Luke Edward Hall has become one of the most well-known names in the design world. Which I imagine is a surprise to him as he originally studied fashion at Central St Martins. Whether it is fashion or interiors, colour is colour and Luke has a knack for dealing with it. His first foray into interiors was antiques where he, his partner the designer Duncan Campbell, and great friend Haeni Kim (founder of the label Kitri Studio) started Fox & Flyte, an enterprise that aims to rehouse vintage objects and curiosities with the modern buyer. "It is our belief that beautiful things can improve the quality of your life," they say. "But then again, perhaps you just need some teaspoons." One of their first customers was Ben Pentreath (mine was my mother) who soon after offered them the Pentreath & Hall pop up shop, which has homed some of the biggest names in interiors (Tat September 2019). Luke went on to work with Ben for two years, attesting: 'I love Ben's style and eye, and I learnt so much about putting interior schemes together.' Not a bad place to cut your teeth! After a few years, Luke braved the world of design by himself; sadly no one ever heard of him again. Just kidding. The boy done good. He has worked with some of the biggest names in fashion and design, Richard Ginori, Burberry and Lanvin to name but a few. He recently completed a hotel in Paris, Hôtel Les Deux Gares; even during our numerous lockdowns, he has managed to cause a major buzz. In January 2021 The Breeder Gallery in Athens presented 'Figs and Honey and Sailing', Luke's first solo exhibition in Athens. I can only imagine the pain of not seeing your pieces in a gallery first hand. But from the rose-tinted window of Instagram, Luke and Duncan have made their Gloucestershire home into a colourful sanctuary from covid, filled with textiles, gardens and their wonderful pup Merlin. I know Instagram is no way to judge someone's life, but for a spectator like me, it has been a joy to see the home they have created there. Between his busy work life and his beautiful home he managed to fit Tete a Tat in and I am hugely grateful!
What is your favourite day of the week?
At the moment it feels as if all days sort of blend into one, but in more normal times I do love a Saturday: it’s the day of the week when my partner Duncan and I will venture out from our hobbit house here in the Cotswolds and visit a garden or a big house, do some tat hunting, get well and truly stuck into a long lunch... It’s also comforting to know in the back of one’s head that Sunday is still around the corner.
Do you believe in ghosts?
Well, yes. I was quite into the occult as a teenager and I still am very much fascinated by witchcraft, legends and folklore. I’m not sure that I see ghosts as translucent, milky people hovering about the place, but I do believe in places and people having energies. Our cottage is close to the Rollright Stones and apparently, there is a sort of ‘cousin stone’ to these very, very old stones in the field next to us, hidden by brambles. I like to think this neighbour stone is happy there, radiating magical energy, blessing us and our crops!
Favourite Piece Of Furniture?
Duncan and I are both big fans of gilt and silvered Venetian grotto furniture. A year or so ago we noticed a grotto chair with a shell-shaped seat and back in a favourite shop, Twig in Tetbury, and we eventually caved and got it for the cottage. You don’t seem to see them for sale very often. I’m not really precious about furniture – I want things to be used and I’m not bothered about little scuffs or whatever, but this chair is quite fragile. Our friend said she’d bring a withered old thistle to put on it like you see in National Trust houses. I love grotto furniture because it’s so bonkers and otherworldly – complete fantasy.
Favourite Piece of clothing?
Ah, I love clothes, and my favourite piece changes all the time. At the moment it might be the Regency-style pink silk waistcoat I found on eBay before Christmas. It was made perhaps 100 years ago by a London costume company, probably for the theatre. In terms of the things I wear the most, though... I love my Bode patchwork coat (I’m a big fan of everything they’re doing over in the States) and there is a particularly loved old tank top stuffed at the bottom of my wardrobe that I’ve been wearing for about a decade – Benetton from the ‘90s – it’s brown with a diamond pattern in orange and mustard.
Any good advice? Who gave it to you?
Duncan comes out with this occasionally: ‘Navigate by the stars, not by other ships.’ It’s a lovely phrase, and it reminds us to follow our own hearts, our own visions.
What is the thing keeping you sane at the minute?
Simple things. Hot baths, our dog, books. The fact that spring is coming. We planted about 1,000 tulip bulbs back in November in an array of dusty peaches, pinks and buttery yellows. I cannot wait to get my army of vases dusted off and into action. Comforting telly, too, like Two Fat Ladies – we’ve been making our way through these heavenly cookery programs starring Clarissa Dickson Wright and Jennifer Paterson. All that ’90s food... Buckets of cream and butter... Very comforting. Our friends think it’s funny that we watch the same murder mysteries on repeat – mostly Agatha Christie’s Marple and Jonathan Creek. Cooking, of course! We’re lucky because we live close to some really fab farm shops, butchers and village stores. Next on my list is rice pudding. Haven’t cooked that in years.
Favourite Tube Stop/ Line?
I always liked Tottenham Court Road with its mosaics by Eduardo Paolozzi. (I think they’ve been moved to the new station? I haven’t paid it a visit since it reopened.)
Hmm! Camilla Rutherford in Gosford Park. I think that, if I was a girl, I’d want big, sideways hair and massive shining eyes, like her character. She looks like a beautiful deer caught in headlights. Or Tilda Swinton in Orlando. With those huge Elizabethan sleeves and that mane of tangerine hair.
A young Jude Law. Hugh Grant in Maurice. Also a young Peter Watson, the art collector and benefactor. Cecil Beaton described Watson as a ‘tall, gangling young man, with the face of a charming codfish’. He always looks kind of sad in pictures. Sad but beautiful. (I can’t recommend his biography, Queer Saint, enough.)
A song that can always make your foot tap?
I’m really into 1980s synth-pop and new wave, so I’d have to say something like What! by Soft Cell or, the ultimate one-hit wonder, State of the Nation by Industry (the ‘American Spandau Ballet’) – I heard this on a taxi radio in Rome a few years ago and was so blown away, I had to scribble the lyrics in my sketchbook to make sure I could track it down. Over the last few years I’ve been obsessed with the Swedish artist Molly Nilsson – I listen to her all the time. Nilsson’s gothic, doomy, super lo-fi pop songs are made with cheap keyboards and are very fun to dance to.