Interviewing João Botelho, Casa Botelho
Posted on November 09 2018
Interview with interior and furniture designer, João Botelho of Casa Botelho while taking a tour of his beautiful London home.
Merging masculine design with glamorous style - I had the great pleasure of meeting João Botelho, the talented designer behind interior design studio and the furniture collections of Casa Botelho. Meeting at Botelho's beautiful London home for a design tour, I had the opportunity to discuss the story behind the brand; it's unique interior style and endeavours into new projects and fields for the brand.
How has your career evolved into this area of design to become Casa Botelho?
I had worked in luxury retail for the last twenty years. My last job was with Donna Karen New York, I was the managing director for the UK and international business development and in charge of UK, Asia and the Middle East for both retail and wholesale. That was pretty much what I had done my whole life until my partner and I decided to redevelop our home, the building you are sitting in now. With that project came a lot of creativity, redeveloping and designing everything from the very beginning, from bespoke furniture designs to room reconfiguration. Everything you see here has pretty much been developed from my ideas and designs, working with a great architect to ensure that the visions were implemented in a beautiful way. I absolutely loved doing it and the project enabled me to realise just how much passion I had for design and that I could also make something from it.
Your home was the first project that you completed, how has that helped establish your brand and style?
My home was the birth of the Casa Bothello idea. It all started here. I work from this location every day, we have meetings here with clients and it also acts as a showroom where clients can visit to see the interiors and furniture designs in a living and working space. Furniture designs can change quite a lot as we now have a showroom on King’s Road, allowing us to rotate and mix designs depending on where they are needed. The house also acts as a fantastic studio space for companies and photographers to come and complete photoshoots.
How have you approached designing your very impressive home?
Everything is about the detail. An example would be the corner units in the kitchen. I really wanted to have corner units on the kitchen island where the doors create the corner. We were told it would not be possible to create but with a lot of convincing and planning, we were able to pull it off. That small detail finishes the kitchen off perfectly. We also had the entire back of the kitchen custom made, allowing us to create zones and close them off when they are not in use. It is about emphasising the materials and to create that clean and masculine look, hiding accessories and appliances to create clean lines and expose the beautiful surfaces.
The garden feels like such an integral part of the home, how have you connected the space?
The concept for the garden is 'indoors meets outdoors'. We wanted it to be a direct extension of the house, creating an additional room. We are able to open the doors and creates a flow into the outdoors. We decided against having any grass, it is all stone and the greenery is maintained within pots so that they can be easily moved depending on how we want to use the garden. It is a fantastic entertainment space which has been split into several zones, places that act as a living space, another for a kitchen with a BBQ, it is very adaptable. The entire garden can be lit at night with different types of lighting, creating our own little oasis in the heart of Hackney.
When you were designing the interior, did it have an influence on your own selection of furniture designs?
My first collection was the Martini tables. The idea came from when I was trying to source small tables to have around the house and I just could not find anything that I loved or would fit correctly. The ones that I have designed have a strong architectural presence, perfected by the sharpness and masculinity of the materials used.
And your collections have now expanded into many more areas?
We started with furniture in small proportions because of the ways that people live today, especially when it comes to a city such as London. Properties and apartments are getting smaller and smaller but people still want to be able to have beautiful things within these spaces and I think that is what people are really drawn to is the size of a piece of furniture. We have now expanded into chairs, sofas, fabrics, rugs and home accessories. Our new rug has been launched with Jennifer Menners, it has been inspired by the facades that in the Loraine region of France, the beautiful metalwork that you see on the façades of buildings. It was a great partnership as Jennifer was able to translate the vision so beautifully into a rug design.
There is such a unique style that surrounds your work, how would you describe your design aesthetic?
Everything is very architectural, a 1930’s Art Deco meets industrial fusion which we love to call masculine glamour. It is all about the materials used and the small details that we include in each design. Apart from a select few accessories, everything you see has also been made in Britain, which is very important to us. Some of the accessories had to be made internationally due to the specific skills needed to produce them. A customer also described our work as “furniture that makes your heart beat faster” so that has become our slogan and focus of design
Would you say it is this aesthetic that your clients are attracted to?
Yes, customers see our products at exhibitions and projects advertised that and many want customised designs created from this that work with their lifestyles. They like the glamour, they have an understanding and a passion for material and finishes. They want bespoke, made to measure with unique requirements.
Are there any areas of design that you have not covered yet but would love to get into?
Yes, I would love to design wallpaper which I am hoping will be one of my next projects. We are currently designing a bedroom concept which involves designing pieces of furniture, like the bed, that relate specifically to this room.
Finally, I just have to ask; do you have a favourite piece?
It changes all the time but a few of my favourites are the Diana Drinks Trolley and of course the umbrella stand, it is so hard to find a sculptural umbrella stand like this one.