Founder and chief designer of British leather brand Osprey London, Graeme Ellisdon, 58, the son of a Hertfordshire carpenter, has grown his company into an international brand with 10 stores in the UK alone.
It offers beautifully crafted fashion goods along with homeware and furniture, using soft leathers and fine cashmere and silks. On Friday Ellisdon launches Osprey London, a 5,000sq ft flagship store, at 27 Regent Street, St James’s.
VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Graeme Ellisdon gives Amira Hashish a first look inside the Osprey London store. Watch the tour here:
Video shot and edited by Radhika Aligh, London Live (twitter: @radhikaaligh)
My latest project
Our new store is in a landmark building designed by Reginald Blomfield for The Crown Estate in 1918. When we took it over it was a shell, albeit a Grade II-listed shell with great bone structure. We designed a beautiful steel staircase depicting natural history icons, which was handcrafted in Hertfordshire, and worked with British craftsmen to create somewhere that feels as much a home as a store.
Osprey London: a 5,000sq ft flagship store, at 27 Regent Street, St James’s
Where I live
Now our two boys are grown up, my wife, Alex, who run Osprey London with me, and I split our time between the Hertfordshire barn we recently finished converting and a Victorian rectory in Norfolk, near our daughter’s school. Designing the St James’s shop together gave us chance to spend more time in London. Our sons have been working on the project, too. The countryside grounds me but I find the grit and energy of London energising. My dream home would be Buckingham Palace, for those wonderful gardens.
Favourite design object
An Aga. It sits in the centre of the home, at the core of the making and sharing of food, which we love to do.
Why I love British design
At its best, British design is inclusive. It is a celebration of the collaboration between the designer and the maker which you can see in something like Thomas Heatherwick’s inspiring copper cauldron made for the opening of the London Olympics.
Top Shop: Skandium in Marylebone High Street for a "frosted Scandinavian look." This ESU bookcase, left, is by Vitra. Finest fabrics: Osprey's tweedy check cashmere throws, right, are £275 each.
Where I shop
I am a great admirer of Skandium and relate to the frosted Scandinavian look which I like to offset with warmer African tones. Creative tensions between hot and cold are attractive areas to explore.
Top London destinations
Shoreditch House, the private members club in E1, is another world, both quietly self-contained and a part of the landscape. With the swimming pool on the roof in summer and log fires in winter, it doesn’t get any better. The Dorchester is a comforting cocoon in the middle of London.
Where to find fabrics
I source cashmere from Scotland, blankets from Norway and silk from Italy. In London, the fabric places on Berwick Street are great.
Inspiration: a selection from Paul Smith's new homeware range.
Terence Conran and Paul Smith have always been my heroes.
Tips to transform a room
Paint everything white, throw down a vintage kilim, flood the space with natural light by day and low-level lamps by night. A fire or wood burner will make any room feel like home.
A perfect London Saturday
Alex and me would walk the dogs on the Heath, have brunch at Kenwood, then wander down to Marylebone High Street and pop into Daunt Books and The Conran Shop, before dinner with friends at Orrery or a drink in Soho with our boys and their mates.