Derek Laws (or Del as he prefers to be known) got the inspiration for the interior of his living room from an unusual source – golf. He was playing a round at Turnberry when he was suddenly struck by the beauty of his surroundings. "It was a sunny Scottish day in March," he recalls.
The 42 year old, city banker’s Clerkenwell flat looks ostensibly minimal – there’s no art on the walls, for instance – but look a little closer and it’s possible to detect his influences. "The blinds are the sky, the storage is the clouds, the cushions are the grass, and I’m going to get a yellow desk chair," he explains. The huge USM storage cabinet with USM Haller E lighting, dominates one wall of the room is integral to the scheme of course.
His relationship with the brand started 15 years ago when he moved into a new flat and suddenly found himself with more space. "I had enough room for a desk area, so what I wanted was nice-looking office furniture – and there wasn’t that much of it around." Since then he has added more pieces (including the wardrobe in the hallway) enjoying the product’s engineering, functionality and flexibility. "It was just the aesthetic I liked," he says. "It felt very modern and very well-built. It looked very solid. Plus if I wake up one day and want this thing to be orange, then it’s very doable. If I change my mind four years later and want to go back to white I can do that too."
"There’s also the fact that you can break stuff down and re-build it."
While the large flat-screen TV is at the heart of the media unit, it’s his collection of books that are really fascinating, including football biographies (he’s a big Arsenal fan having grown up around the corner in North London’s Archway), American new journalism from the like of Tom Wolfe, modern history and politics, as well as sci-fi. "The television is the centre point but I wanted stuff around so you’ve got other things to look at," he says. In fact, if he does ever move, the books will probably be more difficult to transport then the USM. "I love the fact it’s robust and long-living," he concludes. "It’s also very portable. I could pick it up, take it away and put it anywhere."
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