In Good Company: Sheena Notley-Griffiths, Helen Green Design
Sheena Notley-Griffiths is head of studio at Helen Green Design which established the Helen Green Design Foundation in 2013 following the death of founder Helen Green. The Foundation recently announced the Green Ribbon Award, an initiative aimed at children who are invited to design ‘The Coolest Kid’s Room…in the World’. Here Sheena gives us more details on the Award as well as revealing how old buildings were instrumental in launching her career in design which is now taking her as far afield as Australia.
When was the company founded? The company was founded in 2002 with a commitment to delivering exceptional design services to private clients and prime central London residential developers as well as boutique hoteliers.
How many staff? There are around 20 designers in the studio as well a marketing, finance and operations team.
Where is it based? The showroom is located in the heart of Chelsea on Milner Street and is the former home of the iconic Australian Pub. Beneath the showroom – which is home to our collections of furniture, wallpapers and fabrics – is the studio where our design team is based.
What is your latest project of note? We’re really excited to be launching The Green Ribbon Award in September. It’s an initiative aimed at encouraging children to switch off their hand held devices and switch on their own creativity. The award is essentially a competition to design ‘The Coolest Kid’s Room…in the world’. Split into three age categories (12 and under, 13-15 years and 16-18 years), it is open to anyone in the UK in full-time education. Judges include Alan Hughes (principal, Inchbald School of Design), and Caroline Foster (associate director, Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour). We will be working with schools in London and across the country to launch the project which will run until November. Each of the three winners will receive £500, and the winner of the 16-18 years category will have the opportunity to under a week of work experience at the Helen Green Design studio.
What is your best selling product? Our ‘Croquignole’ dressing table is our most popular Collection piece; it is a timeless combination of elegance and functionality. All our Collection pieces are British made.
I’ve just discovered… Onice Velluto Extra marble which is reminiscent of a clouded sky and which we used to striking effect in the powder room of our new Crescent Suite at the Berkeley Hotel.
Who inspires me… Alexander McQueen, and in particular the Savage Beauty exhibition at the V&A last year. Not only was the detailing in the pieces exquisite but the dramatic staging of the whole show was incredible. The use of lighting highlighted the extreme beauty of the pieces without in itself being a feature, a practice that I’m increasingly implementing in our interiors.
I’ve always been a fan of… Old derelict buildings – they inspired me to be a designer. I trained in interior architecture so that I can bring new life to these forgotten spaces. Too many architects focus solely on the bones of a building and forget it must also be lived in. The best design marries interior architecture and interior design to give a cohesive and thoughtful finish.
My highlight of the last 12 months… To see every finished project exactly as, or better than, it was originally imagined is always a huge source of satisfaction as it represents the culmination of months of hard work from the HGD team. In particular the new Tenhurst development at Kings Library in Chelsea, which promises to be the next ‘most sought-after’ address in London.
My next design trip is to… Australia. We’re in the process of designing a complete overhaul to a large property in Melbourne for clients. Working in Australia is fantastic but it makes me appreciate how much fantastic design and resource we have got at our fingertips here in the UK.