Design studio Elicyon on craft, simplicity and creating ‘interior couture’

·4-min read
Photo credit: Elicyon
Photo credit: Elicyon

Who are they?

Elicyon was founded in 2014 by architect Charu Gandhi, who’s previously worked at Allies and Morrison (where she contributed to the London Olympics Masterplan) and property developer Candy & Candy. Her studio team includes Swedish-born creative director Cecilia Halling and projects director David Harris – in a former role, he oversaw the restoration of Burberry’s Regent Street flagship.

Photo credit: Georgina Viney
Photo credit: Georgina Viney

Gandhi’s passion for design began in India, where she remembers seeing her childhood home being built. The creation of Elicyon was also inspired by her love of craft, which gave her a freedom she couldn’t find in the architecture world. ‘With architecture, you can’t say something is beautiful for the sake of being beautiful, which I found frustrating,’ she explains. ‘Interior design doesn’t complicate things.’

While at Candy & Candy, she was offered a refurbishment project at the prestigious One Hyde Park development, which marked the debut of her new studio. ‘It opened my eyes to a whole host of makers and craftspeople, particularly British ones,’ she says. That network of artisans has become an integral part of the bespoke Elicyon look.

Photo credit: Michael Sinclair
Photo credit: Michael Sinclair

What is Elicyon’s style?

Contemporary opulence, with a focus on beautiful materials, warm colours and eye-catching art. ‘I aim to create exquisite “interior couture” – something that speaks to the clients’ dreams for their home and that evokes a feeling appropriate to the space,’ Gandhi explains.

She cites a vast array of inspirations, from architectural icons such as Carlo Scarpa and Oscar Niemeyer to fashion and theatre design. ‘I often look to art deco, mid-century and Biedermeier periods for furniture inspiration,’ she adds. ‘But I will also dip into other stylistic influences from around the world.’ Japanese crafts are a particular passion, including kintsugi (mending broken objects with gold) and origami.

Photo credit: Michael Sinclair
Photo credit: Michael Sinclair

What are Elicyon’s recent projects?

A number of residences in the restored Chelsea Barracks, including a show apartment. ‘Our designs were heavily inspired by the history of the site and its links to two key materials, chalk and clay,’ says Gandhi. ‘We chose a neutral, sandy palette with luxurious natural textures, such as earthenware ceramics. These reference the annual “Collect” craft show held nearby.’

Elicyon has also designed a Mayfair apartment for an art collector couple, which explores ‘how paint colours and finishes draw the eye’: the master bedroom has a ceiling in glossy pale blue. Artworks are illuminated using picture lights hanging on bronze rails.

Photo credit: Patrick Williamson
Photo credit: Patrick Williamson

What are they currently working on?

A lakeside house in the English countryside, a penthouse at Battersea Power Station and another apartment at One Hyde Park, inspired by Ibizan interiors and featuring pops of Yves Klein blue.

They say: ‘We always start by building a narrative behind each space – we want to create a habitable, homely environment, not a stage set.’ elicyon.com

Expert advice

Elicyon’s tips for creating modern opulence

1 We like to incorporate bespoke pieces into our projects, especially storage designed for a client’s individual collections – books, jewellery or even drinks. They should celebrate your interests. Visit a fair that showcases bespoke makers, such as London Craft Week and the Brighton Craft Fair, or request advice from the Society of Designer Craftsmen.

2 I go on a different material journey for every project, but at the moment I particularly enjoy working with timber. We recently used petrified wall cladding to add warm burnt-orange tones to a cigar room. Impactful materials like this are a great way to add richness to walls and ceilings – think beyond paint and try leather, suede or hand-painted flowers on canvas.

3 So much of selecting patterns and textures is about their sheen and how they reflect light within a space. I like to take samples to a property and see how they work before making a choice.

4 Your art collection should tell the story of who you are and what you love. Don’t limit yourself to drawings and paintings – explore sculpture and ceramics, too. I enjoy using art to draw the eye across a space or to manipulate proportion and symmetry, such as placing a sculpture on a plinth at one end of a room or corridor.

The Little Black Book

Every project has its own unique list of suppliers and craftspeople...

MATERIALS

I love the work of Polish multidisciplinary designer Marcin Rusak, who specialises in innovative materials and art techniques – think flowers embedded in glass, or patinated metals fashioned into furniture, lighting and sculptures. marcinrusak.com

ART

Gallerist Sarah Myerscough always has something amazing on offer. She has a wonderful eye for makers and collectible pieces. Her ‘Natural Room’ collection focuses on contemporary, handmade objects in organic materials. sarahmyerscough.com

GLASSWARE

I’m passionate about handmade glass and London’s Vessel Gallery is the authority on it. Among the renowned designers represented are architect Amanda Levete and Swedish maker Lena Bergström. vesselgallery.com

BESPOKE FURNITURE

Silverlining Furniture, based in Wrexham, creates museum-quality pieces from fine materials like leather and rare woods. I love how they innovate within the framework of craft; working with them is always exciting. silverliningfurniture.com


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