Designer in Demand – Andrew Laughland

12 Apr 2018

Laughland Jones have created some of the most famous, and some of the most famously unknown, luxury residences around the world; from the Berkeley Hotel, London, to Richard Branson’s Verbier ski lodge, and an array of top secret projects in between. The company, established in 1995, is every bit as world class as their award-winning projects. Their previous chalets have won The World Ski Awards, “World’s Best Ski Chalet” 4 years running, and this year is no exception, with our very own Chalet Couttet, Chamonix, nominated as World’s Best New Ski Chalet.


We were lucky enough to speak to founder, Andrew Laughland, about their work at Chalet Couttet and to find out what it is like to be a Designer in Demand.

What was the brief at Couttet?

Chalet Couttet was essentially an empty box. There was virtually nothing inside although the architectural build was already complete. We were brought in to, on a very basic level, inject some life into the space. We wanted to create some synergy with the mountain but also create something contemporary, with a bright twist and luxurious comfort.


At what stage in a project are you normally brought it?

The earlier the better. Starting earlier, at the interior architectural stage, means we can better effect the end product because we are instrumental in the initial creation. That said, it's exciting to be given a project at any stage and then get stuck into the challenges of finding solutions for the constraints of an existing space.


For Couttet we worked on the interior decoration as the building was already complete. We worked on all the interior aspects, all the furniture, fabrics and so on and then arranged them thematically throughout the existing space. We also moved some of the lighting alcoves and rearranged the bar, cinema and spa space.


What were the challenges?

The challenges are often quite simple things. So for Couttet, we were aware that it needed to function in a certain way, that there would be a certain number of people using the space, on holiday, generally for one week at a time. So making sure these people could truly enjoy and indulge in the space was paramount.


The colour palette

Couttet is bright, and for many reasons this is down to the architecture of the space. The architecture is such that if we had gone for a subdued palette it would have been overwhelmed, almost engulfed, by the building itself - its size, its angles, its layout. So it had to be bold. But also it was supposed to be fun.


Taking cues from the architecture  

Couttet is in many ways a party house. If you look at the architecture, everything points to that. The very circular motion of the ground floor, allowing you to roam from kitchen to dining room to lounge to terrace. It wants to entertain you.  So we wanted to create an exciting party space. We wanted arriving guests to be really excited when they walked into the space.  


Do you have particular suppliers you generally always work with?

We get asked that a lot! And the answer is always, no. Perhaps that would be easier! The furniture is mostly bespoke, handmade for the chalet. The fabric is from all over the place. Sourced furniture was from lots of different designers.  So I guess we are making our lives a little more difficult!

What design choices did you like the most?

The art was predominantly supplied by the client and I really like those choices, such as the girl holding the Scottish flag. I think it brings something of the client into the space. In terms of spaces, I really like the pool table and cinema room. I love the use of colour and design in those spaces. I love the humour of the grass wall and the elk head. The bike underneath the shelf in the bar is fun. The Couttet sign. It’s slightly off the wall and quite random. I also really love The Apple under the stairs on the bottom landing. It’s vast, maybe 1m by 1m and it is located in such a way that it might take guests two or three days until they notice it. That’s what I love about Couttet, It’s the hidden surprises that reveal themselves to you during your stay.

It’s the hidden surprises that reveal themselves to you during your stay.





The Laughland Jones’ Approach

We take on every project completely uniquely, as every client is totally unique. But I think in general there is a three-step process. First look at:

  1. Geography – is it in Miami or London, the countryside or up a mountain.
  2. Architecture- is it a shooting lodge in Scotland, a glass apartment block in London, a Queen Anne house in Hampshire or a ski chalet – this will obviously have an influence on both us and the clients choices.
  3. The client themselves – who they are, their style and preferences, what are they thinking and asking for. But whatever they say will be affected by No.1 & No.2.

What is your greatest achievement with Laughland Jones?

Repeat business. Our greatest achievement is the level of repeat business we receive. Our clients come back and ask us to work on their other homes around the world and I think I couldn’t ask for a bigger compliment.

What would you say to someone embarking upon a build?

Get your team sorted out right at the beginning, and get a full team; architects, landscapers, interior architects, designers – the whole team – and do your research on who you will be able to work with. Don’t bring us in halfway through. Not that we don’t want to work with you but you will not get the best out of any of the various components of your team if they are brought in halfway through. Full team. From the start.


One building you wish you’d designed.

That is such a hard question. There are too many. I love Goodwood Golf Club. In terms of interior design, anything colourful and Kit Kemp inspired. I like the Ferndale Hotels such as The Charlotte Street and The Soho Hotel.






Author: Claire Garber

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