Now 82, Zeev Aram introduced the British public to modern design after coming to London from Israel in 1957. He graduated in design from Central School of Arts, opening his first small showroom in King’s Road 50 years ago last month.
Ruth, a trained landscape architect, joined the family firm in 2000. Here, she reveals her secret piece of countryside in the city, where to enjoy the finest modern luxe surroundings, and who makes the perfect poached eggs on sourdough.
I live in Dartmouth Park right on the edge of Hampstead Heath, with my husband David Walker, our three children and our dog, Eddie. We’ve been here since 1996 and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. Being an architect, David transformed a large, dilapidated Victorian terrace into a clean, white, family home. The area is so friendly. My daughter, 17 and my twin son and daughter, 15, have been through the local state system. I have lots of friends here and it’s got great transport. It’s not as stuffy or formal as Hampstead — yet.
Secret shop: Harrington & Squires woodtype samples
COLOURS FOR THE HOME
David insisted on all white walls, but the next time we redecorated, I said no more white, I want colour. So now the house is in the same palette as the one I like to wear — a mix of mustard, ochre, sienna, rich red, aubergine purple and grey. We got the paints from Dulux.
It’s a portrait of my great-great-grandmother, Tilly Tedesco, from the 1890s in Vienna. My mother’s side of the family lived there and came to London in the war. My parents met when my mother went to work on a kibbutz. My father was in the Navy looking dashing, escorting her boat back. She was going to study textiles at Central School of Arts and he wanted to study design. Today he is chairman of Aram. In the Sixties he was designing schemes but couldn’t find the furniture he wanted to reflect his modern approach. He was astounded by what he saw at the Milan furniture fair, designers pushing the boundaries with materials and design. Then he thought, why don’t I sell them in King’s Road?
I’d love Poul Kjaerholm’s PK91 folding stool. It’s such a joy to look at and very versatile. The steel has been manipulated into a curve and all the fixings are visible on purpose. He designed it in 1961. Today it would cost just over £2,000.
Design: Poul Kjaerholm’s PK91 folding stool, left: Vamp: stick it to any speaker and it becomes a wireless Bluetooth speaker, right
Harrington & Squires is run by two women who have set up a traditional letterpress in a building near Tufnell Park that’s so narrow it’s like a slither. They make their own stationery and run courses. It’s a lovely place to shop (harringtonandsquires.co.uk).
Paul Cocksedge, in his twenties, has done amazing lighting installations. Then he designed the Vamp. You stick it by magnet on the side of any speaker and it becomes a wireless Bluetooth speaker. It’s beautifully designed and very advanced.
The Granary Complex and Granary Square in King’s Cross. The lofty proportions and architectural integrity of the original granary buildings have been sympathetically worked into the new complex which houses the University of the Arts, London. The sheer scale of the complex and the square in front of it are breathtaking.
Architectural integrity: The Granary Complex and Granary Square in King’s Cross
There’s a special spot on Hampstead Heath where I walk my dog. It’s a mown path through a meadow area full of brambles and trees. I feel like it’s this little secret space, created just for me.
The Delaunay is in Aldwych, just next door to our shop, so I go there often. I love its comfort-meets-modern luxe surroundings. It feels like a men’s club. The food’s very good.
The farmers’ market on the Heath on Saturday mornings. It’s really social and there’s even a dog crèche. All the food has to have been grown or made within a 30-mile radius and most of it is organic. The quality, especially of the meat and bread, is excellent.
My ideal Sunday is to walk the dog on the Heath, then meet my husband at Kalendar café in Swain’s Lane for brunch. I usually have poached eggs on sourdough bread with roasted tomatoes. Then I like to go to Brent Cross... I’m a bit of a serial shopper.
- The Aram Exhibition, showcasing early designs by Zeev Aram, and the Aram 50th anniversary library are open at the Aram store