Tara Bernerd & Partners

The high-profile designer’s revamped practice is focusing on the future

Tara Bernerd is celebrating a decade at the forefront of British interior design with a series of changes that are bringing a new energy to her work and that of her practice.

Tara Bernerd & Partners is now a core team of four: Bernerd, designers Nicola Smith and Stephanie Earnshaw plus marketing director Lucien Smith. Her previous practice, Target Living, was disbanded following the amicable departure of Thomas Griem, which gave Bernerd the chance to step back and consider her achievements and future aspirations. ‘We have learned that we are better off cherry picking our work,’ Bernerd declares. ‘Less is more on every level — we’re interested in making an impact. We’re very selective and focused on what we pitch for.’

Bernerd is one of a coterie of well known UK interior designers and her glamorous reputation is partly thanks to the occasional coverage of her social life in the national press. Her work, though, is as solidly commercial as it is exclusive, high-end residential. Over the past decade, Bernerd has turned her hand to a wide range of projects, from superyachts to tree houses for Center Parcs.

Currently the practice handles residential and commercial work, each accounting for 40 per cent of the workload. The remaining 20 per cent is taken up by unexpected commissions. ‘In our business-to-business projects, we offer very intelligent, budget-driven work with a lot of sophistication. It’s a skillset we know so well,’ Bernerd explains. ‘We don’t overly compete with the residential market but private clients are still our perfect clients.’ The most high-profile project at the moment is a hotel for the Landmark group, which is near completion and is located just across the street from the practice’s new office in Belgravia.

Unsurprisingly, the names of the practice’s private clients are rarely revealed but we can be sure they are very wealthy individuals who enjoy the confident, luxurious but slightly quirky contemporary style that has become Bernerd’s signature — and that has also been applied to a range of interior products created for manufacturers such as the Rug Company.

What Bernerd & Partners delivers may not be radically different from what has gone before but it is the delivery that is evolving. Bernerd wants to encourage her clients to focus on the concept and ideas that ultimately deliver good outcomes. ‘People can sometimes zoom past these stages so we aim to jump in quite early to discuss the market we’re aiming at and work through the ideas very carefully,’ she says. ‘We put a high priority on the design brain — we are about the story, the identity, the creation of a project. We want to deliver the whole package — that’s our added value.’

Experience is invaluable, Bernerd admits, and it is her experience and the confidence that comes with it that looks set to deliver another successful decade for her team.

This article was first published in idfx Magazine.

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