© Chris Tubbs
Husband-and-wife design duo Mark Eley and Wakako Kishimoto, the creative minds behind a string of international brands, are masters of bold graphic prints and patterns. Their bright designs and simple shapes work equally as well in clothes as in furniture, wallpapers and ceramics. As well as their own fashion house, they are creative directors of French label Cacharel and their collaborations include collections for Uniqlo and Louis Vuitton. But despite their global appeal, they need look little further than their Brixton doorstep for creative inspiration…
Where we live
Mark: We've been in our mid-terrace Victorian house in Brixton for 15 years and, although it is a bit higgledy-piggledy, it's home. It is only 200 yards away from our studio but the best thing is that it is where we have watched our children grow up. As a family we have laughed a great deal, cried a little and, on occasion, argued in it. But it is where we are most relaxed.
Brixton is the centre of our universe. We love spending time near Clapham Park and we continue to learn a great deal about the history of our area. Just the other week I read in our local department store, Morley's (morleys-brixton.co.uk), that Sharon Osbourne and David Bowie were born locally. And Electric Avenue was the first street in the UK to have electric lighting.
Our dream home
Mark: A Brixton townhouse designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron. As well as the Tate Modern building, their other projects include the Beijing National Stadium and 2012's Serpentine Pavilion in Kensington Gardens, a collaboration with artist Ai Weiwei. The perfect retreat would be no more than two hours' drive away in the middle of nowhere, near the sea and mountains and with a big garden.
Wakako: A penthouse on the top floor of Peter Jones (johnlewis.com) in Sloane Square as a London pied-àterre. You'd never need to go anywhere else for shopping.
Best-kept-secret shops in London
Mark: Aram (aram.co.uk) in Covent Garden is so full of integrity and amazing pieces of furniture by the best designers. Zeev Aram also owns the licence to manufacture Modern Movement pioneer Eileen Gray's archive, which is brilliant. I'm a big fan of Retrovius (retrouvius.com), an architectural salvage and design store on Harrow Road where you can find all sorts of quirky homeware. I go to Lassco (lassco.co.uk) in Vauxhall or Bermondsey for antiques. Coming in very close in the top-shops list is my all-time favourite ironmonger's, Clerkenwell Screws.
Favourite fabric shops in London
Mark: I recommend William Gee (williamgee.co.uk) in Dalston and London Trimmings (londontrimmings.co.uk) in Stepney. I was told Kanye West was in London Trimmings recently and apparently he spent stacks of cash there. Wakako: Explore the many African textile shops in Brixton [such as African Queen Fabrics, africanqueenfabrics.com] — they have some crazy stuff.
Cultural hot spots
Mark: I like the Cabinet Gallery (cabinet.uk.com) in Old Street, and the White Cube (whitecube.com) space in Bermondsey is special. I love what Hauser & Wirth (hauserwirth.com) puts on in its galleries, and for a trip out east visit the Tanya Leighton (tanyaleighton.com) gallery. For the medically curious, The Old Operating Theatre Museum in London Bridge (thegarret.org.uk) is worth the climb into the rafters of the baroque church in which it is located.
Wakako: It has to be the Victoria and Albert Museum (vam.ac.uk), which is currently exhibiting hit show David Bowie Is. I like to pop in for a little wander for no particular reason.
Mark: I escape to Karta's Boat by Albert Bridge on the Thames or Queen Mary's Gardens in Regent's Park, which has more than 30,000 roses of 400 varieties. I would always recommend a ride on a river shuttle (thamesclippers.com) for great views of the capital. I also enjoy relaxing with a pewter tankard of champagne or a glass of port in the Boot and Flogger in Southwark (davy.co.uk/bootandflogger).
Mark: I used to collect many inanimate objects. For example, I have an owl collection, luck items from Japanese temples and shrines, a selection of Victorian false eyes, works by Berlin artist Enrico David and gifts from French writer and artist Sophie Calle. But my favourite belongings are our family photographs.
Wakako: A Bizen earthenware bowl that my mother gave us as a wedding present.
Most coveted object
Mark: I yearn for a very comfortable sofa and I have my eye on one in the House at Hautefage (thehouseat.com), an idyllic holiday home in the Lot-et-Garonne region of France. We contributed to the design of the property with London-based interior designer Jason MacLean. It is currently up for sale so the sofa will need a new home soon and we have our eyes on it for our Brixton house.
Wakako: I need a magic cupboard with endless capacity and a self-organising function to spare me the trauma of throwing anything away.
Designers we admire
Mark: When Yves Saint Laurent was working in the late 70s and early 80s with Abraham in Switzerland they printed pretty silks for his ready-to-wear collection that I adore. But keeping up to date with a range of designers can broaden your horizon. We regularly look at website dezeen.com. It is a great platform to check out up-and-coming creatives.
Wakako: Rei Kawakubo, the Japanese fashion designer and founder of Comme des Garçons, for the rare combination of creative purity and commercial savviness.
Our latest project
Mark: We've teamed up with Shed of the Year sponsor Cuprinol, the wood specialists, to help cheer up some of Britain's oldest sheds using our creative touch. One was owned by Kate Wilson in Chiswick and we upcycled it using the Posy Ivy print from our spring/summer 2012 collection. Now the hunt is on to find the shed in most need of love, which will win a bespoke Eley Kishimoto makeover (facebook.com/cuprinol).