For over a decade, Claire German has been at the helm of the Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour, acting as Managing Director and working closely with the owners to deliver their unique conceptual vision – she’s therefore directly credited with creating an exciting mecca for interior designers and architects who are looking for the finest furnishings, flooring options and wall coverings for their international projects. From GP Baker through to Andrew Martin, many of the most high profile names in the industry have showrooms within the great glass-domed halls of the centre. Here Claire describes her day to day activities:

C&B: “Claire, thank you for agreeing to give us an insight into your world; what is your day generally like?”

CG: “No two days are the same – it’s exciting to work in such a dynamic environment. The Design Centre is the largest of its kind in Europe and a thriving platform, both creatively and commercially, for a dynamic industry. Nurturing the best of world-class talent and championing creative excellence, it’s home to a vibrant community of 120 international showrooms. Expansion has been a defining feature lately and the Design Centre continues to evolve at the compass point of international design…”

C&B: “Which design brands are considered to be ‘up and coming‘ within the centre?“

CG: “It’s so hard to choose as we have over 600 amazing international brands here. I love companies that have an eye on the cutting edge, and we have seen some very interesting arrivals recently, including the iconic US fabric house Schumacher (above, right). Plus, we have Eccotrading Design London (above, left), renowned for its wood finishes, hand cast bronze and leather; Australia’s ABI Interiors, which has (really wonderful) tapware design for the kitchen and bathroom, plus we have luxury furniture, upholstery, lighting and accessories-makers Visionnaire from Italy; Andrew Martin (below, right) has also just opened a second showroom focusing on furniture, art, and sculpture. Many companies choose the Design Centre as their first UK or European outposts, not just because of the excellent company they will be keeping, but also because of the support we offer to help build their businesses…”

Each day at Focus/21 brought a different design agenda, but there are some things that held everything together: creative confidence, optimism for the future, and the strong sense of community that we all continue to cherish…

Claire German, Managing Director, Design Centre, Chelsea

C&B: “Which design factors were most impressed you during the recent design exhibition, Focus?

CG: “Whether you want to view the latest collections up close, reboot your creativity with a talk or workshop in the showrooms or reconnect with cherished industry contacts, Focus/21 delivered the physical experience we had all been craving after lock down. It was also fabulous to welcome back Conversations in Design with A-List designers and recognised industry insiders taking to the main stage to share their work, passions, and professional insights…”

CG: “The Design Centre has a strong collective unseen anywhere else, and nothing beats seeing products up close. Focus/21 saw the launch of so many beautiful new designs; it’s too hard to name them all but some new collaborations stoked the fires of creativity. They include Iris Apfel’s (above) Maximal Couture collection for Fabricut, inspired by Iris’s personal textile archives and fashion pieces; Extinct Animals with wallcoverings designed by Moooi and Arte; and Zinc Textile’s fabric and accessory collaboration with acclaimed interior designers Martin Hulbert Design. The Black Artists + Designers Guild (BADG) teamed with S. Harris to create a debut collection of artisanal textiles, wallcoverings and trimmings centred around history and heritage. Many of these designs were featured in our Inspiration Gallery which showed curated vignettes that summed up current design directions…”


INSTAGRAM: @designcentrech


C&B: “Claire, which is your favourite design hotel, one that you’d recommend for a cosy weekend in London?”

CG: “I love Kit Kemp’s hotels and my favourite is Ham Yard; I love her style, her designs are an explosion of colour, pattern and texture which feature amazing modern art and sculpture. Ham Yard (above, right) is a joyful design experience, the spaces have vitality and a modernity whilst still giving a thoughtful nod to classical design. There is something very playful about Kit’s schemes and she has the courage and skill to put things together that in theory shouldn’t work, but somehow do – with such aplomb!”

C&B: “What are your preferred wardrobe choices for Autumn?”

CG: “During the week, I always like to wear a mix of designers and ‘clever buys’ – I love Etro (above, middle), Chloe, Ralph Lauren (bottom of page) and Me & Em; every day I walk into work in my trainers and then change into my Hogans or my favourite Gucci loafers. For the weekend I wear Loro Piana (below, right), James Perse and Zara…”

C&B “Your favourite place to enjoy a cocktail?

CG: “The River Café is my favourite spot to dine and a pre-dinner Negroni (top, left and above, middle) in the bar or on the terrace is just heavenly; it is our ‘go-to’ place for any type of celebration!”

C&B: “And your favourite Autumn/Winter travel destination?”

CG: “I always travel to New York in the Fall, it is the perfect time to enjoy the buzz of the ‘City that never sleeps’ and experience those chilly, deep blue sky days…”

INSTAGRAM: @clairegerman01


Comments are closed.