The wonders of designer Wayne Hemingway

Acclaimed British designer Wayne Hemingway MBE has had a vibrant career. Founding fashion brand Red or Dead and setting up the award-winning Vintage Festival are just a couple of his inspirational projects. His latest venture includes a vintage-inspired wallpaper collection for Graham & Brown and stunning furniture designs for G-plan. ACHICA Living catches up with Wayne to talk about Camden in the 80s, building his own home and find out how he and fellow-designer wife Gerardine spend the weekend…

Favourite design of all time… I’m going to choose a place as it can have such a big impact on the quality of life. The one place that always lifts the spirits is London’s Southbank Centre. This was an area of bombed-out London that was brought back to life in 1951 by the supreme effort of Britain’s creative community. Architects, designers, artists and musicians all pulled together to create the site for The Festival of Britain, a site that has evolved over the decades and is a real destination now. At the centre of the Southbank Centre is magnificent Royal Festival Hall, one of the world’s great mid-century modern pieces of architecture, a truly democratic space that will always look fresh. The Southbank Centre has always remained vital by adding new architectural interventions and allowing unplanned uses such as the skateboarding community to use the under crofts.

[Below: Vintage Festival poster]


[Above: Wayne and wife Gerardine Hemingway, who is also a designer]

Favourite personal design… We have a mantra at HemingwayDesign that our duty is to “improve things that matter”. One area that we feel we have really improved over the last few years is the summer festival experience. Festivals are a great concept: people getting together for shared experiences. But, our view is that far too many festivals have become facsimiles of each other: the same line ups, same mud-caked environment, same unadventurous food and drink and full of 16-year-olds away from their parents for the first time and getting off their faces. With our Vintage Festival, we aimed to create a summer festival that was multi faceted, giving equal prominence to music, fashion, art, design, film and food that celebrates everything that’s great about British culture – everything that is truly celebratory, glamorous and something much cooler and more multi generational than the typical festival in a muddy field. We have achieved it and the location at Boughton House is truly magnificent.

Favourite homeware… we’ve been working with wallpaper brand Graham & Brown for over a decade and our current Vintage Editions collection is our best yet. We love working with a business that is from our hometown of Blackburn, which manufactures locally and is full of decent folk! Favourite project worked on…We’re lucky enough to have had a long career full of wonderful projects. From the early days in the early 80s on Camden market and the brand we created Red or Dead, to the affordable housing scheme working with Taylor Wimpey at The Staiths in Gateshead. Our favourite projects are often the current ones and we have some great ones in the pipeline with G Plan (wait until you see the sofas we have designed) and Hush Puppies, where we have been inspired to create a modern collection based on their archive.

[Below: Wayne Hemingway in Camden in 1981; Red or Dead on the catwalks]


[Below: The Staiths project] Favourite way to get inspired…Go running

Favourite holiday destination…We have been going to Perth, western Australia for 25 years; the light, the ocean, the beaches, the cycling and the places to run are wonderful. We have travelled to India, Africa, Central America, Far and Middle East. We love Scandinavia and northern Europe and there are so many beautiful places in Britain. Our favourite holiday destinations are the ones we plan to go to next.

Favourite food… Simple answer – home cooked food by Mrs H and my eldest kids. The Hemingway clan can cook and enjoy experimenting.

Favourite tipple… I am tee total and have been for over 20 years, so it’s Waitrose sparkling grapefruit. It tastes like real grapefruit and holds its fizz longer than any sparkling water I have ever known.

Favourite way to spend the weekend…I like to spend time with the family at the home that Gerardine and I designed and built 14 years ago (sitting room below). The house and grounds are an up-cycled playground full of our finds and things to do, play on and relax. A family weekend at ‘Home’ (that’s the name of the house) is so life affirming. The ACHICA Living blog brings you style inspiration from ACHICA.

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Emily Peck, Editor

View all posts by Emily Peck, Editor