People in design: Charlotte Cosby, head of creative at Farrow & Ball

The head of creative at Farrow & Ball shares her ideas on the latest colour trends and sources of inspiration

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How would you describe a typical day?

No two days are ever the same. One day recently, for example, I got into the office in Wimborne, Dorset, at 7.30am, tidied up the paperwork on my desk and then set up for the filming of two stop-motion short films. Then, I had a discussion with my team about the window displays for our 53 showrooms worldwide and, after lunch, painted a mounted trout’s head before being interviewed for a magazine. The rest of my afternoon involved meetings about product development and ideas for coming seasons. It’s the variety of my job that I love most, and the opportunity to travel.

Which places have inspired you the most?

I get plenty of inspiration from different cultures and countries; however, I can always find something to inspire me when I am at home in Dorset. I spent a lot of time in the countryside and by the coast over the summer discovering new things, and it has inspired the latest Dorset wallpaper collection. My next holiday will be to Iceland, but for work I will be visiting Design Week in London and Paris, followed by a trip to the States later this year.


What are the main colour trends to look out for in autumn/winter 2015?

Green is the must-have colour, so Farrow & Ball’s Breakfast Room Green – a vibrant, botanical shade that fits with the current trend for leaves and plants – will continue to be popular. In addition, muted pastels, such as Pink Ground and Light Blue, are increasingly being used as warmer neutrals in place of grey. These colours reflect a desire to create spaces that offer escapism from our increasingly nomadic working lives, and the soft, barely-there shades make a home feel quiet and calm.

What’s your proudest career moment?

Launching the first wallpaper collection I’d developed – the Art Deco-inspired Lotus design.


Left: A career highlight was seeing my Lotus wallpaper, £110 per roll, go into production

Can you tell us about your home?

I split my time between a modest Victorian first-floor apartment in Southbourne, Dorset, and a 400-year-old manor house in Purbeck. Both have seen my boyfriend, Laurence, and me in overalls decorating every space. I’m currently painting big oak doors in different bright exterior colours to make a colourful fence for the garden. The dining room at my apartment is my favourite room to spend time in; I have a huge table that I like to work at as I can really spread out – it’s the perfect place to brainstorm and sketch ideas.

What’s your interior style like?

At the flat in Southbourne, my style is an eclectic mix of contemporary and modern with a restful colour palette as the backdrop. As I spend a lot of time around colour, I opted for a simple scheme so I can relax once I’m home.

My bedroom is painted in Wimborne White, which is a great foil for the 8ft-high green banana-leaf print I have on the wall next to it. The living room is painted in soothing Dix Blue and I have the bolder Lotus 2051 in the hallway. My kitchen features Stiffkey Blue, which is wonderfully dramatic, while my bathroom is painted in Dix Blue and Pavilion Blue, with the addition of a giant pink flamingo on the tiles.


Do you have a design hero?

Raf Simons, creative director for Christian Dior, is someone I really admire. It amazes me how he can empathise with a brand’s heritage yet still move it forward, and I love that he shocked his fans by moving from ready-to-wear minimalism at Jil Sander to the complete opposite with Haute Couture Dior.

How do you like to relax?

I’m currently reading In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin (£8.99, Vintage Classics), as I’m hoping to visit there later this year. My other hobbies include yoga and swimming in the sea.

Photographer: Farrow & Ball