The Silk Route

Have you ever had too much of a good thing?  I felt exhausted after London Design Week.  Now, that I have some distance from it, I’d like to revisit some of the shows I visited with renewed enthusiasm.

Interior designer, Kit Kemp, was asked to design the entrance to the Decorex design fair  based on the Silk Route.  She produced 2 stands flanking the entrance – one a bedroom and the other a courtyard.  She was also signing copies of her new book, A Living Space, which I purchased and will review at a later date.

As you may know, Kit Kemp, is responsible for a series of cool London hotels such as the Soho Hotel and Charlotte Street Hotel.  She and her husband also own Crosby Street Hotel in New York City which I love.

crosbyhotel outside

clockwise from top: Crosby Street, courtyard lanterns, entrance, courtyard

Situated on a quiet cobbled street in SoHo, the Crosby Street Hotel is a nice place for a break from shopping and sightseeing.  Judging by the eclectically furnished hotel, it’s easy to see why Kit Kemp would be a good choice for a Silk Route themed Decorex stand.

Crosby Street Hotel lounge and lobby

Crosby Street Hotel lounge and lobby

The term “silk route” refers to the trade route crossing from China, India, the Middle East and Europe.  Many profitable items, especially Chinese silks, fabrics, arts and artifacts made the crossing and were influential in the art and design of Europe.

Silk Route in 1st Century A.D.

Silk Route in 1st Century A.D.

Kit Kemp’s entrance stands at Decorex did not disappoint.  Called A Weaver of Dreams, they combined luxurious fabrics, found objects, and artisanal work into two interesting, visually stunning spaces.

The bedroom has an ornate bed festooned with silks and embroidery.  The allusion to weaving is played out with the canopied loom installation by London artist, Hermione Sky O’Hea.  By the way, the cloth wallpaper was designed by Kit Kemp herself.


Let’s take a look at some of the details shall we?  I’m not enthusiastic about the shell table (too busy) but love the bedspread.

The sitting area of the bedroom is likewise a textural and visual feast.  I like the touches of grey shot throughout this scheme (in the wallpaper, sofas, rug, wood flooring etc.) which ground and tie together this very colourful room.

sitting area

The details are too beautiful not to note.  Those raffia clustered lamps are beautifully ornate yet simple.

Now, onto the courtyard which holds a beautiful copper tub and more lounging areas. The sculptural waterfall in the back adds the soothing sound of water.

bathrub courtyard

I love the textures and bright colours brought out in the details.

I’d like to think this courtyard bathing space leads off from the bedroom that she designed – how beautiful and luxurious an experience would that be?


The hot, spicy colours of the East were teamed with neutrals for contrast.  Kit Kemp has done a fabulous job of referencing many of the items and innovations which made their way back and forth along the silk route (for example, the waterwheel, apples and paper).  Thankfully, she left out the bubonic plague.

If you are interested in more items from the Silk Route, check out L’Essenziale Boutique, an online store dedicated to handcrafted items from countries found along this ancient route.  The owner, an interior designer, is a graduate of the KLC School of Design, with a serious case of wanderlust and excellent taste.

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