Q&A with Portia Fox

In February 2021, the first Thirty Casson Square show apartment at Southbank Place was revealed. Boutique interior designer, Portia Fox, discusses her inspirations behind the striking design that sets the precedent for luxury living on the South Bank.

 

The 30 Casson Square Penthouse

Q&A with Portia Fox

As a boutique luxury design studio, what was your approach to a luxury development and specifically Southbank Place?

We were thrilled to be asked to work within Southbank Place, it has been such a fantastic opportunity. The location, right next to the banks of the Thames, is so cool and vibrant and it has such an incredible urban energy. As soon as you get up into the apartments though there is a real feeling of peace looking over the bustling city below, and the views of Westminster, the London Eye and Buckingham Palace are amazing.

The juxtaposition between the calming apartments and the buzzing energy of London, was really inspiring and gave us lots of ideas when it came to designing the Thirty Casson Square show apartment.

What were the main inspirations behind your design for the Thirty Casson Square show apartment?

Initially we drew from the soul and history of the area which influenced our palettes and material choices. But once in the apartment it was the incredible views of the iconic skyline and the majesty of the Thames snaking across London that really inspired how we arranged the apartment and directed our unique original pieces, taking the organic flow and curve of the river and mixing it with the bold geometry of the architecture.

Many pieces in the show apartment, such as the sophisticated blue birds-eye maple cabinet / bar, are bespoke and designed in-house, is this a service you offer across all of your projects?

We are proud to excel at creating the extraordinary and ensuring we deliver bespoke designs is something we do across all of our projects. Our custom-made designs can range from needing to create furniture for practical solutions, such as an awkward slanted ceiling through to providing exceptional exclusive one-of-a-kind pieces available nowhere else in the world.

 

Ensuring our clients are at the heart of each individual project, we collaborate with them to provide a bespoke service on everything from furniture and lighting to printed leathers, wall finished accessories and much more. For example, the leather for the upholstered bar stools in the kitchen at Thirty Casson Square were exclusively designed in house and crafted by a specialist maker in south west London

Many pieces in the show apartment, such as the sophisticated blue birds-eye maple cabinet / bar, are bespoke and designed in-house, is this a service you offer across all of your projects?

Why did you place such an emphasis on working with British makers on these bespoke pieces?

Our decision to work with a number of domestic makers was a combination between the quality of their creations, as well as the ease of collaboration. Britain is home to so many amazing craft industries, well known for their high-quality pieces made to last and time-honoured techniques passed down through history. We’ve built a great network of makers who are masters of their craft, from cabinet makers to metal workers, we just love working with them.

 

As so many of our designs are bespoke, the process of creating the piece from drawings through to it physically being ready requires a lot of communication and trust. Working closely with craftspeople in Britain means we are able to regularly visit the workshops to discuss different possibilities for the pieces or to work through any issues that arise.

Southbank Place has had broad sales appeal, what type of buyer did you have in mind when designing the Thirty Casson Square show apartment?

Located in one of the best addresses in the city, in addition to its completely unique nature, the show apartment lends itself to someone with a true love of London and city life, as well as someone who perhaps likes to entertain (once restrictions allow). It would be a great pied-a-terre, or for a Londonphile looking for a home with the wow-factor or even as an investment opportunity.

Southbank Place has had broad sales appeal, what type of buyer did you have in mind when designing the Thirty Casson Square show apartment?

What is your favourite design element within the Thirty Casson Square show apartment?

Working on the Thirty Casson Square show apartment has been such a great experience and it’s difficult to pick one favourite thing about it. I really love the use of the colour in the reception and entertaining space, which is bold and sophisticated, featuring dashes of deep royal blues and rich burgundy. Additionally, the interaction of the artwork with the furniture, particularly in the dining area which boasts a commissioned piece of bespoke artwork.

 

I think our absolute favourite piece of bespoke furniture within the show apartment would have to be the brass and veneer pivoting coffee table, something which could be found in a gallery. It is both spectacular looking and extremely practical due to its pivoting top, and we love it so much we are going to launch it as a limited edition of six.

And finally, what is next for Portia Fox?

We’re excited for the year ahead, we are working with some repeat clients which is always really interesting and fun as we get to create totally different styles of design for them, either to reflect changes in lifestyle habits, architectural spaces, briefs or more often than not a collection of all three of these things.

 

We’re also working on some new projects both domestically, across Mayfair and Knightsbridge and internationally in Dubai and Singapore. This year has certainly been a challenge, but we’ve been lucky enough to continue our design adventure, growing the team along the way and are looking forward to a more positive outlook with the vaccine rollout.

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