The savant of the visual, Anouska Hempel is revered across the world for her originality and for her influence. This is a designer who sees everything, and instinctively understands it. It might be a Japanese screen, or a Tudor portrait, an object, a fabric, a colour or a decorative technique. She may come to it innocently, but she will see exactly what it does, and how it does it.
Yet that’s just where she starts. Take an inspiration; treat it with respect; understand its disciplines. Then transform it. The sparks from creative friction and an all-encompassing imagination mark out each of her designs as unmistakably her own. A first image goes galloping on to greatness elsewhere.
As a designer, there are no limits to her domain. In her work, design becomes part of the natural order, apparently tamed at last. ‘Everything has its place, and there is a place for everything’, she says. And yet the process is never complete. Along with order, there is the mystery that comes from building the design in multiple layers and the restless creativity that is impelled to take perfection to new levels.
There has never been a designer quite like Anouska Hempel, and this volume is both a celebration of her achievement and an intimate insight into it. In this astonishing book, we find her hotel creations, such as the two Blakes, the Hempel itself and Warapuru in Brazil, her private houses, including the incomparable Cole Park, her yacht and her garden designs – all the elements of a life of design.
‘Romantic places? I live in them all the time.
Anywhere the trade routes have passed or the trade winds have blown – that’s my territory. I can dream myself into a desert tent playing footsie with Genghis Khan, or a military tent planning strategy with Napoleon. Wherever my imagination finds itself that’s where my rooms begin.’
Anouska Hempel, Lady Weinberg, is of Swiss, German and Irish ancestry. She grew up in New Zealand, arriving in London in the mid-1960s after extensive travels. Here, she established herself as a leading designer renowned for her sophistication and style, creating hotels and interiors as well as sensational gardens, clothes and food. Her practice, Anouska Hempel Design, works extensively in the Americas, Europe, Africa, and the Middle and Far East. Marcus Binney studied History of Art and Architecture at Cambridge. His interest in interiors grew from writing articles for Country Life, which were subsequently published as The Great Houses of Europeand became a 39-part television series. His other books include The Ritz Hotel London, In Search of the Perfect House, The Women who Lived for Danger andSecret War Heroes. He is
Architecture Correspondent of The Times. Belinda Harley has produced acclaimed books on Harry’s Bar and Annabel’s in London. She has a special interest in the design of hotels and restaurants.