As uncomfortable as the current lockdown may be, confinement has a history of inspiring great art. During the aftermath of the bubonic plague in 1606, Shakespeare reportedly wrote two plays – King Lear and Macbeth. Whilst recovering from the Spanish flu in 1919, Edvard Munch (his artwork ‘The Scream’ feels a little too literal right now) quickly resumed his painting. And in total and voluntarily isolation, Henry David Thoreau wrote the novel Walden.
As stay at home orders went into effect for the near and far, at Kensington Design we couldn’t help thinking of what new creations would emerge from other designers, stuck at home, and most all without access to their studios. Whilst many worry and are glued to the news 24/7, we are looking to those that are trying to keep busy – whether that means experimenting with new materials, creating DIY tutorials for Instagram followers, or finding new ways to support the design community from the confines of their homes. At Kensington Design we’ve created a guide on how to follow their lead to keep your creative juices flowing – whether you’re a practicing designer or not.

Sign up for an A-lister’s guide to the art of interior design at the online masterclass website – hailing from the US, Masterclass has an amazing array of over 80 classes to choose from, with each topic taught by A-list talent. From acting classes by Natalie Portman, cooking with Gordon Ramsey and self-expression and authenticity by RuPaul – there’s a class suited for anyone. Current or budding interior designers or enthusiasts can now learn how to create a striking scheme from renowned designer, Kelly Wearstler. Over 17 videos, Wearstler teaches the fundamentals of interior design, including on how to approach awkward spaces, how to maximise space and how to choose the right colours, textures and patterns for a project. Anyone who joins the class will even get to go on virtual ‘field trips’ to the Proper Hotel in downtown Los Angeles and a tour of Wearstler’s own living room.

Kelly Wearstler Masterclass in interior design

Treasured Objects:
The director of The Liminal Space, Sarah Douglas understands the importance of tangible and tactile objects in their work process and has brought in a new way to continue this lesson through remote work meetings. The team now kick off each online group meeting with a Show & Tell session. Each team member chooses and an object in their home that sparks joy for them right now and then shares a story about their chosen object. Douglas says that objects have ranged from precious to the obscene, but emphasizes that all the objects we own contain tales of places we’ve been, our relationships and our histories. Douglas continues that instead of pretending it is normal to be popping up in client’s homes, we’re all leaning into the wonderful opportunity to discover more about each other’s tastes and spaces. Finding joy and inspiration in this familiar and personal objects feels even more important during this uneasy and strange time.

zoom work meeting call

Connecting People:
Creatives worldwide are connecting more than ever online. Artist Liza Lou tapped her followers to join her in making a blanket/throw from using old scrap fabric, with hopes that their crafts can be admired and hung from their windows or balconies. Meanwhile, New York ceramist Eny Lee Parker took to Instagram also to organize a competition called Clay Play. For this competition she chose seven people (who had expressed interest in the comments) and will send them a batch of oven-bake clay. She has then asked them to mould in miniature, their perfect idea of a room. Even those that were not any of the selected seven are being encouraged by Eny to buy their own clay and also participate. Prizes for the competition include winning one of Eny Parker’s own ceramic light fixtures.
The founder of Kinder Modern, Lora Appleton is instead focusing more on the Female Design Council, where they have virtual meetings and look to bring tools, information and support to the group.

Teach People:
Laila Gohar, known for her surrealistic culinary wonders, is also staying safe at home like the rest of us. However, she is using her popular Instagram account to teach her followers her simple techniques for recipe staples such as beans, greens and chicken coup. Gohar has already inspired countless at-home cooks worldwide to try their hand at these simple pleasures.
Lighting designer Lindsey Adelman is teaching “painting for non painters”, where she instructs her followers to trace household produce like sweet potatoes or avocados that they then can turn into wonderful compositions with watercolours.

Thinking of Ways to Help:
As we see an urge for more face masks or equipment, designers such as Misha Kahn and Tyler Hays of BDDW have followed the lead of more major companies such as Hanes (which will make face masks) and Pernod Ricard (which will produce hand sanitiser) to offer their manufacturing capabilities to anyone who can use them. A New York upholstery company Stitchroom has also gone the extra mile and channeled all its resources into making masks, and has even created a website that links hospitals in need of these supplies with the designers who can make them.

Keep Boredom at Bay:
After closing all of his shops in London, LA and New York, Tom Dixon has launches his own series through his digital channel to help banish boredom, inspire creativity, share ideas and to stay connected throughout the lockdown period. From talks about how gardening can be a saviour for our world, to behind-the-scenes making videos and craft projects using household objects, every day brings with it a new topic and an insight into the world of the British designer. Catch daily videos Monday-Friday at 3pm on Tom Dixon social media channels and his microsite.

Tom Dixo

Although everyday life seems a little strange for the moment we hope through the medium of creativity that people can be distracted or inspired. Now is a great time to get plan any design or renovation that was either on your lists of ‘things to do’ or you now feel inspired to pursue. No matter how small, Kensington Design would be delighted to help with any design enquiry. Contact us here for any design advice or enquiries you may have.