This month, we sit down with interior designer Charu Gandhi to find out a little bit more about her career, her luxury interior design studio Elicyon and take a behind the scenes tour of her Westminster Penthouse Project.
The interiors of this beautiful four-bedroom penthouse have been imagined and designed by London-based Elicyon, a studio known for providing personalised, thoughtful and visionary interiors for its global clientele. Based in their Kensington studio, Elicyon has worked on some of the finest private homes and developments in both London and abroad. We sit with Founder Charu Gandhi to gain a deeper understanding of her career, Elicyon and the interior design journey of their Westminster Penthouse project.
Let's start from the very beginning, can you tell me about your experience as an interior designer? How long have you been in the industry, and what types of projects have you worked on?
I had an innate interest in interior design and architecture growing up, something that was ignited in me by my parents’ decision to build our family home in India. When I was 11, they hired a female architect who would bring along the most beautiful models and drawings to the design meetings. Watching her work on my family home instilled a love of design for me from a young age and I made the decision to pursue it as my career path.
I studied at the Architectural Association in London, and practised architecture for several years at Allies & Morrison before moving onto interior design at Candy & Candy. There, I worked for the private commission's team on projects in India and Africa, as well as residences in the prestigious One Hyde Park development in London. My time at Candy & Candy really fostered a love of craftsmanship, as I was introduced to world-class artisans and makers. This is something I still try champion in all the work I do today.
Through my previous work experience, some past clients of mine really believed in my vision and spurred me on to set up my own interior design studio. I founded Elicyon in 2014 and since then we have grown to a 35-strong team based in our Kensington Studio. Since I founded Elicyon, we have worked on some incredible projects, from private homes in Holland Park, the prestigious Chelsea Barracks development and a penthouse in New York.
What is your design philosophy or approach when working with clients?
At Elicyon, we are led both by how space is used and a fine attention to detail. We do not do a single look as a design studio but rather focus on creating curated and considered interiors that suit the individual client’s style and needs, as well as maintaining the integrity of the home. Often you can walk into a project and know how the home would work best for the client. From my experience as an architect, I have a strong spatial understanding that helps to guide the design scheme and I like to champion craftsmanship, heritage
Can you take us on a tour of your Westminster Penthouse project? What was the overall design concept or inspiration for this home?
This has been an incredible project to work on and is one of the most breathtaking apartments in terms of both views and the potential for entertaining. We took inspiration from the architectural style of The Broadway, and the building’s distinct art deco exterior, setting the tone for the modern scheme seen inside the property.
We wanted to add an air of heritage to the contemporary space - using warm, rich textures accented with artwork and antiques, along with strong mid-century influences to create a space with charisma and personality. To accentuate the penthouse's finest feature, a beautifully landscaped and furnished terrace was offered; showcasing The Broadway’s unparalleled view of the London skyline.
What was the inspiration behind the design of this living room? Can you tell me about the selection of furniture and how it enhances the overall design?
The starting point for the living room’s scheme was a beautiful Italian twentieth-century Scagliola plinth, which was the first item sourced for the apartment, setting the tone for the soft, earthy green hues of the space as a whole. This is balanced by a bespoke shelving unit on the other side of the living space, which has been crafted from Mappa Burr wood veneer with a high gloss, featuring cherry red panels that can be removed to add items such as a television for the final homeowner.
How did you create a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere in this bedroom? Can you talk about the selection of textures and textiles for the bedding and decor?
Each of the apartment’s four bedrooms has a neutral palette, in which shades of cream and white are present in varying tones and textures resulting in a clean and tranquil feel to the room. Accents of colour can be seen in the cushions, headboards and lighting, with everything tied together by the art and antiques placed throughout the rooms.
On the wall of the master bedroom hangs a chalk pastel painting of a natural landscape by Tyga Helme. We also added a bespoke geometric and textured wall feature in the principal bedroom. These panels can also easily be removed if the homeowner does not want to include them in the final design. The dusty, plaster pinks and olive greens provide a pop of colour contrasting the cool, neutral palette present in the rest of the principal bedroom's furnishings.
How did you approach the design of this outdoor space?
We wanted to treat the outdoor space as an extension of the interiors in the home that would also accentuate the finest feature of this property, its extraordinary view across London. Rising 16 floors above the city, this unique apartment oﬀers expansive views of London’s unparalleled skyline and nowhere more dramatically than from the terrace which has been beautifully landscaped and furnished with three seating arrangements, each complimenting a diﬀerent style of entertaining. When it came to sourcing the outdoor furniture, we made sure that they would be resilient to Britain’s ever-changeable weather conditions but still retain the modern aesthetic that you find in the rest of the property.