The world bid farewell to David Collins earlier this week. The highly talented Irish designer and architect was widely loved and is sure to be missed, but he certainly left a lasting impression on the world.
Graduating from Dublin’s Bolton Street School of Architecture, he fell into the world of interior design by chance after a friend hired him to work on his home. His grandfather was involved in housing and his father was an architect so David felt that design was ‘in his genes’. This started David on a path of extraordinary achievement in design and he soon became a titan in the industry.
His work caught the eye of chef Pierre Koffmann who hired him to refurbish his restaurant La Tante Claire in Chelsea, London. Collins set up the David Collins Studio in 1985 and more high profile jobs quickly followed.
David has created the interiors for Claridge’s Bar, The Connaught’s bar, The Wolseley and many other London institutions.
David also attracted the attention of major retailers who wanted him to add his own spin to their stores. These included Bergdorf Goodman, Harrods, Jimmy Choo and Alexander McQueen. His touch can certainly be felt throughout the city.
The fashion world has been remembering him over the past week. Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman shared how his influence stretched even further than architecture:
‘As well as being responsible for designing many of the most influential London restaurants and bars of our age, he was a dear friend of many at Vogue. His work merged luxury, glamour and heritage in an inimitable fashion and his company was always of the first and most enjoyable order’
He was an expert at marrying history and modernity, displayed superbly in his work at The Gilbert Scott restaurant in the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel. Speaking about the project he said:
‘Our design is a subtle intervention. Heritage buildings need to be considered carefully: the furniture, the palette, the artwork – the restaurant needs to be contemporary and acknowledge the significance of its surroundings’
Many stars flocked to his funeral this week, including Madonna who delivered a ‘beautiful speech’ during the service.
His legacy is a monument to design and comfort. For generations people will enjoy his work, perhaps in subtle ways when they appreciate the surroundings they have found themselves in, but he is still making an impression all the same.