If Louise Frostick were ever to meet Jarvis Cocker, it’s fair to assume they wouldn’t get on, at least not on the subject of interior decor.
Where the Pulp frontman sings longingly of his childhood crush (“Deborah, do you recall?/Your house was very small/With woodchip on the wall”), Louise wouldn’t have noticed them at all.
“I was in my parents’ spare room once, and I just lay there surrounded by all this woodchip,” says Kanvas’ head of design. “It was horrible. Even worse than Artexing.” She shudders.
Disco 2000’s lyrical evocation of a long-anticipated meeting is, however, apt – the fact that Building is in the pub with Kanvas at all is a minor miracle. Having failed to sort out an evening date, we were due to hook up one lunchtime the week before we eventually meet. This was scuppered by the transport system, which stranded Andy in Letchworth.
I was in my parents’ spare room once, and I just lay there surrounded by all this woodchip. It was horrible. Worse than artexing
But now we’ve finally made it to the The Distillers in Smithfield. “The interior is in keeping with the building, so that’s good,” says Mason, running a professional eye over the pub, which Andy has bravely described as “East End meets trendiness”. The spirit of the Blitz is certainly alive – in a case of crunch hits lunch, Building has cheerfully presented its guests with three bucketfuls of chips – which turn out to be giant offcuts of potato. Get those carbs while you can.
Mason’s an expert commentator on the “bad boy chips” but, asked about how to improve the venue’s decor, he’s stumped. “I’d probably make it insipid.” He’s in business development, and “insipid” was a client’s verdict on an attempt he once made at design.
Louise has spotted a feature she likes: “Chandelier, in the toilets”, she says, mentally cataloguing. It could come in useful; she’s currently redecorating her eighth house, living in each as she does it up. Her last was a manor house, complete with a spa bathroom. Unfortunately, she’s now moved downmarket – “in suburbia, with worst shower in the world.”
‘Chandelier, in the toilets’ Louise says, mentally cataloguing. It could come in useful
At least her own projects save her from the madness of clients: “One guy flew his wife over from India to supervise the colour scheme. She liked everything blue and orange. So if there was a blue chair, she’d say it needed an orange cushion. They flew her all this way to tell me that.”
According to Louise, “90% of design is about memory”. Andy is not to be outdone: “I tried to recreate a Beatles album once.” “What, musically?” asks Mason, baffled. “No, the picture. For a promotion. I’ve also tried Argentina’s World Cup victory …”
Not sure what to make of Andy’s budding artistic career, Mason starts showing phone pictures of his “baby” – a silver Porsche 911. It may not be environment-friendly but, as he says, it’s safer for him to stick to driving. Otherwise, he has a habit of falling over in a manner that Louise says “makes him look like a stricken giraffe”. Sadly, before this intriguing spectacle can materialise, it’s time to head off.
Chosen venue: The Distillers, Farringdon, east London
Ambience: Plush gastropub
Topics: The horrors of woodchip, showers in suburbia, reasonable excuses for owning Porsches
Drinks drunk: Two pints Fosters, two Sols, two diet Cokes, two pints UBU Nosh: Three bowls of giant chips
Mason Booth Associate Director
Louise Frostick Head of Design
Andrew Geldard Head of Communications
Sarah Richardson Building