No.12 was born, and from day one potential clients came calling. Often they were tired of being presented with the same old, predictable solutions. Since then the practice has grown at pace. Fast forward to today and – on the foundations of shared backgrounds at some of the most impressive and high caliber interior design agencies in London – Katie and Emma have successfully established their own.
Having completed a number of sizeable, world-class projects to their name in under three years, No.12 is proof that interior design needn’t be archaic to be elegant. Stylish doesn’t have to equal stuffy, even at the uppermost end of the spectrum. Just as every other creative sector – from fashion to film – has experienced common creative leaps and bounds, so too can interiors evolve while remaining true to the principles of fine craftsmanship, provenance and heritage.
It is often supposed, even today, that the more luxury an interior design project is, the more opulent it must be. The more layers, the more adornment, the more ‘show’. But in an age when the biggest luxuries are in fact calm, space, light and beauty, this simply no longer needs to be the case. Being brave about their selections, letting their designs and the pieces within them stand, simply, for themselves, is what sets No12 apart.
While their aesthetic is very much their own, it is born from the founders’ clear understanding of sophisticated interior spaces, how to design exquisitely in terms of detail and selection, while never overloading it. Having a huge respect for vintage classics, midcentury furniture, Modernism and its great masters, and being able to apply those lessons to a contemporary vision with luxury and refined sophistication is part of the studio’s DNA.
‘Interior design’ today is a vague term that can encompass everything from fundamental architectural adjustments to simple surface decoration. With its two founders each coming from opposite ends of the design spectrum, No.12 has a 360-degree offer. Space planning is as crucial to the success of a space as the materials and colours, or the breathtaking pieces that will provide a showcase.
Gasholders London was, say Katie and Emma, the project that launched No.12. Joining forces with Wilkinson Eyre to design the interiors of one of London’s most prominent architectural developments was an opportunity not only to make their own mark, but also to show respect for their collaborators, the building, and a project that had had a long life already.
Similarly, with The AllBright, the UK’s first female only members’ club, No.12 slotted in seamlessly to a fast-moving project with a strong agenda. In the heart of Bloomsbury, Virginia Woolf’s stomping ground has been beautifully reimagined with a thoughtful, supremely chic interior design. Including – as every one of their projects tends to do – a wealth of bespoke pieces across its five floors, its impeccable execution is decadent yet distinctly different.
Never working to a formula, Emma and Katie do have a rigorous approach that underpins every project. Interrogating and internally challenging their own design concepts constantly through the design process, while maintaining a level of understanding and sympathy to the building, location, client and brief, is key to their continued success. It’s a working process that comes only from knowledge, experience and an intuitive ability to curate – quietly, carefully, and consistently – with confidence.
Just as their name was chosen to directly swerve the typecasting that comes with being a young female-led practice, in the two years since setting up No.12 has amassed a huge breadth of work. From small apartments to vast penthouses, from private members’ clubs to the most expensive private offices in London, the team has amply proven that uplifting and inspiring design is never a one-size-fits-all formula. Rather, it comes from going the extra mile to consider those who will the end inhabitants of a space, and from plundering the depths of their networks to find and/or make the perfect pieces to fill it.
- Address 2-4 Rufus Street, 3rd Floor, 95125 London | United Kingdom
No.12 was founded in 2015 with a simple mission: to provide an elegant, holistic, fresh approach to interior design. It was a gap that Katie Earl and Emma Rayner had recognised, time and again. During years spent working on the typical luxury interiors that have come to characterise the sector, they understood that ideas of what constitutes luxury were changing fast in other sectors. And they saw a need for a new aesthetic that took beautiful, unique designs and translated them into more...