Francis Sultana, the luxury interior designer who still works in watercolour – Londoner #38

Well this place has always been very special
to me, because Thomas Good is one of the icons of London retailing. With a historical building one has to take
the references of the past, in order to take it forward
you must not forget that. This is my first go at designing retail.
I’ve always been fascinated by stores, ever since I was a little boy.
The first long word I ever learnt to spell was Selfridges.
And I was very proud of myself, I think I was five years old.
I was fascinated by the sheer scale of the store and I’ve always loved beautiful things.
I didn’t come from a family that could afford a lot of beautiful things, but they meant
a lot to me. I’m very conscious of really enjoying keeping
a record of ever piece of furniture I’ve designed, in a water colour.
I design a lot on aeroplanes, especially on long hauls.
They always amused when I want water and they think it’s for me to drink, but actually I
need it for my watercolours. I set up a table on the plane and I work. But I do work a lot from home. I think in a way my home is the most undesigned of all the homes I do. A home has more meaning because of my work
It reflects me and my parnters life together, what we both love. Take out the plasctic. I think that’s fabulous as a group. One of the joys of my work, is that I work a lot with artisans that are generations old
and because of the work I’m able to give them, they actually can continue their trades. I think that’s much better guys, much better. You know, it’s luxury, it’s elegant.
Sometimes it’s understated, sometimes it’s using very extravagant materials. My great love is old movies, so I get all my inspiration from old movie sets and things
like that. I think I’m very lucky, in many many respects
because I’m doing the job I always wanted to do.
I love creating the furniture, I mean I literally design one or two pieces of furniture a day
now. I think that angle is good. So as a team I think long term, if people carry on liking what I’m doing and I can keep
thinking up the designs, I hopefully will create something, that in
the next decade, we can be really proud of.

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