Red Deer, founded by Lionel Real de Azúa, Ciarán O’Brien and Lucas Che Tizard refuse to be labelled, and given the nature of their projects, it’s easily understandable. They’ve recently improved the Uniqlo store on Regent’s Street, designed a private space in Sloane Square, London and contributed to art installations around the world. With offices in London, L.A and Barcelona, Red Deer are pioneering the definition of spaces and objects. For them “Love for the unexpected forms a starting point in their design work, studio ethos and adventures in travel.”
Here, they talk to Art is Alive about Canova Hall, the recently-opened restaurant and club located in Brixton, London, their future projects, ethos and inspiration.
Please tell us about you: are you architects, designers, collective of artists?
I suppose we like to see ourselves as a mix of the three. We are for the most part, chartered architects, but don’t want to be limited to just designing a building. We design light fixtures, furniture, logos…the practice has a very horizontal design approach which would resemble that of a collective.
What’s your latest project?
Parsons near Covent Garden – which we hope to have photographed very soon.
Your favourite project so far?
Smokestak – it was born out of a spirit of collaboration both with the client, Dave Carter and Lou Davies of Box 9 Design. We collectively created an incredibly impactful concept from a soulless new build shell.
Where and how do you find inspiration?
Living, travelling, touching things – Pinterest boards can be flat, repetitive and iterative so we prefer to venture to places that might inspire us whenever possible.
How did it all start for you?
A need for self-expression. We were trained to be autonomous in practice very early on…I suppose that stuck with us.
Please tell us more about Canova Hall: how did you start, what’s at the heart of the project, what was your vision?
As with many projects, the history of the building, area or the nature of the menu can often dictate the direction of the design. We wanted to evoke both the buzz of a market bar and the architecture of a continental department store food court.
Where did you source furniture, textile, art pieces?
A mix – some fabricated in Essex, the outdoor benches from Peppermill Antiques, the art and back bar fridge from antique dealers who regularly journey down to Brazil and Argentina.
Were you consulted on the design of the food and gastronomy as well or was it separate?
As far as I know, Albion & East designed the entire menu.
Were you inspired by the history of the space and Paris’ satellite “Bon Marche”?
Very much so – but the Italian menu meant that we had to introduce a few more trattoria style touches.
Do you work with contemporary artists?
Yes but not on this particular project.
Who would you ideally love to collaborate in the future?
Always – so long as there is synergy we are always keen to collaborate.
Favourite museum architecture in the world?
There are so many to choose from – Caruso st.John’s museum of childhood is a local favourite. The palette and detailing of the facade is both subtle and breath-taking.
How many projects do you have at the moment?
About a dozen at varying scales and stages.
What are you excited about in the near future on the cultural agenda?
Dutch Design Week is rumoured to have very innovative, natural and tactile materials and applications – we don’t tend to get excited about most attention grabbing fairs but this is one we might make the trip for.