Basic 10cm square tiles and red metal tubing have never looked so funky as in the hands of Spanish-born and London-settled designer Tomás Alonso
Design: Tomás Alonso
Size: 42 sq m
Completion time: Three months
Anyone who thinks interior design is simply a matter of choosing off-the-shelf products and arranging them neatly around a space (I’m looking at you, architects) should be set straight by designer Tomás Alonso’s latest project for the Camper shoe shop in London’s Covent Garden.
‘All of the furniture was designed and built specially for the shop as part of a personal project I’ve been working on for some time now,’ says Alonso, who grew up in Spain and travelled the USA, Italy and Australia before studying at the RCA and settling in London. ‘It’s based on the formal and structural language that two materials as dissimilar as lacquered metal tubing and natural wood – in this case, white oak – can create together.’
This red metal tubing, which supports the store’s timber display tables and cash desks and also forms a handrail for the stairs, has been expertly bent and shaped by Alonso (not an easy task, apparently, and a technique that has become a hallmark of his work).
According to his own PR, Alonso ‘roams the earth searching for ideas to make his work more original’, and practises his own version of ‘slow design’ – working carefully and at a leisurely pace, so that no detail is overlooked. All this may sound pretty intangible, but the level of care and attention that has gone into designing the interior of the Camper store is clearly obvious.
All of the furniture was carefully handcrafted at Alonso’s studio in London, and perhaps the most striking piece is a large display table with accompanying chairs and benches, which takes up most of the space. The ceramic lamps, which hang above the display area, are also Alonso originals.
The walls are clad in standard white 10cm x 10cm ceramic tiles, but Alonso also used rhombus-shaped tiles to create isometric patterns, including a representation of the Camper logo which seems to jump out at you from the wall above the stairwell.
As a final touch, Alonso used coloured tiles to ‘draw’ on the walls – creating something reminiscent of a creative child’s maths book.
Words by Jamie Mitchell