Design and creativity are resolutely at the core of the Cuckooz brand. Each of our seven locations have been distinctively designed by established names in the interiors field. Once we have sourced the right designer for the project location, we empower them to take creative control, but ask that their design process takes a nod to the site's heritage - something which is integral to our 'Live Local' brand ethos.
Cuckooz work with Conran for each of our design projects. This has allowed us to strengthen our professional relationship with the brand, as a team of designers work alongside our chosen overarching designer to place furniture of the highest quality and durability in our apartments. As for the finishing touches - it has been a great pleasure of Cuckooz to support local artists and designers when and where we can. Past projects have seen us work with printmaker Libby Needham, artist Joe Gamble, artist and furniture maker Graham Sayle and art network Creative Debut (supporting emerging artists) to create unique pieces for our homes which help promote local talent.
Our goal when designing apartments has always been to create an authentic home from home. Environment can have a powerful impact on our spiritual and mental wellbeing. We create homes which offer much more than a hotel room.
This week we had the pleasure of catching up with Gemma Stansfield and Iska Lupton, experiential duo behind Studio Stilton and designers of our beautiful Zed Room apartments; to discuss their inspiration, past work and plans for the future...
Studio Stilton designs experiences from concept through to delivery. We are bound by a mutual love of detail, of colour, of character and of the power of multisensory design to move and affect people. Our motto is ‘designing atmospheres and curating experiences’. ‘Designing atmospheres’ because we like to go beyond the aesthetics of a space and use lighting, sound, scent, amusing staff and unexpected details to create a whole atmosphere and energy in the space that transcends the visual. ‘Curating experiences’ because we like to bring together a curated group of collaborators (from chefs to artists to gardeners) to add depth, credibility, and add another layer of storytelling (plus support great local people). We started the studio in a mad rush 2 years ago when presented with the Airbnb x Pantone job. We got good press from the job and got a lot of joy from working together so we’re still at it.
Gemma has been delivering events all over the world for 14 years. Her time with hotel creative honed her exacting eye for details and time at Bompas & Parr and Punch Drunk Theatre solidified her belief in the power of multi-sensory. Iska studied theatre and spent three years as food and style editor of a London magazine. Food, theatre and design were united when she joined Bompas & Parr as Creative Producer. Here she created food-centric experiences from LA to Sydney, climaxing with a sausage installation in Taiwan before she founded Studio Stilton.
The challenge is having concept that’s tight enough, or taking a brief and distilling it into its essence before expanding it into a living, breathing experience. The more defined the parameters, the richer the creative can become. We like everything we design to have a reason for being there (even if it’s not explicit to a guest – there’s a coolness in not over explaining). We like spaces to challenge people a little bit, to teach, to provoke and ideally makes someone giggle to themselves at some point (because life is ridiculous).
We love seeing everything come together. We also have fun places we go to source props - mixing up the high end with the charity numbers for a really unique space. It’s v special to work on something that stays longer than an evening - the more people who can experience it the deeper our satisfaction and happier our morals!
Classical and modern architecture, the human body, comedy characters, colour palettes, nature, pieces of music, specific scents, foreign films, nuggets of philosophy we both like. A blend of low and high art. Taking risks to find beauty within the chaos of organising events. Always beer to fuel the ideas.
We would like to have been a part of The Great Exhibition of 1851.
We would love the freedom and budget to create an ever-evolving space so that experience is reactive to the outside world and always surprising - a restaurant / theatre. Where the uniforms, food concept, set design, toilet design and music change every week. There’s always very low lighting, mahogany scent, live ballet dancers and drag queens. No one is allowed to tell anyone else about what happened there.
For more information on Studio Stilton and the work they produce, head to their website here.