A challenging business climate brings out the best in people, inspires creativity and opens up opportunity. So believes Bergman Interiors’ London-based founder and creative director, Marie Soliman. ‘What we need now,’ she says, speaking from the heart, ‘is positivity, passion, flexibility and enthusiasm.’
With projects under way in Norway, Brussels, the Middle East, Canada and Britain, and more in the pipeline in New York, South-East Asia and Australia, Soliman has much to be enthusiastic about. Britain, and London in particular, she says, are at the top of the design game and continuing to inspire: ‘Clients from all over the world still look to Britain when sourcing designers for their projects. We couldn’t be prouder that our brand is British, and we celebrate our artisans but we are also truly international. We like our designs to come with a bit of a story, and working internationally feeds this passion.’
Creating strong personal connections with both clients and other brands has undoubtedly enriched the Bergman identity, leading to designing beyond just interiors
Bergman Interiors has a diverse portfolio of hotels, commercial spaces and residential projects that keeps the business on its toes. Its own home – a riverside converted brewery with 360-degree views across London – is almost a blueprint for this diversity. The building started as an industrial shell that is now a cosy, open space with character, light and charm. ‘In the heart of this industrial factory you are surrounded by the poetry of the river, park views and ancient cottages built by King Henry VIII in the 16th century. We have a beautiful art collection here: Basquiat, Kaws, Heather Day, Ben Slow, Rick Owens, Michele Lamy and others, celebrating the colours of London, dawn till dusk.’
Bergman recently completed BXR London, a boxing gym housed in a cavernous, high-ceilinged space in Marylebone, which packs a punch with design that reflects the history, glamour and craftsmanship of the sport. ‘We created an unexpected industrial chic look using rough concrete panels, back lit dark-tinted mirrors, bronze and brass accents, braided leather screens and murals of boxing greats by London street artist Ben Slow. It creates a theatrical yet unintimidating guest experience,’ says co-founder and managing director, Albin Berglund.
Still in the field of wellness, Bergman has contributed to WE11, a new concept fitness studio in Great Portland Street with a fully equipped training studio for therapists and personal trainers, an organic F&B offering and an aesthetically pleasing ‘barefoot luxury’ feel inspired by five-star hospitality and articulated by Bergman’s design.
Berglund and Soliman feel that creating strong personal connections with both clients and other brands has undoubtedly enriched the Bergman identity, leading to designing beyond just interiors: ‘Through each phase of a project, we develop wonderful relationships with our clients – and often genuine friendships. One client even asked us to design a walking stick – in a contemporary way, combining carbon fibre with gold detailing. Another asked us to design a chessboard. It was one of the most beautiful products we have ever designed, and we’re very proud that it is soon to be launched in Harrods. For us it’s an honour to have developed this kind of trust.’