Always jetting off somewhere glamorous — Madeleine is an interior designer, wellness advocate and fashionista who spends her time between London and the world.
Having lived outside of her native Sweden since she was sixteen and travelled extensively, Madeleine has a very sophisticated global outlook. Her design work is an expression of the unique cultures and experiences she has been exposed to. We sat down for a lunch at Scalini’s in London, to discuss travel and how she gets her exceptional eye for design.
Q: How important is travel to you and your work?
A: There is such a huge correlation between travel and design, it pushes me out of my comfort zone and feeds my creativity. I love how it broadens my mind, challenges me and allows me to look at an environment from new and fresh angles.
Q: What do you never travel without?
A: When you’re travelling, especially by yacht, it can be such a challenge to actually see each island and place you go to, so I love taking my trainers and going for an exploratory run. I find I discover so much more that way and of course it works for city escapes too!
Q: What’s it like to design someone else’s home?
A: You’re working with people and your aim is to show their unique personality and facilitate how they live and can live better. You get to know them very well – where they eat, where they nap – you end up becoming their psychologist and sometimes even their marriage counsellor! I believe that our environment directly impacts our emotions and productivity and I always look for that balance between beauty and functionality. Good design should have both.
There is such a huge correlation between travel and design, it pushes me out of my comfort zone and feeds my creativity.
Q: You talk about having a global design outlook. What do you mean by that?
A: Travel is a luxury product just like interior design, and many clients covet that unique look, or something that sets them apart. They don’t want you to simply pop down to the shop and
pick something up but rather to curate something unique that speaks to who they are and creates interesting talking points. Travelling for me provides a constant supply of inspiration and an ever growing network of unusual and interesting suppliers. Mixing the clean simplicity of Scandinavia with the rich patterns and textures of Morocco for example, gives a design depth and adds interesting layers to enrich your environment, and funnily enough it tends to tie everything together!
Q: Tell us about your most memorable travel experience?
A: My spur-of-the-moment trip to Sri Lanka! After a 10-hour flight and a bumpy four hour drive, I arrived to my room in the dark. It wasn’t until the next morning when I woke up to the most spectacular views of forests and tea plantations at the Santani Wellness resort, that I realized I was in heaven. I felt so lucky I had to pinch myself!
I ended up extending my stay for two weeks to travel around and climb Mount Sri Pada; aptly named ‘Buddha’s footprint’ because of a foot impression on the mountain. The overnight trek was not easy; there were rats, there were crowds but when the sun came up it was the most incredible moment and totally worth it.
Q: What is your favourite hotel?
A: Oh, Hotel Costes in Paris is super sexy, but for one night only because the rooms are so small and dark. But such a sexy place to go.
Q: Where are we sending you next?
A: We had our trip to Antarctica through South America almost set. A dream come true — but that has to wait. In the meantime, I will probably spend a lot of the winter with friends in Cape Town, which is my second home.
To get in touch or for interior design inquiries visit www.houseofhanna.co.uk.