Tara Bernerd is described by GQ as 'the first lady of interiors', famed for her bold use of vivid colour. Her creative direction and design firm offers a boutique service and has won several prestigious awards. We caught up with Tara to discuss her style and plans for the future ...
Q) When and how did you first discover interior design?
A) I think I have always been affected by interiors, detail, furniture and from my earliest memories I was inspired by beautiful places and the unusual when I travelled. Interior design is perhaps something that’s always been inside, yet I’ve been lucky enough to develop this passion.
Q) You are known in the industry for your bold use of vivid colour – How did this love affair with colour begin and how do you consistently make it work?
A) Colour can bring mood and atmosphere and is something I have to date not shied away from. There are moments where strong colours will be key, yet I am always conscious to remain fairly monogamous and not overuse or over-mix. There are moments where I am drawn to a more serene palette. I think the key with colour is not to be afraid and not to overdo it.
Q) You are not afraid to mix old and new styles in your designs – How do you strike the perfect balance?
A) It has always been my reflex to mix old and new, from a 1950s light in a room with a Minotti chair; from inheriting exquisite mouldings, yet introducing the most modern of resin floors. It is my interest, as in people, to discover layers and in design this mix brings character and indeed layers.
Q) Where do you find your inspiration?
Q) What is the most unusual project you have ever been commissioned to undertake?
A) It is not so much the unusual, as opposed to the diversity and at any one time we can be working on projects that are so radically different and I believe this random mix is incredibly stimulating.
Q) Who would be your dream client and why?
A) A hotelier who had no need to value-engineer.
Q) Where are your favourite haunts to relax in your spare time outside of work?
A) For me it’s all about informal and cosy. If I’m in London seeing friends, big log fires or dinner at Pizza East, Notting Hill or browsing around book shops and early drinks at the library at Belgraves might just do it for me.
Q) Who are your favourite designers currently working in the industry?
A) Recently I have been interested in the work of Louis La Place, who has an exceptional eye for mid-20th Century furniture. I think Nick Jones has great vision and brings out the best in his designers; and always Liaigre.
Q) What advice would you give to a young interior designer just starting out in their practice?
A) Concentrate and be very aware of the design journey, i.e. however strong your concept is, delivering it, its fruition is as relevant, if not more.
Q) How important a role do you think art and framing plays in interior design?
A) Integral. It’s like a novel without punctuation.