Interview: Snowden Flood
Snowden Flood gives us insight into her inspiration and she also offers some advice to aspiring interior designers.
For interior accessories designer, Snowden Flood, ‘Home is where the art is’ and this shines through in her designs which expose her love for urban and rural landscapes across the world. Snowden’s designs beautifully capture nature as well as her experience and knowledge of what she sees around her.
Snowden took some time out to answer our questions, and here’s what she said...
If you had 3 words to describe your style what would they be?
Eccentric, British, Nostalgia
Where does your inspiration come from?
Everywhere! From junk shops, art galleries, books, magazines and children’s drawings. Just going out of my front door and looking at the kids playing some odd game in the square; could be anything really.
Your work displays your love of landscapes and scenery. How much are your designs influenced by places you have been and experiences you have had?
Some are much related to experience, for example my Urban Landscape plates came from living in the north in a predominantly industrial landscape and sketches I’d done at the time. Others were inspired by things I found myself drawn to like the shapes that trees make at dusk against the sky; so that developed into a set of glasses. Other products, like my Rivers of the World cups and saucers, were inspired by a book I got from the local Oxfam store called “Great Rivers of the World’ – pieces by famous travel writers about river journeys. It was so evocative that I kept mulling over how you could draw an experience like that.
What’s your ‘hero’ product and why?
I love my world river cups and saucers because they are quite abstract and somewhat understated, and I like that it’s not immediately obvious what the design actually is! But in terms of general popularity, my hero products are the Battersea mugs, plates and aprons, because they are incredibly popular around the world!
Through your designs you explore the theme of souvenirs and keepsakes, is this influenced by your own nostalgic childhood memories and favourite holidays?
I think it has less to do with my nostalgia about my own holidays and more to do with being brought up in rural England by American parents. I was completely fascinated by their photos, stories and all the souvenirs of their former life, even their cars looked so glamorous. It all seemed so different from our lives in the UK, so far away! For example, my grandfather was a writer from California and was married to a silent film star and in a band with Bing Crosby’s brother. He later worked for William Randolph Hearst (who Citizen Kane was modeled on). I think you could say that 1960’s UK was a bit of a shock for my parents!
What is the most recent design product that you have bought for your home?
I have a bad flea market addiction! This week I became the proud owner of a 1940’s schoolroom poster of earthworms, for the princely sum of £4.
You spent many years at world-renowned New York architects Peter Marino & Associates. How much did you learn from this, and what was it like creating designs for clients such as Dior, Chanel and Louis Vuitton?
I learned lots working at Peter Marino. They are known for several things: the quality of the work but also for their ‘revolving door’ policy, i.e. it’s a very hard place to work and most don’t stay beyond 1 year (I worked for them for 8yrs!!). Part of my job was to travel to shows around the world and come up with ideas and concepts. I also had to find manufacturers to make the pieces we designed for our clients. So for example, I might attend a technical textiles show in Germany looking for manufacturers to weave a Chanel plaid in carbon fibre. Then I’d go to the Netherlands to see someone who could embed that fibre into resin panels for a new store in Japan. It was fun but stressful because these clients came to us to provide them with innovative ideas, and the level of quality always has to be the highest. The residential projects were fun, our clients were some of the richest in the world and wanted things in their houses that are completely unique. All good experience for my own business!
Who is your favourite interior designer of all time and why?
There are two that I particularly like. David Hicks for his use of colour and pattern and Oliver Hill because I love Art Deco and his mix of art deco and modernism is very stylish.
What’s your favourite material to work with and why?
I don’t really have a favourite material. I have ideas for everything and don’t really like to be restricted. If you insist I’d say bone china, I like the quality and warmth of it, the colours can be very pure.
What’s your favourite high street home furnishing brand/store?
To be honest I prefer to shop in smaller independent stores and tend to stay away from the high street in general. So… I’d head to Columbia Road in London; I like museum stores like the V&A and the Tate Modern. Other stores I like are places like Mint, Lucas Bond, Abigail Ahern. Out of London some favourites are Article in Dublin, the Craft & Design centre in Manchester, Home Autour du Monde in Paris, Rare Device in San Francisco and NY, the MoMA store and Moss in NY.
What advice would you give to aspiring interior designers?
Have fun and don’t be afraid of colour and personality! I’m not a fan of the beige and brown school of interiors I must admit! Look at people like Wary Meyers, Kelly Wearstler, Todd Oldham.
How important do you believe UK manufacturing is to our economy and the environment?
Well it’s very important to me personally. In terms of quality and integrity of a product it makes all the difference to be able to go to the factory and discuss the issues. I work very closely with my UK manufacturers, and they are following a tradition of craftsmanship that is a key part of the product. However, I would just say that it’s not always easy to manufacture here. Customers have become used to high-street prices and don’t always appreciate that those prices are a result of mass production and – sometimes – low quality. Not everyone wants to buy something that was lovingly and carefully made if it means they have to pay an extra £10 for it!
Are there any designers that you would particularly like to collaborate with in the future?
I like working with Alex Gorlizki and often find that looking at his work gives me ideas. I like Marian Bantjes and Leah Giberson and their work is interesting to me.
What new projects do you have on the horizon?
Lots! I’m working on some new products in polymers as part of a Hidden Art initiative. Also for Hidden Art, I’m part of a consortium proposing design-led gifts for the London Olympics. In addition to this I have two new product ranges in production and am finishing up production for some custom products for Chatsworth House in Derbyshire. Busy!
You can find more information and all of Snowden’s designs on her website at www.snowdenflood.com.