Less is more, restrained decor, understated and tranquil – all words to describe the interior design practice belonging to London-based Alix Lawson.
Her recent renovation in Dubai Hills in the Middle East exemplifies her studio’s signature aesthetic and belief in the ‘Conscious Minimalism’ movement. But what does the term mean and how does it look and feel in practice?
Alix Lawson is a born-natural artist, specialising in interior design and creative direction.
She founded her eponymous brand in August 2018 in a bid to bring something different to the market and to focus purely on her core design beliefs – those of dampening the noise of distraction and relishing in fewer, more considered details.
After 15 years in the design industry running her award-winning interior architecture and decoration firm, Lawson Robb, she was keen to embrace a boutique approach to business and revive her passion for minimalism. And so, she established her new interiors lifestyle brand, Alix Lawson.
Offering an antidote to luxury overdose (particularly felt on the London scene), her raw refinement and what she calls, ‘Conscious Minimalism’ serves to cleanse the city’s palette.
A firm believer that simplicity is the new luxury, Alix’s brand is more than a design firm, seeking to change the way we view and experience our interiors.
A term coined by Alix to succinctly express her vision and design principles, but how does it differ from the aesthetic with which the world is already familiar – minimalism?
“Project Dubai Hills is really an ode to what I call Conscious Minimalism. I have always been a minimalist at heart, and believe that there is so much consideration that goes into beautiful simplicity.
“Materials, lighting and lines all stand out more boldly on a blank canvas and so there is far less room for error. Every detail requires a great amount of thought. This thoughtfulness is the essence of Conscious Minimalism.
“Conscious Minimalism is not so much a case of lacking, but lessening. I like to think of it as reducing the volume while increasing the sound quality.”
One of the first projects for her newly founded design practice, Alix created the interiors for one of Dubai’s palatial properties, giving it her supremely zen trademark touch.
“The concept for Project Dubai Hills was ‘Bottega Veneta Meets The Desert’ and the 33,000 square foot residential home showcases quiet, thoughtful design throughout its three storeys.
“The clean minimalist interiors are somewhat of a design departure for Dubai and show the tides are shifting towards raw refinement focusing on authenticity of materials.
“Dubai Hills fuses contemporary design with the desert landscape. We were beyond excited to design the majority of the furniture and lighting ourselves as well as commissioning a vast and expansive art collection from young and emerging artists; from aboriginal works in Australia, to British textile designers and European artisans.
“There is a sculptural feel to a lot of the design, artworks and furniture that sits perfectly against the minimalist backdrop of the space.”
“I wanted a clear and present connection to nature in the project and was keen to find ways to ‘bring the outside in.’ My favourite way we did this was through the sunken garden on the lower ground floor; the trees can be seen peeking up through the architectural staircase in the entryway.
“The combination of clean white minimalism broken up by striking lines of black in this space gives it a quiet strength.”
“The design for this room layers neutral tone on tone with pops of green in the dining chairs and is separated from the living room via a screen with timber panels that can pivot. This provides flexibility to the open plan space but still keeps important ‘zones.’”
“The ground floor living room features bespoke furniture and lighting that we designed for the clients, and beautiful white Namibia stone throughout. I love how much wow-factor this room has without compromising on the sense of peace we created in the project.
“The ottomans in the seating space in the background also feature fabric inspired by the Bottega weave.”
“The spa is the ultimate ode to Conscious Minimalism in the project. We layered neutral tone on tone in the space with a textured wall to add depth and warmth.”
“We really wanted to focus on textiles in the bedroom and layered different texture tones to create depth in the space without compromising the minimalist aesthetic. Attention to detail was key.
“Veneer panelling and skirting was used on the lower part of the wall and the Bottega-inspired leather weave features on the headboard as a nod to the design concept.”
“The fusion of contemporary design and the natural landscape comes alive in the bar on the lower ground floor.
“The room has a beautifully playful atmosphere with palm trees, timber panelling and bamboo tables. The authenticity of materials was so central to the design here.”
“We really wanted the work-out space to connect to the sunken garden and its banquette seating to enhance the wellness element of the room.
“We created clean lines with the use of timber battening and mirrors and chose to focus on the architecture of the space to project our ‘less is more’ mantra.”
“We wanted to turn the expected on its head a little with the cinema room using the sofas and seats which subvert the traditional cinema chairs. The room layers multiple tones with fabric wallpaper and custom limestone tables.
“I particularly love the pops of brass on the armchair lamps, as they add an element of sublime sophistication.”