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Edinburgh Art First interiors project - Edinburgh skyline

Edinburgh New Town ‘Art First’ Interior Design Project

Part 1: The Brief

Hi, I’m Genevieve. Recent graduate, fellow art admirer and interior style seeker – it’s lovely to meet you!

I’ll be keeping in touch over the coming weeks to share insights into Curious Egg’s latest Art First interiors project in Edinburgh. As always, we want to bring you with us on the creative journeys near and dear to our hearts. The Edinburgh Project Series is dedicated to sharing stories and sources and giving you plenty of tips and tricks along the way to inspire your own interior ventures. So, put the kettle on, pour yourself a cup of tea and make yourself comfortable.

Earlier this year, our resident Renaissance woman embarked upon a new and exciting project that puts into practice all that Curious Egg represents – a unique blend of art, architecture and interiors that wields the power to positively impact our wellbeing. The Edinburgh Project is a material expression of Lorraine’s holistic vision to create a totally personal space tailored to the family that will call it home: “I asked my clients to understand, what their home is going to be like – it doesn’t exist yet, there isn’t another one like it and there won’t be another one like it”.

There’s a sense of myth that surrounds the ‘interior designer’ and so many different perceptions of what that means. Coming to interiors as an artist creating works for public spaces, Lorraine’s creative approach is a little different from traditional, linear ways of working (you can read more about Lorraine’s approach here). I asked if she could explain her “circular” process, which places art at the centre of the development wheel, gathering and conveying her ideas:

It’s very organic and allows ideas to grow from the physical space. Art informs the design from the beginning. I have a little beaten book that I take everywhere with me and I jot my ideas down as soon as I think of them. I’ve always organised my thoughts in drawings and sketchbooks, so I continue to do that for this project. Equally, when working with timelines I will reluctantly use a spreadsheet to organise tasks, but I’ll also write lists and use a highlighter. I’ll pin images to the wall, cut out pieces of paper in books and bank my ideas.

Like Lorraine’s approach, the project itself emerged in a unique way. You know what they say about chance encounters. A call concerning Curious Egg products became a chat about wallpaper for a new property in Edinburgh. The client and his family had recently bought an apartment together that they planned to use as a holiday home and family gathering space. They discovered a shared passion for art and unusual interiors and the conversation soon developed into plans to meet and discuss the project further – what the client wanted the property to be, to represent and how they wanted to feel in the space.

Speaking with Lorraine about her initial inspiration and goals for the project, she highlighted that the property is jointly owned by two couples meaning that there are, in a sense, four clients – four individuals each investing something different in the property and four diverse tastes to be catered to. This simple fact is, at once, the most exciting and challenging aspect of the project.

As a starting point, Lorraine distributed an in-depth questionnaire that gave her insight into each person’s passions and vision for the space. To create a space that gratified each individual’s story and sense of style, Lorraine began to look at her clients’ connections to Edinburgh, their interests and places they have travelled to, subtly weaving snippets of conversations and her new understanding of each personality into a cohesive design that fulfilled the clients’ desire for the ‘wow-factor’; something different from the homes they currently live in, something special and spectacular, which is easy to keep but equally an exciting experience to go and visit.

The clients have close connections to the City of Edinburgh and wanted that to be visible in the décor, weaving Scottish context into the fabric of the home and using local suppliers and craftspeople where possible. Any trace of a stag, hare or thistle motif shall be avoided at all costs. This will not be the stomping ground of a single rainbow tousled heelan’ coo, thank you very much.

Lorraine studied Edinburgh’s history; a haven for botanists and home to a theatrical backdrop of antiquated stone. She focused on two key names from the city’s cultural history; sociologist Patrick Geddes and artist Ian Hamilton Findlay. Geddes wrote, “a city is more than a place in space, it is a drama in time”. He encouraged us all to “stop and think and wonder what the place you are currently at used to be like in times past, who walked there, who worked there and what the walls have seen”. Lorraine contemplated Geddes’ philosophy of family and society being at the heart of every city and reflected upon Finlay’s art garden, ‘Little Sparta’, where text is carved into stone and wrought iron gates. The visual poetry of this environment whispers to the backdrop of Edinburgh as a literary city and also to its physical makeup.

The relationship between city and family became an overarching concept for the design. Lorraine’s design aspires to take something from each of her clients and respond using the ingredients that come from their ideas to create something exciting and unexpected that feels absolutely like home. An opportunity for the family to interact in a relaxed environment full of elegant materials and flamboyant details; a space that is sophisticated with essential elements of quirkiness and fun.


geddes inspired concept diagram

The ideas are starting to flow and now comes the exciting part. What happens when four peoples tastes come together? Will sparks fly? Will they find common ground, or will a family feud ensue? Find out in the next episode!

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