Meet the designer - Kit Kemp

Meet the designer - Kit Kemp

We are incredibly lucky to have a longstanding working relationship with the celebrated interior designer, Kit Kemp MBE - as both a design collaborator and as a dedicated trustee of Fine Cell Work. Her creative talent is realised in her unique interiors for Firmdale Hotels, of which Kemp is a co-founder and creative director, and where you may even recognise several designs which we have collaborated with her on in recent years.

To celebrate the launch of Kit's new collection for Fine Cell Work, we asked her a few questions about her work, her influences, and, of course, the new designs.

What's your signature style, and how has it evolved over time?

Colourful, well-crafted with a touch of whimsy is how I would describe my work. I believe rooms should have a care-free feel but, perversely, to achieve this look requires a great deal of thought and an eye for detail - ‘the devil is in the detail.’ I hope my work evolves year by year. Interiors are living spaces and capture a moment in time. The times are always changing.

Where does your interest in interior design stem from?

When I worked for an auctioneer, which was my first job after leaving college. Later the architect Leszek Nowicki was a huge influence on my design ideas and sense of scale. 

Where do you find inspiration for your designs? 

I work with colours and different colour palettes every day. I seem to be surrounded by brilliant craftspeople - I seek them out and feel a sense of wonder and inspiration. One little idea can become a reality, but it is an organic process. Many things happen along the way. We always hope that the finished piece is somehow better than the original idea because of the time, interest and unexpected observations that happen along the way. 

How do your designs come to life?

Textiles are a great inspiration – it is a very physical process because of all the textures, balance and scale that have to be taken into account. No sketch, or pen and paper, or digital 3D process really does what the imagination can see. Nevertheless, sketches, looking at architectural plans and the computer all play their part in the process, especially when designing a newbuild of something that only exists in your mind. 

What's the story behind the new dog designs for Fine Cell Work?

We wanted to design something witty and fun that stitchers could smile at when stitching in their cells - and equally customers could them use in a practical way at home, or as a gift. They are joyful designs – and of course, we love dogs!

How did your longstanding relationship with Fine Cell Work come about?

I met the designer Melissa Wyndham on the panel for a Homes & Gardens textile competition. As fellow judges, we both 'hit it off’ immediately because of our shared love of fabrics. Melissa asked me to become involved with Fine Cell Work, and how could I refuse? Melissa was so talented and adorable. Thanks to her, I met the team at Fine Cell Work. It has enriched my life enormously and I am eternally grateful to Melissa for introducing me to the organisation.

You've worked on many design collaborations and projects with Fine Cell Work - do you have a favourite?

My very favourite project was a magnificent quilt that Fine Cell Work made for me. It involved my popular fabric design called Hedgerow. Fine Cell Work's stitchers hand-embellished the Hedgerow design, highlighting the unicorns and mythical animals hiding amongst the foliage. The large squares were placed on a colourful stripe called 'Peace and Love' and then quilted in the most beautiful fashion. It is a masterpiece of workmanship and dedication, an heirloom quilt that will last longer than I do.

As an interior designer, what are your tips for adding colour and texture to a room?

There is always one statement chair in a room that everyone wants to sit on, including the dog. Cover this chair in a statement colour - make it a strong weave so it lasts - and add a fun cushion. Once you have covered one chair, you will find that colour makes you happy. It certainly spices up your life, and there is no looking back!

Discover Kit Kemp's collection for Fine Cell Work, including her new canine-themed cushions and pouch, here.


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