Ben Pentreath is an architect, design commentator and urban designer and since his store opened in Bloomsbury’s Rugby Street in 2008, a purveyor of unique home wares and objet. Decorative artist and maker Bridie Hall has a background in antiques and runs the shop along side creating beautiful things from her London studio. Ben Pentreath Ltd is part of the Christmas pop-up shop The Fourth Floor Corner Shop, where there’ll be plenty to inspire shoppers looking for perfect Christmas pressies.
When did you realise you wanted to work with interiors? BH: As long as I can remember I’ve always been fascinated with how surroundings and objects affect people, and I think I sort arrived at it rather than making the decision.
BP: When I was about 12, or in fact younger.
Where do you go to find inspiration? BH: I’m a total homebody, so its books and magazines. I basically go to Amazon to find inspiration.
BP: I keep my eyes open all the time; books, old buildings, old magazines. My current inspiration is 1960s houses and gardens.
What is your favourite building in the London and why? BP: I don’t have a favourite building, for me that’s like having one favourite thing to eat, I like lots of things! But I’m not that keen on medieval buildings.
BH: The Bank of England gives me a bit of a thrill when I go past it. It is so so serious! I have a crush on it.
If you could go back in time to any era, which would it be? BP: Today; I don’t like the thought of time travel. Being gay, you’d probably be miserable of lynched. If I had to live in an era in the past, it would be 17th-century Holland, it was about as tolerant a society as ever existed, plus they had nice tiles.
BH: I think I’d prefer to stick to this one, so much change and freedom.
Who or what helped you shape your sense of style? BP: Early copies of The World of Interiors.
BH: Ben has been a big help! And living in the UK (I’m from New Zealand) it’s stunning and so proper here.
What is the best way to curate a collection and avoid clutter? BH: I think it’s a pretty organic process, if you like a lot of clutter or things, you’re going to accumulate them, so de-cluttering just becomes a natural thing to do every now and then. I’ve noticed the older I get the less time I have for holding onto stuff. Being relaxed about it probably helps avoid too much hoarding.
What have you got on your wish list at the moment? BH: A sparse light-filled studio of my very own that is an equidistant between my home and the shop – I don’t wish for much!
BP: Free days at my drawing board!
What can we expect at the 4th Floor Corner shop? BP: The Corner Shop is beautiful, what was fascinating to me was to see how many neighbouring shops had a style that was unique to each, but felt unified in the space as a whole.
BH: The space is fantastic and the views are something else. The pop-up has been really well curated to show all sorts of local stores wares in a different environment to how they are normally displayed and it works, everything looks very cool.
As well as designing interiors, I’m also good at… BH: crosswords (I wish) Cooking, it’s the most important thing in the world.
BP: designing buildings, gardening, inviting friends to stay and answering questionnaires!
The 4th Floor Corner Shop will be open until 22nd December.