My design London: perfumer and award-winning composer Paul Schütze reveals his guide to the best of the city’s architecture, design, homeware shops and secret spaces

Award-winning composer and artist Paul Schütze has exhibited at top London galleries including the Hayward, Alan Cristea, Maggs and the V&A. Now he has turned his hand to launching his own range of unisex scents... 

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Paul Schütze is an award-winning composer and artist. Australian by birth, he is based in London, where he has exhibited at galleries including the Hayward, Alan Cristea, Maggs and the V&A, and photographed the interiors of some of the capital's landmark buildings at night. Creating perfumes for a candlelit event at Sir John Soane's Museum led Schütze to launch his own range of unisex scents.

WHERE I LIVE

We've just moved to Highpoint in Highgate which is pure, unalloyed modernism. When the sun blazes through the metal-framed windows there is a sense of material weightlessness, as though everything is dissolved into light.

I swim in the pool most mornings and all I can hear is birdsong. Architect Berthold Lubetkin's eccentric utopia is still surprising 80 years on and from its position high above London, the building and grounds feel as though they occupy some odd parallel dimension. 

MY DECOR

We have thousands of books — we had to have bookcases built before we moved in — and artworks by myself and artist friends. The interior is fairly monochrome. Walls are painted bright white, warm grey, and this extremely deep matte green, one of John Oliver's wonderful paint colours.

MOST COVETED OBJECT

The artist Josiah McElheny — a good friend whose film I wrote a score for some years back — made a series of beautiful cabinets containing his exquisite glass forms for a White Cube show in 2012. My favourite is called The Space Age Body (after fashion designers Cardin, Courrèges and Gernreich).

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Postcard Teas offers handmade ceramic tea bowls and pots

FAVOURITE HOMEWARE SHOPS

I love Borough Kitchen cookshop in SE1 for equipment I didn't know I needed; Labour and Wait in Redchurch Street, E2, for timeless utilitarian items; Postcard Teas in Dering Street in Mayfair for unique handmade ceramic tea bowls and pots, plus exquisite tea, and Native & Co in Kensington Park Road, who sell perfectly selected pieces sourced from Japan and Taiwan, many of them expressions of dying crafts, all of them engaging and beautiful.

HOME SCENTS 

When you are working on perfumes  it can be distracting to have scented candles around. But at home we have a Frederic Malle Saint des Saints candle which I love. It's so strong you scarcely need to light it. I have a collection of rare incense from Japan and a dear friend sends me single sticks created by a Chinese master of incense. There are few precious things which I burn for a few minutes only when I want some inspiration. 

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When Paul is working on his own scents, it can be distracting to have scented candles around (Sally Mais)

AMAZING ARCHITECTURE

When I did a big series of photographs of Sir John Soane's Museum (13 Lincoln's Inn Fields, WC2), I had two amazing nights there. There are beautiful brass filigree vents in the floor all over the place, so I went through the Soane shopping lists of the period to find out the scents fundamental to the building and made three perfumes for the ground floor, first floor and bedchamber. They were diffused for one night only for a candlelit event.

SECRET SPACE

I often seek refuge in my favourite bookshops. To wander off the street into The Triangle architectural bookshop on Bedford Square, or Walther Koenig in Charing Cross Road is to enter a world of endless distraction.


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