Kelly Hoppen: “Young people must learn to distinguish between what is real from what is fake” lifestyle
Hoppen analyses her extensive career with the Lifestyle magazine, with which she has an interesting meeting at the Only You Hotel in Madrid.
About to turn 60, this small and fibrous woman speaks with the same energy as she designs. In full burst of his successful career, with more than 40 projects underway, appearing in television programs, ten books published and one in sight, and two design studios; Hoppen is a woman with a clear vision. Quick and concise in each response, always looking straight ahead and in each reflection linking several current issues. No script is established.
Hoppen analyses her extensive career with the Lifestyle magazine, with which she has an interesting meeting at the Only You Hotel in Madrid. Her transgressive design vision led her to winning the Honorary Award this year at the 12th Porcelanosa Group Architecture and Interior Design Awards. An award which makes her especially excited, since “it is a company which is doing many things for interior design”.
Design as a way of life
A member of the Order of the British Empire and one of the 35 most current influential businesswomen, Hoppen returns to the world of yesteryear to find answers to the challenges arising in design, which is nothing but her life. “I lived surrounded by bohemia and art and my passion was to visit art galleries and read decor magazines. When all my friends played together at school, I prefered to look at houses. I loved to see the process of transforming a project from the beginning to the end, and it something that still fascinates me today,”she confesses.
“I love to see the process of transforming a project from the beginning to the end”
With an Estonian mother and an Irish father, Hoppen was born in Cape Town but two years later she moved to London. From that childhood in South Africa she remembers her beautiful grandparents’ house and the aesthetic and artistic upbringing she received from her parents.
When she was 16, her father died and Hoppen had to leave school to get by. She played in a group which is why music is so important in her life; she even designed a kitchen for her father´s friend. That’s when she knew she wanted to be a designer. “I always design with music. I adore it because when I hear sounds, I turn them into design and shapes. I ask my clients to define a space with a song. Boy George, for example, once mentioned “Here comes the sun” (The Beatles). I know it sounds a bit weird, but for me everything revolves around the sound. That is design”, she claims.
“When I hear sounds I turn them into design and into shapes. I ask my clients to define a space with a song”
Among her clients, there are great actors, singers and designers, such as The Beckhams and Martin Shaw. Being a very multi-faceted person, Hoppen’s work covers various areas ranging from interior design, hotels, yachts, offices or private jets. “Lately, I have chosen to design luxury hotels, since as I have designed a house for people who use these hotels, and I have a lot of information about what they like and what they don’t.”
For Hoppen, luxury is a concept linked to daily practicality; to coherence between the object and the environment. “Luxury is in the use of space and simplicity. We have spent years studying human beings and what their needs are; how little people actually need when travelling; what is the indispensable thing that people must carry in a suitcase, with the permanent challenge being to contribute a lot to a small space ”.
“Luxury is in the use of space and simplicity”
Her work methodology returns to that classic empiricism of trial and error and from it she finds the best solutions for each project. This is the case in her study ‘Conceptualization’ (Ideation), where she sorts out different issues and problems, as well as trying new ideas out with her creative team. “We tried some things out, we see the pros and the cons of each space and its functionality. This is something new for me and I am passionate about it”, she claims.
Travel to get inspired
Hoppen works constantly and tirelessly both in her two studios and at her home in London, an old auction house which she herself turned into a home. For her, like Picasso, inspiration always finds her working.
A maxim which endorses the 49 projects which she now finds herself involved in. “Creativity emerges in the craziest moments you can ever imagine. If you leave your comfort zone and your home, your mind opens up and you perceive new things”, she reflects with a certain mystical tone.
For Hoppen, one of the most important parts of a home is the bedroom. In her opinion, this room “is the natural resting place”, so you have to know how to read and deck out the space according to its nature. “In each space you have different experiences, but without a doubt the most difficult to decorate is the children’s room. Do you know why? Because it is the parents who should design their children’s room and they should get involved”, she rigorously states.
Technology and nature come together
The challenges and work schemes that have been created with the new technologies have brought about a change in the mentality of clients, but also in the interior designer’s. In her opinion, simplifying times and shapes is positive, as long as quality is not put at risk. “As a designer, I like fabrics and natural materials such as wood or mud, but we still have a long way to go to find the material of the future that is sustainable, harmless and pleasant. Therefore, technology has to be less complicated and more accessible and easy”, she notes.
For the designer, digital noise and fake news must be fought with more culture and more empathy. “Everything starts with education and young people must learn to distinguish what is real from what is fake. I grew up in a world without filters, much more real than this. I think that will be the title of my next book”, she dictates so that the idea does not slip her mind.
The prologue is already underway.