Anouska Hempel
If I were . . .

Anouska Hempel is revered across the world for her originality and her influence. Her portfolio runs the full gamut of high-end residential, hospitality and retail interiors; landscaping projects; product design for brands such as Louis Vuitton and Van Cleef & Arpels; haute couture, and superyachts. Having begun her professional life as an actress – notably as an “angel of death” in the Bond film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – she then turned to design, opening the ground-breaking Blakes hotel in 1978. This – and her later hotel, The Hempel – changed the lexicon of hospitality design, winning her projects that have included The Franklin, Grosvenor House Suites, the Duxton Reserve in Singapore and Monsieur George in Paris. Her interiors are renowned for their symmetry and Asian influences, always either saturated in colour or serenely white-on-white.

If I were a CAR, it would be a beautiful, black-and-yellow polished Buick swaying through the streets of Havana, the open boot revealing a bounty of cigars bought from the Plaza Vieja.

If I were a SONG, it would be Barcelona sung by Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé.

If I were a FABRIC – a Harris Tweed – itchy as hell.

If I were a FRUIT, I would like to be a simple little Tamarillo fruit; hardly anyone knows about them although they are similar to a passion fruit.

If I were a FILM, it would be The Last Tango in Paris, a movie I first watched in the Monsieur George Hotel.

If I were an ISLAND, I would like to be the legendary Atlantis.

If I were a TYPEFACE, I would choose Times Roman; it has been the font I have used since I opened Blakes.

If I were a BOAT, I would be a wooden Gulet from Turkey. I love its shape, as it slices through the waves at a gentle pace, moving up and over the waves.

If I were a COCKTAIL, I would definitely be Yellow Peril: it is the signature cocktail – one crowned with chrysanthemum – served at the Duxton Reserve in Singapore, reflecting the dramatic black-and-yellow stripes I chose for the legendary Yellow Pot restaurant when I redesigned the entire hotel.

If I were a GAME – Mahjong: I love its fast pace and the building of the walls. It’s a game with a multitude of bamboo bricks, each a set of symbols hand-etched to represent Asian winds, flowers, characters, dragons and bamboos.

Anouska Hempel, portrait by Snowdon