Today we’re gathered together with interior designer Pernille Lind to discuss hospitality, commercial design, and how our senses can be our best tools. For more exclusive interviews and interior inspiration, subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
Hi Pernille! Thank you for sitting down with me. Could you please introduce yourself and your studio?
I’m the Director of Pernille Lind Studio. I’m a trained interior designer, with a broad background in furniture design, graphic design, hospitality, commercial and residential interior design. I’m originally from Denmark, half Thai, and have lived in the UK for almost 16 years. I hold a BA (Hons) from The University of the Arts London, and a Masters Degree from The Royal Danish School of Design.
Can you tell us about your design studio and the philosophy that underpins your work?
We are a team of designers working on large scale private residential projects, boutique commercial and residential developments - both in the UK and worldwide.
Our approach is very holistic, and we are obsessed with details. We work very much on the basis of using natural materials and collaborating with local crafts people. The studio’s design aesthetic endeavours to strike a balance between contemporary functions intertwined with a distinctive mix of carefully selected vintage lighting and furniture pieces. Each project is highly bespoke and we tailor the spaces and experience to our client’s needs and aspirations.
We look to collaborate with our clients and makers, in order to create unique and personalised spaces. However, the final interior scheme should allow the owner to be able to add personal touches and features over time, making their home a truly unique and personal space.
How has your personal style evolved throughout your career, and what inspires your design choices today?
Inevitably what inspired me has evolved, however my core reference point remains unchanged. The environments I have grown up in, which are Scandinavian, Thai and somewhat international, form the basis of what I’m drawn to and the attraction I have towards certain styles and design eras. Balancing a masculine and feminine sensibility is something I try to find for each project, whether it’s throughout the whole project or in certain areas. Good and thoughtful use of key materials is the starting point for all projects. How a texture or material can be used in a certain context, or manufactured in a certain way in order to give spaces identity and function, I find helps me get into storytelling and conceptual development.
In recent years through a steep learning curve, by setting up my own business, I’m involved in all aspects of the design process in a much more in depth capacity. This has taught me to always keep a pragmatic, feasible and practical approach to most challenges whether they are design related or construction related. These subjects can influence design solutions, as flexibility is needed in order to get projects over the line.
In your experience, what are the key elements that differentiate hotel design from residential design?
Most importantly when designing a hotel you need to adhere to different building regulations and operational requirements, such as maintenance and longevity in a different way to private homes. Other than that, both are spaces in which people sleep, eat and socialise in, so the most important aspects from a design perspective is good lighting and good use of materials, which are pleasing to our senses.
Are there specific design principles or strategies that you find yourself using more frequently in one context over the other?
I think scale is important. A hotel space can often have a different scale to a private home, such as the reception lobby will be much grander than entry hallways in most homes. With this said our approach to hotel design is very much from a residential perspective, as the requirement to design welcoming and personalised spaces is more and more sought after for hotels too.
Hotel design often involves creating spaces that cater to a diverse range of guests. How do you approach this challenge, and what are the key considerations when designing for the hospitality industry compared to residential projects?
It’s important we understand the target audience, and define this with our client. Further, having a strong brief on where in the market the hotel/operator wants to sit in relation to competitors, will also give us a clearer direction when it comes to creating the desired experiences. Designing to suit all, is not an approach we are keen on working to, as this will often dilute the core concept and idea. Of course as you say, there are certain requirements which need to be considered, such operational requirements, DDA regulations and other general building regulations in order to make the spaces and building safe for commercial use, and these do have an influence on some design solutions.
For residential projects, the process is different, as we are designing a home for a single user or family, and therefore there are aspects where we can be more tailored and specific to their needs.
Sustainability has been at the forefront of the hospitality industry for many years now. How can residential designers take some of these learnings forward?
I don’t think residential designers have been less focused on sustainability. The construction industry has had to consider this across the board whether the building is commercial or residential. Our private clients, as they are well informed, all seem to be very keen on doing their part where possible, whether it be the reuse and repurpose of existing furniture pieces, salvaged architectural items from an original house undergoing a renovation, or buying locally and vintage. Further, reducing energy use by having adequate systems installed and materials used for the construction of their homes, also impacts positively to a greener future. Moreover, our residential clients are essentially the guests of the hospitality industry, and their aspirations to support companies and institutions who have a sustainability stance is what drives this subject within the wider industry.
Many people are inspired by the luxurious and well-curated environments they experience in hotels. How can designers incorporate elements of hotel design into their clients’ living spaces, even on a smaller scale or budget?
I think it’s actually been the other way around in recent years. Hotel brands have been taking inspiration from personal and curated homes, wanting this to be incorporated into the hospitality experience. This has been seen by big brand operators creating sister companies in order to respond to a more contextual and bespoke design direction. These are steering away from strict brand guidelines, where all destinations are designed with the same set of rules and design features.
Interestingly, what we did experience after completing Hotel Sanders, was that many clients got in touch with us to share how inspired they had been by our design, and since implemented similar features into their own homes. However, our brief for Hotel Sanders was to create a home of a well traveled Dane.
What advice would you give to emerging interior designers who aspire to work in the hotel design industry?
Visit a lot of hotels, and take note of what works and what doesn’t work. I appreciate this is somewhat of an investment. I have often just gone straight to the reception and asked if I could get a tour of the rooms, and most of the time this is not an issue and they show you with enthusiasm. When the Nomad hotel in London opened, as it was just after the first COVID lockdown, we got a full tour of all rooms and suites, as most weren’t occupied yet! So perhaps if you can’t stay, book a dinner or get a drink in the bar, and then ask for a tour.
Could you tell us a bit more about the Twenty Essex project, the brief, and how you and your team made it come to life?
A recent project we completed was Twenty Essex barrister chambers, a prominent legal establishment situated on 20 Essex Street in Temple. Seeking to extend their current premises, their vision was an expansion plan that would incorporate facilities such as conference rooms, dedicated clerical spaces, workstations, seminar rooms, individual barrister offices, event space, and a café.
We were commissioned in Spring 2021 by a group of Barristers who were on the committee to make their new office aspirations come to life. The design direction was driven by the desire to create an inviting, comfortable, and functional space that would entice people back to work – emphasizing an improvement in the working environment. Central to our design ethos was to instill a sense of comfort – akin to that found in a home. To achieve this, adaptable and thoughtful lighting design is used to allow scene setting, and to meet the specific needs of every space. Being located in such a quintessentially British area, the use of British craftsmanship and suppliers was key to the design concept. The use of local, quality suppliers is pivotal in creating a space that blends modern functionality with timeless British aesthetics.
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. Before we finish, could you let us know what three products on Portaire’s directory would make the Pernille Lind edit?
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