Behind the design with Emma Pocock from Turner Pocock

ACHICA Living catches up with Emma Pocock, from London-based interior design company Turner Pocock. Established in 2007 by Emma Pocock and Bunny Turner, the company specialises in residential and commercial projects and has a wonderful range of eye-catching wallpapers too. Leading interior designer Andrew Martin recently selected Turner Pocock in his Interior Design Review featuring the world’s leading designers.

Did you always know that you wanted to be an interior designer and what was your first big break into the design world and setting up your business with Bunny?

Having come from a fashion degree I was acutely aware of how the fashion world is all about new ideas every six months, but I was attracted to creating beautiful interiors which would stand the test of time and not have to be replaced every year or two.

Bunny’s background is in the art world, where her clients make lasting investments in pieces to adorn their walls for many years to come, so for her interiors seemed an obvious transition too.

On all of our jobs the art is as considered as seriously as each piece of furniture, as it can make or break the vision we have.

Our first big break was a fantastic house on a square in Chelsea for a lovely man our builder put us in touch with. We started with one room and every time we presented he asked us to design the next. We ended up doing up all 15 rooms in his house.

[Image at top and below: Cricket wallpaper by Turner Pocock Cazelet]

[Image above: Emma Pocock and Bunny Turner]

What is your favourite design?

When the building allows it we let the architecture take the limelight, but when we have an unexciting space we become colourists and try to create the interest from the inside out.

There are a couple of projects I know of and love, where the buildings are just fantastic – interior designer Rose Uniacke’s home and the home of designer Jasper Conran, with the interior designed by Ann Boyd. They are both totally breathtaking. The emphasis being on tall ceilings and stunning architectural features, with sparse beautiful pieces of furniture creating an almost minimalist interior.

Which fellow designers do you admire?

As mentioned above both Ann Boyd and Rose Uniacke and well as American designer Thomas O’Brian for his use of antique furniture and traditional architecture, mixed with modern pieces.

But on the other end of the spectrum both Bunny and I are hugely influenced by the American colourists such as Kelly Wearsler and Jonathon Adler. They bring fun and youth and humour to interiors.

The huge range in these influences probably explains our schizophrenic style as a company, but we are happy with this though. It keeps us interested in every single job we do as it is always so different from the last.

[Image above: Jonathan Adler designs - image taken from Sohautestyle.com]

Who’s your favourite artist?

Tastes range hugely – from John Golding at Piano Nobile, for his Rothkoesque ‘multiforms’, which produce great splashes of colour to a room, to much more monochrome pieces – Idris Kahn’s take on Bernd and Hilla Becher water towers is a long time favourite for us both producing ghostly depth and interest to the original photographs.

Do you ever wake up feeling uninspired and if so, how do you overcome designer’s block?

Luckily as there are two of us it doesn’t really matter if one is feeling uninspired – it normally kicks the other into action and then the tables naturally turn. A good holiday is normally needed when we lose inspiration as we come back raring to go!
We are working on four great London houses at the moment  – all totally different shapes and styles, so there should be an interesting variation of projects being photographed early next year.

[Image below: Turner Pocock Polar Bear wallpaper]

What advice would you give anyone wanting to be a designer and set up their own business?

Don’t do it too early and never underestimate what you can learn in the protection someone else’s design company. Vary the companies you work for to learn as much as you can. Spend a couple of years in each – one small high-end residential, one large practice where there is commercial work, and one developer. The experience it totally different in each.

How would you describe your home’s style?

Colourful, eclectic, comfortable – my husband demanded all three. Bunny’s home is more moody and monochrome, with flashes of colour and wild, patterned wallpaper.

Tell us one thing we don’t know about you?

I’m a lottery addict, it’s the only way I can dream of my perfect chalet, perfect island get away, perfect Cotswolds manor house as well as my London home!

Bunny, by the way, eats chocolate all day long and is still size 8!

How do you spend your weekends?

Chilling out with friends – after 12 hour weekdays I need a couple of glasses of wine, and a few laughs rather than looking around galleries (a permanent source of guilt!) We try to build the gallery research into our working week!

[Image above: Turner Pocock Cazelet Zebra wallpaper]

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Emily Peck, Editor

View all posts by Emily Peck, Editor