Camille Walala takes colourful style to the max in self-designed studio


London designer Camille Walala has worked with carpentry workshop Our Department to fit out her own studio with a no-holds-barred version of her colourful design style.

Electric blue floors, graphically patterned cabinetry and a kitchenette with cartoon-like proportions feature in the space, which is located in the Regent Studios building off Broadway Market in East London.

Photo of a brightly coloured kitchenette in Camille Walala's London studio
Camille Walala designed her studio to include a kitchen with exaggerated proportions

The seventh-floor space attracted Walala and her studio manager Julia Jomaa with its sweeping views.

Knowing they would be in no hurry to vacate, the duo took their time with the design, working side by side in the studio for over a year while adjusting the position of their space-dividing furniture until they arrived at a layout with the perfect functionality for them.

Photo of Camille Walala and her studio team in their London office in Regent Studios
The studio chose to embrace colour in the design

Once they decided to embark on the interior design, it was not a given that they would embrace Walala’s signature bold colour palette, as they worried about it potentially clashing with future work.

“We were like, how colourful should we go?” Walala told Dezeen. “Should we keep it quite simple or should we actually go for it?”

But ultimately, she says the desire to feel inspired by their workspace and “inhabit the aesthetic fully” won out.

Photo of the workspace in Camille Walala's London studio
The studio is divided into two rooms including one for “clean” computer-based work

The studio is divided into two rooms – one for “clean” computer-based work and the other for “messy” activities such as painting and model making.

Walala and Jomaa created a 3D model of the interior in SketchUp before bringing in their favourite carpenters” Our Department – a studio specialising in design and fabrication for the creative industries – to realise the design.

The duo of Simon Sawyer and Gustave Andre built all of the elements in the space with a focus on achieving clean lines and pure block colours along with maximum functionality.

Close-up photo of colourful cabinetry at Camille Walala's studio showing relief pattern of cut-out shapes glued onto black MDF doors
Our Department achieved clean lines by sticking coloured shapes onto MDF doors

For the cabinetry, they used doors made of melamine-faced medium-density fibreboard (MDF) and applied a decorative technique they had used on previous Walala projects.

This involved CNC-cutting shapes out of thin MDF, before spraypainting and precisely glueing them onto the doors to create a graphic pattern while avoiding the fuzzy lines that can sometimes come from painting directly onto surfaces.

In the kitchen, the group worked together to exaggerate proportions as much as possible, with Walala saying she dreamed of achieving a “Bart Simpson kitchen” through elements such as chunky handles and bold grout.

“We designed the Lego House a few years ago, this really colourful house,” she explained. “Especially the kitchen in that space was really quite bold and almost like a cartoon, and we thought we should do something similar in our studio.”

By contrast, a more subtle feature is the double sliding door between the studio’s two rooms, which consists of a transparent fluted screen set within a black frame.

While it may be less attention-grabbing, Jomaa says the mesmeric effect of the fluted panels sliding against each other is like a “little animation of colour”.

Photo of a colourful office space with a yellow sofa in front of a big worktable
The workspace also includes natural details like custom tulipwood desk legs

There are also a few natural wood elements throughout the interior such as tulipwood desk legs to balance the liberal use of colour.

As with all residents of Regent Studios, Walala will need to return the rented space to its original condition when her studio eventually leaves, so there are no permanent fixtures and everything is designed to be dismantled.

Even the central “wall”, which contains floor-to-ceiling storage on one side, is freestanding. But the team used kitchen-unit feet to wedge it against the ceiling for stability.

Photo of details in a colourful office space with bold cabinetry, bright blue floors and plants and colourful ornaments on display
Everything is designed to be dismantled when the studio one day moves out

Walala and Jamaa have been working together for eight years and started off sharing a desk in a basement studio. Their recent projects have included murals, installations and a proposal for a car-free Oxford Street.

Walala is often seen as being part of the New London Fabulous wave of maximalist designers, alongside Yinka Ilori, Morag Myerscough and Adam Nathaniel Furman.

The photography is by Taran Wilkhu.


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