ARCHITECTURE’S IT GIRL

There was no question when scouting out a talented architect to create a stylish vision for the Topshop Showspace that it just had to be Pernilla Ohrstedt. Not only has this Swedish-born creative designed installations for the 2012 Olympic Village and Venice Biennale but she’s also a fashion favourite having teamed up with DAKS and Antipodium on past achingly cool projects. Whether it’s Vogue, the Gentlewoman or the Architect’s Journal. Ohrstedt’s name is a regular feature in prestigious magazines and creative tomes around the world. Taking over the gorgeous gardens and sprawling pathways of Regent’s Park’s Inner Circle, Ohrstedt has created a truly sweeping, spacious and utterly stylish Showspace. We can’t tell you much more until the big reveal on Sunday but we can promise you’ll be impressed! Between the intricate plans and the heavy construction Ohrstedt mananged to spare a few moments to talk design and style with yours truly.

What was the initial inspiration behind the Showspace?

The Park itself!

How was it working with such an iconic space in London?

I go running in Regents  Park, so it is more familiar than iconic to me. But Regents College Gardens is normally off limits so it is a privilege to be able to invite people to the Showspace.

How did the park feed into the design?

I was intrigued by aerial photographs of the Park which show the formal arrangement of the Park’s pathways contrasted with the well-worn ribbons of dirt that that cut across the Park’s lawns at the end of the summer. These pathways, made by people taking shortcuts across the grass, are known as Desire Lines. Like these trampled paths, the idea was that whatever we proposed would feel like a very natural intervention, allowing the Park to speak for itself.

How many drafts do you have to go through to get to the final one?

The concept fell into place quite early on but after that there have been quite a few iterations to get the details and arrangements of spaces to work for all the involved parties and with the incredibly fast turn around that Fashion Week requires.

How did the fashion element come through in the design?

The dialogue and feedback from Kate Phelan was extremely valuable. Her approach to design has definitely inspired this year’s Showspace.

Without giving too much away, what can we expect to see?

Grass and chalked grass, giant non-woven geo-textiles, a stacked ‘through and through’ sawn Douglas fir tree trunk and a series of pathways inspired by the simple constructions that take you across boggy marshes in northern Sweden to take you across the lawn between the different spaces.

What fashion designers do you love and who are you excited to see at London Fashion Week?

Apart from the Unique show I am of course very excited to see all the designers that will be showing in the Showspace on monday and tuesday.

What other architects inspire you work?

From the past it must be the Brazilian modernist architect Lina Bo-Bardi but I tend to draw much of my inspiration from the Art world – at the moment I am obsessed by the work of Michael Heizer.

What do you like to do on your day off?

If distance was no issue I would spend every moment off in my little lakeside cottage outside Stockholm.

Have you been on any inspirational trips this year?

I recently came back from a design conference in San Francisco – the innovation focus in that city is mind-blowing.

How would you describe your style?

I am not really one for following trends but doing collaborations with the fashion world I get close to the creative work behind the designs which is very inspiring.  I hope that rubs off on my style!

Don’t forget to watch the Topshop Unique SS14 shows live from Pernilla’s designed Showspace over on  Topshop.com at 3pm GMT this Sunday! We can’t wait for you to see what makes its way down the catwalk…