Charlotte Rey

In partnership with Bang & Olufsen, we meet the design consultant bringing her “more is more” philosophy to London’s interiors.

As one half of design consultancy Campbell-Rey, Charlotte Rey has built a business around a steady belief in her own good taste and her eye for offbeat beauty. After meeting business partner Duncan Campbell while they were both editors at Acne Studio’s biannual print publication, they struck out to found their own London-based practice in 2014. A roster of prestigious clients—from Bulgari to Bentley—have followed suit. Rey, who recently moved into an apartment in Notting Hill, elaborates on the joys of maximalism, her need for nature, and how the fundamentals of personal style translate when moving home.

How would you describe your design style?

My aesthetic is very colorful and quite bonkers at times. I like mixing historical objects with new things, and I’m really drawn to pieces that have a beautiful material or finish or an aspect of human craftsmanship to them.

How do such tastes translate into a home?

I love the idea of a style being warm, convivial and fun. I’m not somebody who goes for a space that needs interpretation, or a house that is so minimalist that when you put a glass down it throws the energy of the room off-kilter. I like a room that gets better with time and that gets better with the more people in it.

What are the fundamentals of good design?

Design should bring joy and beauty to other people. It’s something that is common sense, yet it’s also close to the human heart and experience. In general, people are quite scared of notions of style and beauty. An overall rule is to be a little bit more adventurous. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes in the journey of understanding what you find beautiful.

How do you integrate technology into spaces that have a heritage feel?

It’s important that a heritage space doesn’t become nostalgic, but showcases the best of the past with the best of the present in order to stay relevant. We make a point of mixing high and low culture, the modern and the classic, the decorative with the minimalist—so integrating technology has never posed a challenge for us. Today, a lot of technology is crafted so beautifully that it becomes a design object in its own right. You can either build in things like speakers, or you can place them on top of a stack of books so that they become a little vignette in themselves.

You’ve lived in London for the past decade. How does the city inspire your creative work?

Because London is so old, and there’s been such an influx of creativity, it’s had many different imprints over many different times. From a design perspective, it’s a constant stream of things that are interesting. I like being challenged in my tastes and being surprised by something I might not have thought I would like at first glance.

You regularly move home. How do you maintain a consistent style in each new place?

I own a lot of books so wherever I go, and whatever furniture or colors I have in my house, those books anchor what it looks like. It’s a lot of lugging around though!

How does music inform the work you do for clients?

Music can really inform and set the mood of a room so it’s important to understand how sound resonates without becoming dominant in a space. With a video it can fundamentally change the narrative of the final product, and with an installation it can be used to either draw people towards something or direct them in a different direction.

How do you like to unwind?

I try to walk a lot. It allows me to take things in at a slower pace. At home, I drink a lot of tea, sketch, and read. I grew up in Sweden and spent a lot of time by the sea and in the forests as a child. I find it is very helpful to remove myself from the pace of the city in order to fully appreciate it upon return.

What’s one way to lead a more beautiful life?

A refusal to settle. If you walk into a restaurant, ask for the table by the window; when you’re buying a cushion, choose something that you really want rather than something you’re okay with.

This feature was produced in partnership with Bang & Olufsen. The product featured in this photoshoot is the Beoplay A9 speaker.


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