique items and difficult problem solving. We have exclusive rights in the UK to a lot of the designers such as droog, Oficina Kreativa, Mater and Fambuena etc…
Do you have a personal favourite designer and piece?
I don’t like picking people out as star designers – I hate the way it can become all about the designer and not actually about what they’ve produced. There is so much out there by designers that are talented but aren’t good at selling themselves and they get overlooked, which I find rather sad. I prefer to pick products that aren’t so obvious.
What about pieces that really stand out for you?
I think an object should have its own personality and aura of its own. It should engage your mind and invite you to question its functionality.
Alex Valder and Judith Seng are very talented designers. They can translate conceptual ideas into products – these days, being able to physically make your prototypes into pieces, rather than it just being a drawing on a page, is vital. A designer should be able to do the making to a certain degree and these two are very hands on. (Alex Valder furniture, below)
Alfonso Merry and Paul Heredia are also very refreshing – their pieces are exciting, honest and make me smile. They question how you interact with a piece once you’ve bought it, giving the end user power to alter the product to suit their lifestyle. LEGGS, for example, is a prosthetic element that extends the height of furniture making it more accessible and easy to use.
At Places and Spaces we like to get to know our customers and help them choose products that suits their needs. I have a problem with the word ‘interior design’ – I dislike it. It’s almost dictating to someone how they should have their home, when the only way a retail shop can stay alive in this day and age is to know what products are out there and help the customer choose products that they like and will suit the way they live.
What three products could you not live without at home?
In the bedroom….A very expensive mattress for my bed…
In the kitchen….I love to cook and my Ineke Hans garlic crusher comes in very handy!
In the living room….my Scandia chair. I can dress it to suit the seasons – with its slats exposed in the summer and with a cosy wool throw in the winter when it’s a cold.
How would you describe your home’s style?
At the moment we’re doing up a wreck of a house so all our furniture is in storage. But my style is totally mad. I try to push the boundaries collecting diverse and strange objects. Colour is very important to me too – orange, reds, blues – every colour under the sun!
What inspires you on a day-to-day basis?
I have a colour addiction. When someone comes into the shop and they’re looking for fabric it’s fascinating to see that they go for a shade of the colour they are wearing. It’s so ingrained in our psychology and wellbeing and we all respond to it.
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Emily Peck, Editor
View all posts by Emily Peck, Editor