Pedro Garcia’s Vintage-Filled Apartment in London
Images by Ho Hai Tran
This feature with London based artist & textile designer Pedro Garcia came into being over the past couple of months, with each decision – from the colour of linen we’d shoot to the time of day our photographer would visit – being thoughtfully and politely considered by Pedro. Such is the nature of this humble and talented creative who has found a niche for himself that combines his background in fashion with his love of art, textiles and design. We sat down with Pedro to talk more about his time in London, creating a space with his partner Dàvid, and the evolution of his artistic practice.
“I live in Stoke Newington, with my partner Dàvid who is a psychotherapist and writer. We have lived here for three years now. What I love most is how much natural light we get from the large windows. The living room is South facing and the changing light throughout the day is beautiful as the shadows move around the room.
“I studied fashion but I have been more interested in interiors recently and enjoy rummaging through markets and junk shops or trawling eBay for furniture. We have bought most things at markets or second hand and don’t mind things that are a little worn down. We really like to create a tranquil environment and are inspired by spaces like Jim Ede’s Kettle's Yard, Finn Juhl’s house and Luis Barragán. They are evocative of nature and the perfect mix of something organic and architectural. I am more drawn to natural materials, wood, marble, fibres like linen and wool and less to high shine or slick surfaces.”
I studied fashion but I have been more interested in interiors recently and enjoy rummaging through markets and junk shops or trawling eBay for furniture.
“Our bedroom is the space we go to recharge since it is quieter and less exposed. It is the perfect cosy space during the long English winter. Dàvid does a lot of writing from the desk. After using my eyes all day, I often lie on the bed and listen to podcasts and music to give them a break. Winter here means it’s dark by 3pm and during these months we set up a projector and watch films in bed.”
“Having lived here on different visas I have always had a sense of impermanence and it is only now I feel settled and have roots here. Because of this my possessions are minimal but I have a few things that are special. A stone dish I bought in Morocco on a holiday with two friends who I miss, a ceramic Dàvid gave me by local ceramicist Noe Kuremoto. We have a sketch of us drawn by an illustrator named Kit. It really captures us and reminds me of that time in London. The last thing would be the two vintage leather arm chairs in the living room. I love the shape and the rust-coloured leather which has a beautiful patina. They were also the first pieces of furniture we bought together for the apartment.”
“I studied fashion Design at East Sydney Design Studio focusing on menswear. I grew up in the suburbs of Southwestern Sydney and studying at fashion school was an eye opening and exciting time where I was really able to explore my creativity. I met so many talented creatives who went on to become good friends and sometimes co-workers. There was a great network of support which was helpful when it came to finding new opportunities in the industry.”
“After graduating I worked at Ksubi and Marcs. These were both really different experiences and I was grateful for both jobs but I really wanted a job where I could travel so I decided to move to London. I worked as a menswear designer for a high street company and even though the product didn’t fit my personal style it allowed me to travel often to places like Portugal, Hong Kong and Bali. Ultimately this wasn’t a direction I wanted to continue so I quit my job just before the pandemic started. I wanted to shift to something more artistic and since I had always enjoyed drawing and painting and excelled at these areas in fashion school, I chose to focus on textile print design. All the prints I create are hand drawn and painted and the labels I have worked with are after designs where the human hand is evident.”
“My sister Victoria, who is an amazing illustrator and also a textile designer, put me in touch with the creative director of Commas and I have been creating seasonal prints for them since 2017. Recently I have also been creating designs for Venroy who are making some great pieces with their new direction and New York label Merlette who make such beautiful dresses. I have been lucky to be able to work with labels whose aesthetic and product I really like and understand, not to mention working with friendly and talented teams behind these brands.
“I have just moved into a studio workspace and am currently focusing on creating some paintings. Drawing on my background in fashion and textile design, I am painting and collaging fabric pieces which are then sewn together into compositions and stretched onto a frame. It has been refreshing to create in this way using construction methods like cutting and sewing which I haven’t done since fashion school.”
“I am constantly looking for inspiration or my mental reference library, through visiting galleries or museums, watching films, reading magazines or just walking the streets. I will often block out a whole day to visit a few galleries and book shops and department stores in town. Textile print briefs are a good way to translate these references and I am always excited to work on a new idea. The creation process for a print design is always different but it usually starts with a moodboard from the client. We discuss what it is they want to capture, refining motifs, colour palettes and artistic styles.
I am constantly looking for inspiration or my mental reference library, through visiting galleries or museums, watching films, reading magazines or just walking the streets.
More often than not there is something in the cultural zeitgeist I have seen or been interested in that can inspire the direction of a design, whether it be an artist, particular colour or subject matter . Because the themes and aesthetics are different season to season and brand to brand, there is a lot of experimenting on my part. I usually lay out lots of paper and sketch or paint some rough ideas until something looks interesting or feels right. As an overthinker I really enjoy this part of the process and have learned a lot just by doing without thinking too much. Then I will try and refine it a bit before I propose it as an idea. There can be a lot of back and forth but usually there is a mutual understanding of what we are trying to achieve. I am more interested in material rather than subject matter and I am always looking to play with something new.”
“I have lived in London for 7 years now and have always lived around Hackney, Clapton first and now Stoke Newington. I love how multicultural and diverse Hackney is. There is also a creative energy and freedom of expression in the east that is really inspiring. Stoke Newington is a bit of a bubble as it is disconnected from convenient public transport. There is a community feel with lots of green spaces. We live right near Clissold Park, which is beautiful year-round. In winter it is a great place for a morning walk. In the summer I come here to lie in the sun and read and you will see everyone lying on the grass in their bikinis and boardshorts. The West Reservoir is also nearby and a great place for wild swimming. Abney Park is a beautiful garden cemetery with woodland paths and walking here became part of our daily routine during the first lockdown.”
“Church Street is just around the corner and it’s filled with good independent design and homeware stores. I like Search and Rescue,Nook, and Committee of Taste has beautiful vintage furniture. On a lazy weekend I love trawling Princess May Car boot sale where I have found some gems like a buttercream cord blazer and camel mohair coat. If you don’t find anything there, cross the road and go to Beyond Retro.”
“In the New Year I’m looking forward to the most is travelling to Australia in the new year to visit my family. I haven’t seen them for 2 years as a result of the pandemic. Winter here lasts a few months so it will be good to escape the cold for an Australian summer. I am also excited to make more work outside of textile print designs and keep exploring and developing an artistic practice.”