My personal style signifier is a blue suit. I buy both ready-to-wear and bespoke from different companies, but most recently from the new Hackett store at 14 Savile Row. I wear them with a white grandad collar shirt [from Officine Générale] and CQP trainers from Stockholm, which I own in multiple colours. It’s my work uniform. I don’t have to think about what to wear in the morning. I just put them on and off I go. CQP trainers, from €300, c-qp.com. Hackett ready-to-wear wool suit, from £575, hackett.com. Officine Générale Auguste shirt, £190, from mrporter.com
I always wear the scent Santal 33 by Le Labo. I first discovered the fragrance as a candle at the Ace Hotel in New York and we now have them in our apartments and show flats. £184 for 110ml EDP, lelabofragrances.com
The last thing I bought and loved was Brazilian midcentury furniture. I’ve fallen in love with some of the designers – Joaquim Tenreiro, Sergio Rodrigues and José Zanine Caldas – and I recently bought a 1958 two-seat bench with matching chairs by Tenreiro for our residential project in Notting Hill. I find value in something when it has a story behind it. Original Joaquim Tenreiro two-seat bench, €44,879, from 1stdibs.co.uk
I only buy a few things and I invest in authenticity and quality. I recently visited Venice and the island of Murano, and I have my eye on a set of water glasses – particularly the lovely colourful ones by Laguna B – having seen the skill of the artisans and how fine the glass is. From €75 each, lagunab.com
My favourite view in the world is the one from our eco lodge in Lamu, Kenya. There’s 12km of beach in front of the house that changes every day beyond recognition. Some days the tide can go out by a mile and on others there are huge waves. There are no lights at night but as you’re on the equator, there are billions and billions of stars in the sky and everything is lit by the moon. We say “no shoes, no news”. There’s no 3G and no electricity at the Lamu house, all our energy comes from solar and our water from our own well. I arrive there, sleep for two days and then my brain starts to get creative again.
The design idea I wish I’d come up with is anything by Jony Ive, because nothing you own should ever require instructions. When you pick up an Apple product it’s just obvious how it works. The best designs can be used by anyone of any age.
The best property advice I’ve ever been given is that there are no shortcuts and quality is everything. In short, do it once and do it well.
The design I never tire of looking at is our Moto fireplace, from our first furniture collection, which we’ve called Kwanza (the Swahili word for “first”). It’s carved from Rosso Levanto marble and has elegant angular ridges. Marble has been around for millions of years and this is an object for life. From £10,250, bandaproperty.co.uk
My favourite site in the world is Petra in Jordan. I once visited the Rose City very early in the morning before anyone else had arrived and it completely blew my mind. I can recall how the light hit the pink limestone like it was yesterday. It is hard to fathom how the architecture, which dates back to 300BC, was ever built given they had no machinery. I went back at night and saw it again by candlelight. It was just magical.
There are two properties that blow me away. One is 111 West 57th Street in New York, which is also known as the Steinway Tower – it’s 84 storeys, 435m tall and the world’s thinnest tower. They basically bought the air rights above the old Steinway Hall to build it. I also love the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris by Frank Gehry. The building’s series of glass sails sit above water, which lends it wonderful transparency. The glass exterior reflects the water and trees around it, so the entire building changes with the light throughout the day. It literally transforms, which is remarkable.
The best book I’ve read in the past year is How to Raise Successful People by Esther Wojcicki. She has three accomplished daughters: one is the CEO of YouTube, the other is the co-founder and CEO of 23andMe, and the third is a top anthropologist and epidemiologist. There is nothing more important than raising and educating our kids and doing it well and she achieved this using the word TRICK: T for trust, R for respect, I for independence, C for collaboration and K for kindness. It’s great advice offered in an unpatronising way. Published by Cornerstone, £16.99, from waterstones.com
A recent “find” is the Ristorante Da Adolfo at Laurito Beach on the Amalfi Coast. It’s a tiny shack on the beach that can only be reached by boat, but it’s almost impossible to get a booking there. The food is the best in the world and the mussel soup is just incredible. It’s so charming. The wine comes to the table with peaches in it and the plates are handpainted in a classic Amalfi style. Good food and family – what else do you need? Via Laurito 40, 84017 Positano (daadolfo.com)
The best gift I’ve ever given is a bronze figurative sculpture, which I commissioned from my stepfather, the sculptor David Williams-Ellis, for my wife’s birthday last year. His studio is next to my mother’s house so we’d see him in there every day covered in clay. It’s so special for us to have a piece of his work in our home. POA, dwe.com
And the best one I’ve received was four cases of wine, which was a christening present from my godfathers when I was a baby. It started a love affair with wine, and I have been trading it ever since. From those four cases I am now sitting on a very interesting collection, predominantly Bordeaux (although I tend to drink Burgundy). But the joy for me is about understanding the vineyards and the process.
The last music I downloaded was Bon Iver’s album 22, A Million. I have eclectic musical tastes: everything from classical to opera to dance music. £7.99 for the MP3 version at amazon.co.uk
I have a collection of cufflinks that were left to me by my first stepfather [Christopher Shale] when he died and when I put them on in the morning, they make me smile. It’s so nice to be able to think of him every single day.
In my fridge you’ll always find a bottle of tequila [Casamigos Reposado] and smoked salmon. Why the tequila? Well, that’s obvious, but I always have salmon from Secret Smokehouse because it’s easy when you’ve been working all day and you just want to grab something healthy. Casamigos Reposado tequila, £64.99, from selfridges.com. Whole fillet of London-cure smoked salmon, £68, from secretsmokehouse.co.uk
With time on my hands, I would travel. I’m continually entranced by Africa: the people, the colours, the nature and the humility of the place. I don’t think I’ve visited more than 25 per cent of it, so I’d like to see and learn more. My brother and I spent seven years building a cricket stadium in Kigali, Rwanda, and we get such joy from seeing it used now that it’s finished. We recently won an award for our women’s empowerment programme that uses cricket as a tool for social change. cricketbuildshope.org
I’ve recently rediscovered the River Café. It didn’t disappoint. There was something special about eating out again having not been to a restaurant for four months. rivercafe.co.uk
An object I would never part with is my wedding ring.
To de-stress I go for a run in the park, I get on my Peloton bike or play squash. It’s not a ritual but something I do when I have the time. There’s always the feeling that you don’t want to do it before you start, but once it’s over you feel so much better. From £1,750, onepeloton.co.uk
My only wellbeing guru is my chiropractor Ben Carraway, who I see regularly in London for a mixture of physio and manipulation when my back gets out of line. kxu.co.uk
If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be an explorer. That was what I wanted to be as a boy and I became a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society from an early age. Later, as a teenager, I worked in the expedition department where we would help people plan their trips, and I’d go to these amazing talks about the adventures people had been on. And yes, I read all the books, Scott of the Antarctic and so on. I loved them all.
The only souvenirs I bring home are shells from the beach.
The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was the Huntsman morning suit I wore for my wedding. I worked with a brilliant cutter and creative director called Campbell Carey. It was a wonderful process and for the rest of my life, every time I put on that suit I’ll feel happy. Bespoke three-piece morning suit, from £5,200
My favourite room in my house is the kitchen. I’ve fallen in love with cooking again. It’s been the epicentre of our family life and we come together for every meal. We are lucky enough to have a small vegetable garden and we cook seasonally. Even my son has got involved.
The artists whose works I would collect if I could are Christopher Wool or Jean-Michel Basquiat. I don’t think I’ll ever collect them but I do love the expressionist art from that era – I find it really powerful. I also love a lot of photography and have bought pieces from Nick Knight, Nikolai von Bismarck and David Yarrow. davidyarrow.photography. instagram.com. nickknight.com.
If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose the 6th and 7th arrondissements in Paris. We are currently designing an apartment on the 7th, and I love wandering the streets and visiting the galleries in nearby Saint-Germain-des-Prés. I go to the Jousse Entreprise gallery for its Jean Prouvé and Collectif Pierre Jeanneret furniture as well as Galerie Downtown on the Rue de Seine and Galerie Chastel Maréchall on Rue Bonaparte, which has pieces by Jean Royère and Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne. I usually pop by the Buly 1803 shop opposite, before stopping for coffee at Café de Flore. For lunch, it’s typically chicken salad at a bistro like Le Petit Lutetia. buly1803.com. cafedeflore.fr. chastel-marechal.com. facebook.com. galeriedowntown.com. jousse-entreprise.com.
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