Interior-designer, aesthete, style-maker, entertainer, fashionisto, story-teller or simply East-Londoner? It´s very difficult to categorise David Carter. And why would you? His nickname is David à la Carter after all so he’s a man of many talents! Art is Alive catches up with him on his sumptuous boutique hotel, his Bedtime Stories events and… Coco Chanel.
Tell us about yourself: how would you describe yourself, a designer, a taste-maker, or an aesthete?
I am probably the worst person to ask… I am working as an interior designer, I run a very small hotel and I organise whimsical and hopefully entertaining events.
What is the most interesting interior design project you’ve worked on?
The most interesting one is always the one I am currently working on… It’s a bit like a new relationship or love affair. Full of high expectations, drama and uncertainty. Will my beautiful dream be realised? Will it be a huge disappointment? My main project at the moment is a five storey Georgian townhouse in Islington. I’m currently in the midst of all the major building works.
Tell us about 40 Winks: how did it start?
I opened 40 Winks in March 2009… Almost six years ago now. The house has been one of London’s top fashion and celebrity locations for many years (we had Italian Vogue shooting here shortly before Christmas last year and L’Officiel are here next week), and I kept getting photographers, stylists, and models asking they could come and stay when they are over in London. For years, I kept saying no, but eventually decided to what would happen if I cheekily opened the house as the world’s first micro-boutique hotel. Amazingly, despite our tiny size (we sleep three), we are now one of best reviewed hotels in the world with a string of accolades. If I had known just how much pleasure I would get from it, I would have been saying “Yes” a long time ago. I love it.
Do you organise events around the hotel?
Yes, we have been running events for almost six years. These include our famous literary pyjama parties, “Bedtime story nights”, and we have an exciting new event called “Saturday super salon” with lovely Liz Hoggard from the Times.
Who are your heroes?
Anyone who devotes time and energy to making the world a better place for others…
Is London an inspiration?
I love London. It is not an easy city. It is constantly challenging, but I think if you work in the arts, this is a good thing.
Where do you source furniture?
Everywhere! I buy lot of antiques and also work with lots of amazing contemporary designers/makers. My work is very eclectic, and I have built up a huge network of suppliers over the years.
Any interesting guests so far?
40 Winks is principally aimed at people who work in fashion and the arts, so almost all our guests are great fun! We get film stars, people from brands like Karl Lagerfeld and Chanel, and lots of other very creative people, but we also get quite a few guests who work in professions like banking and the law. All super lovely! We want guests who are looking for something quite experiential and theatrical. We expect them to hold their own with some lively banter and have a sense of humour… We are not interested in boring people!
Do you appreciate contemporary art?
Yes, but I am hopelessly out of touch these days. I do have quite a lot of friends who are artists, particularly photographers, but I would love to have more time to visit shows and studios.
Which exhibitions did you recently see and like?
Hiroshi Sugimoto at Pace, the Horst exhibition at the V&A were excellent and the Guy Bourdin at Somerset House was very disappointing.
Book your room now: http://www.40winks.org/