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Run For The Hills is an award-winning design studio based in London. We've featured their work for Kricket Brixton in our Travel section and, with the recent opening of Scarlett Green, we sat down with the team to learn about the creative services they offer and to see inside a few of their stunning interior projects.
How did Run For The Hills begin and is there a story behind the name?
Run For The Hills was founded 7 years ago, with the creative coming together of the established studio practices of interior designer Anna Burles and graphic artist Christopher Trotman (who also happen to be a husband and wife duo and parents to two boisterous toddlers). Deciding to go into business together, they formed a multi-faceted London design house, specialising in interior design, graphics and branding for private and professional clients. Merging their expertise and 20+ years of experience in the creative industries also meant bringing their talented teams into the fold. Run For The Hills is made up of a collective of interior designers, artists, graphic designers and web developers. There is no deep story behind the name, Run For The Hills. We just liked it and it seemed to encapsulate the spirit of us as partners in crime. It’s also very memorable, which is handy!
In terms of our backgrounds, Anna is a highly original interior designer, styling modern and traditional spaces in conceptual ways, devising exciting schemes full of creative touches, and artfully juxtaposing vintage and antique classics with next generation design. Her client list includes pop stars, stylish private individuals, and well known hospitality and retail brands.
The other ‘half’ of Run For The Hills is Chris Trotman, an award-winning London-based designer / art director / illustrator / general creative, with a couple of decades of experience across film, print and web. He has a strong background in branding, having worked in creative teams at most of London’s big Ad agencies and design houses, developing brands and communications. He also creates graphic art under the pseudonym of Dex, best known for his typographic maps.
“We can design almost anything from the interiors to the signage, uniforms, product design, furniture design, light pieces and anything else physical or digital. We are very lucky to love what we do, which we think shows in our work and also the way we work.”
Run For The Hills has 12 full time designers across interior design and graphics, working on an eclectic mix of projects. They are currently designing a boutique cinema and Kricket’s next big opening in Television Centre. They are also designing homes for singer-songwriter Ellie Goulding in London and New York, a long-time client.
Can you tell us about the creative services you offer and how these come together in your projects?
We offer a full suite of interior design, FF&E, co-ordination, sourcing, furnishing, procurement and styling services. We also design and make many of the custom art pieces, products and objects within our designs.
What does Run For The Hills specialise in, and what type of interior design projects do you work on?
We specialise in boutique hospitality and residential design, providing an all inclusive service, from spatial planning, concepts, lighting, graphics and branding to full contractor specification and documentation. We work on small to large scale projects. We like to help small F&B pop ups and shipping container brands on the way up. And we also love to partner with successful hospitality brands and groups, helping them create new concepts and working with them to develop their existing brands or roll them out. We work with private clients and creative property developers on the residential side, styling people’s homes, rented apartments, holiday homes, pied a terre’s.
The flagship roastery, coffee shop and restaurant of Artisan Coffee in China showcases distinct industrial accents and materials.
We'd like to say that above anything else, we have an original tone of voice when it comes to styling, adding lots of creative touches, and trying to artfully juxtapose vintage and antique classics with next generation design. We love to break rules and don’t like to be defined by one style, and we're also led by the tastes of our clients rather than trying to impose a style on them. So one project might be super zen and pared back. Others might be full on Boho. And others quite industrial and raw. We tend to pick out quirky pieces that tell a story, that provide a talking point and add humour to a space. That can then be the springboard for the design concept. For example, we sourced a large French wooden architectural model that would have been used to explain the architects’ proposals to their client, dating back to the C18th, which is now mounted on the wall of one of our singer clients’ homes, in place of a ‘traditional’ piece of art or wall hanging. It’s an amazing piece and fed into our use of materials and finishes within the design.
Anna's personal interior design style is very eclectic and changes regularly. She loves minimalist, industrial and raw, but also colour and pattern. And she always mixes vintage and antiques with modern design furniture and products and will never specify all new products in a design. She loves sourcing one-off vintage pieces and antiques. Sometimes we find the perfect piece to ‘fit’ our design scheme. Other times we find a piece and then build a scheme idea around it.
We can design almost anything from the interiors to the signage, uniforms, product design, furniture design, light pieces and anything else physical or digital. We are very lucky to love what we do, which we think shows in our work and also the way we work.
What does the design process of an interiors project look like from start to finish?
We follow the same process as architects, taking projects through the RIBA stages. But ultimately, each of our projects are always unique to the client. Essentially you are bringing them to life in a space and it has to reflect them, their tastes, their passions, their quirks, their attitude to life, whether it’s a commercial or residential design project.
Where does Run For The Hills find inspiration?
We find design inspiration everywhere we go. From a tiny joinery detail on a piece of furniture, or an industrial fixing on a train carriage door, which might feed into a current design. We touch and feel every fabric and finish in places we visit, from shops and restaurants to hotels and galleries. Our personal passion for art and fashion and antiques has a direct bearing on our work. We also love to travel and our camera goes everywhere with us, cataloguing scenes, colours, moods and details we love. On a professional project level, in the studio we often ban the biggest trends from our designs, to make ourselves come up with new and fresh approaches. Working with different clients, all with their own preferences, you also need to take your lead from them, grounding at least some initial thinking in periods and eras they like. But also, pushing their boundaries into exploring different styles and palettes.
We have designed cool projects without a huge amount of vintage and antiques, but our heart always comes back to mixing vintage and new. Using well worn, well loved pieces that have a story to tell is the thing which excites us most. And designing bespoke, one-off pieces that are truly unique.
Tell us about some of your recent interiors projects.
Recent exciting work has included the two storey bar and restaurant Scarlett Green in Soho, the under the arches cool Kricket Brixton, urban seafood restaurant Claw in Carnaby, and the lovely Mam restaurant in Notting Hill.
We would like to thank Run For The Hills for taking the time to talk to Warehouse Home. For more information, visit their website.
Rustic communal sharing tables at Kricket Soho set the scene for a social dining atmosphere.