LUX Autumn 2018

54 1805LU15 Established in 2012, Northern Backdrop Interior Design is a boutique multidisciplinary design studio based in Cheshire. In April, the studio was named among the winners of LUXlife Magazine’s esteemed 2018 Leading Designers Awards with the title of Most Outstanding Boutique Interior Design Company. Following this achievement, we spoke with Owner and Creative Designer, Vincent Smith, who offered a remarkable insight into his unique creations. Offering complete design and project management services, Northern Backdrop has forged a reputation for an outstanding quality of work, and a highly-personalised touch, winning critical acclaim and awards across hospitality, commercial and residential sectors. With his hands-on experience working as an Design Manager for The Orchid Group, Vincent has gone on to create a firm that is small in size, but large in scope and ability; “The business provides a whole ‘concept to completion’ package for design and build. This includes interior design concept development, architectural drawing and services, project management and construction. Alongside this, Northern Backdrop offers procurement, graphic design and branding as well as utilising the services of bespoke crafts and trades to create individual items within the design.” Impressing with an ability to take on large- scale projects with an ease that would be a challenge for studios many times Northern Backdrop’s size, Vincent values an approach defined by ‘going against the grain’ - being, fundamentally, different; “The ability to think and do things differently is probably key, plus having the will to execute ideas that are out of the norm. Leonardo da Vinci is quoted as saying that ‘simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’ and I think that great design often follows this maxim. Making an informed decision about fewer elements and paying attention to their detail ensures that these elements will ‘sing’ when the final scheme is delivered and creates something memorable.” Equally, another of Vincent’s strengths lies in his ability to work one on one with a client, ensuring a seamless collaboration, and, ultimately, realisation of the design brief, “I work very closely with the clients. It’s a relationship where there is always a lot of interaction and clarity about where the scheme is going, both in creative and budgetary terms. The benefit of being a boutique practice is that the client always one single point of contact with the designer - they are getting personal attention on their project.” “My approach to design is quite also quite different than a lot of practices. The company prides itself on creating uniqueness and points of difference, setting out not to follow trends or produce ‘off the peg’ schemes, but to deliver something individual for the client.” Combining modernist, almost avant-garde styles with classical elements offers Vincent the opportunity to find inspiration in every aspect of life, from pop culture to the natural world; “It’s about thinking differently. I often look for influences and ideas that have no direct relationship to interior design and translate and re-apply those ideas within it. These can be from very eclectic sources – film, record covers, art, nature – whatever I see that looks like it could be interesting when translated into an interior I will try and make work. Every good designer should want to ‘raise their own bar’ in terms of your design ambition, so it’s important to keep yourself constantly stimulated with new ideas and influences, whatever the source.” Vincent’s unique style, typified by Scandinavian and mid-century flourishes, lends itself well to his projects. His portfolio is a celebration of colour and light, of striking lines and shapes elegantly composed into a cohesive whole. Many of his projects have involved reinvigorating the working space - breathing life back into tired walls. Vincent’s work in refurbishment is particularly remarkable, re-imaging the traditional with modern touches, yet keeping the spirit of the building alive. We asked Vincent if he has a favourite project, “Choosing favourites in terms of success is always difficult to gauge, as Photography by Ollie Harrop An Advocate for Bespoke Interior Design