AT Interview: John Teall of Flux Interiors

AT Interview: John Teall of Flux Interiors

Keehnan Konyha
Oct 29, 2008

Back in August, we reposted a piece on director Roland Emmerich's London home; we were so taken with its designer John Teall that we thought we would ask him a few questions about his philosophy and his firm, Flux Interiors...

Q: In the Emmerich house, art seems to command the space as much as furniture placement and decor - more so in places. How do you see the role of art in interior design? Do you draw a line between the two? Was this project more of a one-off, or is this a direction (that of specifically commissioning pieces for an environment) you would like to head in in the future?

A: I tend to avoid the art word, in any context. I'm a fan of creative thought that takes me to places I haven't been, I think anything has the potential to do that though, furniture, painting,books, films, architecture, sculpture whatever it just depends how good the guide is and if they've made it interesting or not. I make no distinction between fields, inspiration comes from everywhere and anywhere. In terms of what that produces, it's really down to other people how they classify that. For me, I try and avoid getting into the classification process as that can become really restrictive. Take the Louis XIV beheading chair for example (a Louis XVI chair, with a painting of the beheading of Louis XVI), it's an antique, a painting, its politics, its humour - at the end of the day its a chair that you like… or you don't. Thats all.

Q: Some of the shots in your portfolio, the Ahmadinejad room for example, read almost as installations disguised as rooms. The blanket made from army briefs, the stack of military-themed pornography - do you have a background in art traditionally relegated to galleries?

A: Again I'm nervous of what a background in art means, but yes probably. What I like, and have done tends to be focused around creative thought. I have been involved with gallery based work, but also with film, photography, theatre, poetry, sculpture, architecture, written word, I have an interest in anything where you get to play with ideas. What appeals to me about interiors though is that they allow such a freedom to mix all this. A room can be a gallery, a stage, a stone to sculpt, a story to tell, I like that there's no restriction.

Q: How long have you been the principal of Flux? What brought you to starting your own firm, and where would you like to take it?

A: I started Flux just over 4 years ago. It felt the natural thing to do to start up by myself, it's been great as it allows me to keep full creative freedom. There's many directions I'm currently working in, and would like to in the future: we have 2 gallery based projects I'm working on, a book, 3 apartments and a house, 5 new furniture pieces, including a table which I'm hoping to release as a single.

Q: As a decorator, Mr. Emmerich seems like a dream client; someone with a sense of humor and a willingness to take risks. Who would you love to work for? What projects are you dying to see actualized?

A: Who would I like to work for? Hmmm, maybe God, I recently did out a house as the Garden of Eden for a party, and you know he had some great ideas, I think we could do some interesting work together. Projects I'm dying to see actualised, is always pretty much whatever I'm working on - today I'm off to see the progress on a bedroom I'm doing with a wallpaper of flocked penis' and a shoe cabinet inspired by er…. shoes.

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