“I may have chosen the design and the concept for the house, but for the most part the art chose us.”
Architect and designer Julia von Werz has made a name for herself by bringing craftsmanship and beauty back to contemporary design. Sourcing materials for her furniture from riverbeds and old farms, she has opened up a pop-up store in Munich with one soon to follow in London. Julia spares us a moment to take us on a tour of her beautiful London home and tells us the stories behind the art that covers her walls.
FAM: Julia could you tell us a little bit about your path from pure architecture into designing furniture and working with interiors?
Julia: Just look at Mies, Dominioni, Ponti, or any other of our heroes, none of their architecture stopped at the exterior line. You can see it in the DNA of nearly all their projects. Although I have been concentrating a little more on furniture lately, my partner and I are breaking ground on a new house in Ibiza soon.
What is the latest project you have been working on?
Aside from the Ibiza project and a medical practice in Germany, I recently launched my first pop-up store in Munich. At the moment, we are hard at work on the followup, opening in London soon.
How did you approach the renovation and designing process of your house here in Holland Park?
When we first walked into the house, I was struck by these two fireplaces which where surrounded by a really special green marble, and so I gave the house this green theme and created a green library, a green kitchen, green cabinets, and a green garden. It might sound a little over the top, but by playing with the tones and textures it all comes together in what is a very happy home for us.
The artwork in your home seems to perfectly follow the lines of your own designs. What do you put emphasis on when choosing art for your own home?
A fair share of our art is from artists we know personally, my favorite piece being a photo of the Schafwaschen (Sheep Wash) by Christoph Stepan. It reminds me of my home and gives me such a pleasure to look at—and it’s almost impossible not to try to detect friends or relatives among the Brueghel-esque throng on the frozen lake. I also love the clouds by Franz Hochmayr. Their beauty is subtle and daydreamy.
Is this something your husband wants to involve himself in as well or does he prefer for you to take over the art and design part in the house?
Oh, he is absolutely involved in that side of our life. Every day he draws new images on the blackboard in our dining room with our kids and, if you ask me, those are the best pieces of art in the house!
Just as you prefer to work with certain materials for your furniture, does this apply to artwork as well? I have noticed a lot of photographs around the house.
I don’t think that’s premeditated, to be honest. I may have chosen the design and the concept for the house, but for the most part the art chose us. It just happened to be photographs that we loved.
Looking at the board behind the dining table, your children seem to have picked up on your artistic influence as well. Is it important to you that they experience making art at an early age or do they just “have it in them”?
They both love the blackboard and never get tired of it, always coming up with new ideas—and the scale makes it very interactive, one day it might be a distant landscape, and the next they’re surrounding themselves in a rocket ship!
I love the photograph above the mantelpiece, how did you come to acquire that?
There’s a funny story behind this one: we found an old 1960’s large format promotional poster for a construction company at a flea market. The image you see is only a small part of it, but it reminded us of a simpler time and so we trimmed it down and had it framed.
Check out Julia von Werz’s website.
Interview by Duncan Ballantyne-Way — Senior Editor