The Serpentine Gallery's Julia Peyton-Jones: my design London

Julia Peyton-Jones, director of the Serpentine Gallery — which has just unveiled its new pavilion by Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto — reveals her secret London shops, her passion for freshly laundered white sheets and how she dreams of driving a Sixties Jaguar E-Type
Julia Peyton-Jones, director of the Serpentine Gallery — which has just unveiled its new pavilion by Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto — reveals her secret London shops, her passion for freshly laundered white sheets and how she dreams of driving a Sixties Jaguar E-Type.

Julia Peyton-Jones
Julia Peyton-Jones loves walking her Jack Russell, Charlotte, in Kensington Gardens

What my home means to me


I live in South Kensington, near to where I was brought up, where I went to school and where I went to art school. So it's home turf and also near the Serpentine: brilliant for when I forget a pair of shoes or when I need to take Charlotte, my Jack Russell terrier, home before I go out to dinner.

Favourite object


My Damien Hirst limited-edition ashtray, which reminds me of when I used to smoke — we'd have meetings on the roof of the Serpentine so we could smoke outside in those days.

I was a prodigious smoker. I loved it. So when I gave it up seven years ago, the ashtray became the legacy of those days and my smoking past.

My luxury


Sleeping in freshly laundered white cotton sheets, which are the most luxurious and delicious form of comfort and relaxation. I'm too unsophisticated to have a favourite brand but I usually buy them from John Lewis.

My fantasy


I'd love to own a Sixties E-Type Jaguar, which is absolutely sublime and the most glamorous car on the planet. Not only is it a design classic, but one of the iconic designs of the whole period. It would be wonderful to own. If I had one, I'd go out and pat it every night and put it to bed.

E-Type Jaguar
The E-Type Jaguar is a design classic says Julia

My favourite restaurant


I love Shrimpy's in The Filling Station at King's Cross. It's so unexpected, small and unpretentious. It's also gloriously eccentric, yet it is sophisticated. My father used to call my sister Shrimpy when she was growing up, so it has a nice connotation.

Buying art


The Frieze London art fair, held every October in Regent's Park — this year it will run from the 17th to the 20th — is an amazing shot in the arm for art in the capital, especially now that the event has added Frieze Masters and Pad.

It means that you now get three shows in one: contemporary, historical and design. With the rest of London's museums and galleries all opening up, too, for that week the capital is the cultural epicentre of the world.

Lazy Sunday


I'd sleep in late, then walk my dog in Kensington Gardens and watch the swans taking off and landing at the Round Pond. It's one of the great sights anywhere in the world.

I'd have lunch with friends, jump in a cab to see an exhibition, come home and read the papers, then finish the day off at the cinema with the latest Coen Brothers movie. They are stellar film-makers with an incredible history, whose films have become a part of popular culture.

Best new designer


All my thoughts are about Sou Fujimoto who has designed the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion. What I love about the design is the incredible marriage between architecture and nature. To invite him to do the pavilion allowed him to explore those aspects of his architecture for which he is best known, and he has done a stellar design.

Sou Fujimoto
© Getty
A marriage between architecture and nature: Sou Fujimoto has designed the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion

Air chairs by Jasper Morrison
Favourite shop: Jasper Morrison's 1999 Air chairs

My favourite shop


Jasper Morrison's shop in Hackney is one of the best unkept secrets in London. It's a big secret yet not a secret.

What he's done is created a shop that is also a fantastic exhibition of design with workaday objects such as the Fiskar's orange-handled scissors which I've bought.

They are just like the ones my mother used to keep in the kitchen drawer at home, and they take me right back to my childhood.

Best monument


Nelson's Column. In London, which is both horizontal and vertical, it's a fixed point. Everything starts with that — it's the centre of the compass. If you imagine strings coming out, it's a kind of anchor for the city.

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