Charu Gandhi established Elicyon in 2014, driven by a desire to combine the rigors of her architectural practice with her creative flair and passion for design and craft. Together with her dynamic team of talented Designers, Architects, and Project Managers, Charu takes each client on a highly personalized journey, working closely with them throughout the design process to understand they’re brief and capture it through her vision by establishing a design language that is appropriate to them, the project, location, architecture, and history. We had the opportunity to interview this top interior designer and we will share everything with you. Enjoy!
Elicyon is a luxury design studio based in Kensington, London that offers Interior Design, Interior Architecture, and Project Management services. Their objective is to create unique and exclusive environments tailored to the individual requirements of their clients, crafted with precision and care, in some of the most desirable, prominent locations in the UK and internationally.
Charu Gandhi loves design and be creative, so be an interior designer was a natural choice. She loves the fact that she is learning the world through design, whether that be experiencing new cultures when they travel for their projects or meeting interesting craftspeople and makers in all areas of the globe. It of course helps that their clients are also incredibly inspiring individuals. The industry generally is very fast-paced and so she enjoys that their studio is being challenged and that they are stretching ourselves, they are constantly evolving and that’s an exciting journey.
When we ask what was the most challenging time of Charu Gandhi’s career, she said that was about six years into practicing architecture, she went through a phase where she felt disillusioned, the projects she was working on were heavily restrained. There were many rules around planning, rights of light, consulting with neighbors, and budgetary constraints and she felt like she was losing touch with the creative aspect, and she really struggled with that.
When she moved to Candy & Candy, she fell back in love with the design all over again; there they had generous budgets, enviable projects in the most incredible locations and the clients allowed us to work with craftspeople again and champion individual makers, which was important to Charu Gandhi. The fact that she has continued to design schemes that she loves is what keeps she going.
Whilst, she is incredibly grateful and proud of where Elicyon is today and what the team has created over the past seven years on this journey with her. She certainly doesn’t feel as though she is done… if you ask her what her favorite project she will always say that it’s the next one. It’s the excitement of the new, and she is very much looking forward to adding to the Elicyon portfolio.
Projects are like children, every single one is special and unique for its own reasons, so, Charu Gandhi, it’s impossible to pick a dream project as they are so lucky with all the projects they get to work on, they’re all dream projects really! Charu Gandhi tells us that is dream project always will be to build a house in India for her family. It’s where she is from and their parents never fully finished the home they started building in India when they were younger as it became too ambitious a project to continue with. Now, with Charu Gandhi’s experience in project managing, her background in architecture, and her passion for interior design, it’s something she likes to embark on to honor her parent’s dream as well as hers.
For Charu Gandhi, to be a good designer serving the clientele that they work with, you need to have an innate interest in people and the way in which they live or aspire to live within their home. She has been blessed to work with clients from every continent and has learned to combine her knowledge and understanding of various cultural needs with a client’s individuality and their own specific desires and tastes.
Charu Gandhi finds the process of working with individuals and characters to bring out their individual expression – be it through private collections, hobbies, ways of living – one of the most delightful aspects of her work and a cornerstone of our design philosophy. Their process as a team is very much journey-based, and it’s one they are constantly refining based on the client brief and the overall concept. They want each client to fall in love with design, with craft, and to have a sense of self-actualization.
When we asked about design projects that Elicyon is working at the moment, Charu Gandhi tells us that they are working on an incredible lake house in the English countryside, a large family home in West London, and a penthouse at Battersea Power Station. Further afield. Also, they are currently working on two private projects in Dubai, looking at projects in the South of France and continuing our foray into yacht design.
About the trends at the moment in the design world – creatively speaking, Charu Gandhi tells us that 2020 and 2021 have been the years of outdoor socializing and they expect this to be the case again this summer and Autumn. Their clients are therefore putting much more thought into their outside spaces, whether they be an expansive garden, courtyard
or rooftop terrace.
Elicyon and Charu Gandhi want to create an inviting, warm, and cozy outdoor ambiance that appears like a natural extension to the interiors and is seeing a growing demand for statement outdoor furniture, accessories such as wall lights and lanterns, durable throws, and cushions, and innovative heating solutions. When it comes to the materials and colors that their clients are currently drawn towards, they have seen a definite shift in favor of natural materials and textures, and calming shades. The move away from silk and sheen-textured fabrics continue and Elicyon is focusing heavily on using linens, wool, rattan, and light blonde timbers. Charu Gandhi is enjoying using a color palette of ‘new neutrals’, comprising ivory base notes and a scattering of additional warm tones including rust, pink, beige, mustard, and burnt orange. These are very ‘liveable’ colors and work well for clients spending more time at home.
Charu Gandhi tells us that their clients have the ambition to live a life less ordinary. They range from entrepreneurs to those in incredible jobs and positions across the world, but they are otherwise completely diverse in age, culture, and educational background – Elicyon doesn’t have a typical client, they’re all very different. They’re the sort of people who are interested in design and are used to working with an expert and are happy to go on a journey to create their home.
In the topic of craftsmanship, Charu Gandhi refers to Hanut, which is an Indian jewelry designer whose work I find just exquisite along with Viren Bhagat, Christine Vanderhurd’s hand-knotted carpets, and dhurries are particularly catching her attention at the moment, and the age-old La Manufacture Cogolin is so clever.
Charu Gandhiis into marbling, and Florence’s work at INQ is rather lovely. She thinks it’s so wonderful when craft feels accessible and easily enjoyed. Furniture makers such as Jan Hendzel and Marcin Rusak are championing their craft and deserve our support. James Plumb Studio is creating some really interesting sculptural pieces.
In the design world in the future, Charu Gandhi thinks that, in terms of materials, on their mood board at the moment is lots of blonde timbers, which works really well in a fresh white scheme as well as woven leather and hanging tapestries. She is also very partial to bouclé and suede for upholstery – both are very different in terms of texture and style but both create a sense of richness and sumptuousness and she loves their feel and tactile nature.
Finally, we ask about any particuçar changes that Charu Gandhi would like to see happening in the design world and this is what she said:
I’ve been thinking for years that for clients it’s a convoluted process knowing what each interior design studio provides for their services, for example how projects are rendered and charged. It would be beneficial for us as studios – and for clients interested in bringing on an interior designer – if the process was streamlined and there was a standard benchmark to follow. That way, we would be collectively promoting our industry by creating an accepted standard.
An element I would like to see a change in the luxury design world is minimizing wastage. It should continue to be at the top of our agenda when planning design schemes, especially in the elite world in which we work. It’s about doing the best you can for the planet, which is sometimes challenging in our line of work but we continually try our best to do better. This means that we retain and repurpose furniture and infrastructure where possible, and reuse materials elsewhere to limit the amount of wastage produced. Designers, by nature, often let perfect be the enemy of good but at Elicyon we are constantly pushing ourselves to re-evaluate processes, and it’s never been more important to be sustainably conscious as a brand. It’s a vision I’d like to see projected across the design world more.
What do you think about this amazing interview with Charu Gandhi from Elicyon?