Inside the Classic World of Luke Edward Hall

The English artist talks with InsideHook about influences, collaborating and his thoughts on rose gold

September 13, 2019 6:00 am
Luke Edward Hall Greco Disco
Luke Edward Hall, 2019 from Greco Disco

To step into the world of Luke Edward Hall is to fly backwards through time while simultaneously experience a dizzying vision of the future. Since 2015, the designer and artist has been making waves with his exuberant spin on the Classics — to scroll his Instagram (or shop his collections of homewares, shoes, and even Call Me By Your Name-inspired T-shirts) is to be transported to a world where Doric columns are sketched out loosely on the walls and where shocking pink silk and emerald green are considered neutrals. He’s done clothing for the iconic Positano hotel Le Sirenuse, cheeky velvet slippers for the uber-trendy Stubbs and Wootton, hats and rugby shirts with Rowing Blazers and interior styling and artwork for the auction house Christie’s and the fashion giant Lanvin. Greco Disco, Hall’s first book, published by teNeues, comes out this October.

InsideHook chatted with the London-based artist via email about his design philosophy, favorite books and which interior trends he’s ready to see fade into the past. 

Greco Disco feels like both a retrospective of your work thus far and a glimpse into what’s to come. What made you decide now was the time to publish a book?

teNeues approached me in the spring of 2018 with the idea of publishing a book — I adore books and had always dreamt of publishing my own, but thought I’d have to wait a few years. It felt like a good time to work on a book — I set up my studio in late 2015, so I had several years’ worth of work to show. I wanted it to be more than just a portfolio however, so we included bits and pieces from my childhood and university years, travel writings, inspirations and ephemera from my scrapbooks. 

Your work is filled with nods to literature and history — can you tell us a little bit about some favorites that especially come through in this book, and in your work at this particular moment?

I picked books by or about some of my heroes — Cecil Beaton, Jean Cocteau, Denton Welch, Peter Watson … They were romantics, kindred spirits that believed in the power of beauty.

(Luke Edward Hall’s collaboration with Stubbs & Wootton. Clouds (c.1822) by John Constable)

What advice would you give to people who tend to think of historic references and/or antiques as “stuffy” or “boring”?

Well, to label all historic references and/or antiques boring would be quite mad. I enjoy taking cues from the past, references and inspirations and interpreting them in a modern way, for example, through my use of bright colour.

Since we’re on the subject of antiquities — are there any particular pieces or images from ancient Greece that especially inspire you?

I’ve been a fan of Greek and Roman myths and legends since childhood and as I grew older and started working in interiors (and architecture to some extent), my appreciation of classical architecture began to increase. The myths provide the most inspiration for me however—the stories are so full of emotion, magic and mystery. The stories are a mine of fantastic imagery. 

You’ve done so many great brand collaborations — do you approach that kind of work differently from when you’re producing your own artwork?

It’s the same kind of approach — of course when I work with a brand or company the result is a collaboration and with my own work I can be utterly free from restriction, but luckily the people I work with tend to give me a lot of free rein. I work with people that I know will be totally on the same page as me.

It’s fall, so a lot of people are thinking about an interior refresh. What’s happening in interior design that excites you right now? Anything you think is especially tired or played out?

I tend not to think too much about trends. I’ve seen quite enough of rose gold and copper, however. 

What’s in your home right now that you absolutely can’t live without?

I’m going through a lot of incense at the moment — I buy sticks from Astier de Villatte and Czech & Speake.

Since we’re on the subject of books — are there any art books you especially love or feel inspired by and want other people to pick up?

Absolutely! I collect old and rare art, design and photography books. My favourites include Bruce Weber’s A House Is Not a Home, Cecil Beaton’s Scrapbook and Le Style Anglais 1750-1850, which is about the influence of English Regency furniture and decoration on French decorators.

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