Set the stage at home: nine ways to add drama to your interiors

With the curtain raised on the Dublin Theatre Festival its time to put interiors with a sense of the dramatic into clear focus


Best in class: dramatic interiors.

Venetian masks

Let’s start by considering how to make an entrance. Amor is the latest Venetian pizza restaurant from the stylish Alajmo group. Located in Corso, Milan it has been designed by Philippe Starck who used the idea of back-lit and wall-hung Venetian masks, in a variety of sizes to help create a striking sense of place.; 

Dramatic installation

Lee Broom’s Kaleidoscopia has been the hit of London Design Week. The installation makes use of all sorts of theatrical sleights of hand from optical illusions to low ceilings to create an enclosed space while the mirrors make the room appear huge. The construction features 17 of his pieces that have fitted together to create this dramatic effect. When deconstructed the fixtures cost from €957 each and will work in ordinary the most everyday of homes. The best bit about the show-stopping presentation is that it has made architects and interior designers, classes of society that can take themselves far too seriously, burst into fits of laughter. Bravo.

Architecture sofa

If you’d like to channel the classics then consider a sofa that demands to be central stage. The luxury plush velvet architecture sofa, pictured in royal blue, by Touched Interiors, takes inspiration from the 17th Century and is a limited edition design. Made from a solid wood base its stone-look back is actually custom-sculpted resin planes designed to make it look crypt-like but easy to lift and move. Made to order the cost is eye-watering, about €37,000, the price of a very decent new car, but offers a lot in terms of dramatic effect. Shipping to Dublin will be about another €740. 

Sitting pretty

The greatest designers of the century talk about some of their favourite spaces in Interiors: The Greatest Rooms of the Century, published by Phaidon. Landing a job as an assistant to surrealist Salvador Dali straight out of college helped Baron Roger de Cabrol become a marquee name before setting up his own studio in the early 1990s. This East Side loft in New York with its gigantic red stiletto armchairs by de Cabrol in the living room steal much of the limelight in this exposed brick space. In isolation the heart-shaped bookends, Comanches at Sunrise by Charles Schreyvogel, hanging on a wall or the huge lump of coral might be considered kitsch but together the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Buy the book now from about €58. 

Gilded plinths

Even if you’re waiting in the wings to go on the space you occupy has a role to play, something that Brazilian architect and interior designer Sig Bergamin utterly understands, as is evidenced in this hallway where decorative rooster and chicken figurines roost on gilded plinths. To the rear of shot you can see how he uses dinner services and serveware to decorate the piers between windows in his book Maximalism, published by Assouline, €85.

Quixotic mix

Dramatic gestures don’t always have to be big and shouty. Little affections stage left or stage right can also direct the audience to what is going on. Directional design company Concrete Amsterdam’s work on the recently opened Citizen M Amsterdam, the latest affordable hostelry in the boutique hotel group, features such a quixotic mix with original artworks supplied from the city’s Foam Museum. The furniture, pictured was supplied by Vitra and Fermob while the lighting pendants are by Artek, Hatco, Gubi, Piet Hein Eek, Muuto and Moooi. If commissioning a carpenter to build bespoke shelving ask that the design be somewhat modular so you can change the height of the shelving to accommodate pieces of differing dimensions as you add to your collection.;;

Floor lights

You can use wall space to great effect by breaking it up in ways that create areas of interest within the expanse. The new floor lights by Foscarini, pictured, which have just debuted at the London-based Oneroom Gallery as part of Shoreditch Design Triangle, are, left to right; Rituals, pictured with a graphite base, €656; Gem, pictured with a gold base, €904 and Gregg, which has a white base, €991. The yellow arches offer visual points of interest.

Instagrammable aesthetic

Luke Edward Hall began selling antiques while still studying menswear at Central St Martins but it was his Saturday job at National Trust property The Vyne, a powerhouse since Tudor times in Basingstoke where he grew up, that first opened his eyes to the breadth of the decorative world. Burberry came calling and commissioned him to illustrate a campaign straight out of school, there’s been a limited edition collection for Liberty, a collaboration with Jonathan Adler and now Greco Disco, a new title by Teneues, that explores the art and design of his Instagrammable aesthetic, one he believes conveys “happiness and optimism,” just in a completely different way to Marie Kondo.

Maison Flanneur

Maison Flanneur is a new concept that answers those questions that you’ve asked when you stayed in a cool boutique hotel: Where can I buy this stuff? More than simply a smart bed concept, that hotel chain Westin pioneered this offers you a chance to first live with the furniture and furnishings and then once they made the cut you can buy them and have them delivered home with no bothersome attemts to squeeze into hand luggage. Pictured is the Marrakech-based El Fenn run by Vanessa Branson and Howard James. You can buy the striped cushion with piping to the far right of shot, from £72; the hammered gold vase on the table costs from £120 and the black cotton pop pom throw on the saffron yellow sofa costs from £180.;