How Rabih Hage Designed A Spritzy, Retro-Inspired Canary Wharf Flat

By Carole Annett

2 weeks ago

With all the pulp in

Carole Annett tours a zingy Canary Wharf flat designed by Rabih Hage.

Home Inspiration: A 70s Inspired Canary Wharf Flat Designed By Rabih Hage

‘The brief from the client was that he wanted to emulate his grandmother’s apartment, decorated in the 70s, for which he had great admiration,’ says interior designer Rabih Hage. ‘He has a big collection of vinyl records and loves the city… that was enough for me to reimagine the apartment that I grew up in, in Paris.

‘The furniture was especially fun to source – a mix of new and vintage,’ he continues.

An architect and interior designer dividing his time between London, New York and the South of France, Rabih designs from the inside out, taking inspiration from his clients to create deceptively effortless spaces suffused with warmth and subtle wit. This apartment, on the upper floors of a residential tower in Canary Wharf, was part of a larger project for the studio, to carve 12 dwellings out of the building’s top five storeys. ‘A big but very exciting challenge,’ he says, ‘the cherry on the cake was being asked to design one for use as a client’s pied-à-terre.’

A red ribbon chair on a geometric rug alongside the mushroom chair, both designed by Pierre Paulin

Two sculptural chairs by Pierre Paulin: the red ribbon chair and the green mushroom chair

Airy and light, the apartment has views extending over Canary Wharf, the City and the rest of London to the west. Rabih has combined vibrant shades and strong shapes to give the interior a unique look, a bespoke rug uniting all the elements of the room. ‘I love bright colour,’ he says, ‘as well as adding depth and repetition through pattern. Most clients ask for colour as small accents against a more muted background but when it comes to my personal choice, and here with carte-blanche from the client, I went full technicolour on big pieces of furniture as well as wallpaper and accessories’. The seating comprises two sculptural chairs by Pierre Paulin, ‘For me the quintessential 70s designer,’ says Rabih, a red Ribbon and green Mushroom chair, both made by Artifort. The sofa is another notable design, drawn on paper by legendary architect Vico Magistretti for Cassina in 1973, and part of its collection ever since. The console table was spotted in a French flea market while the curtains are from a recent collection by Élitis: ‘The pattern is pop art, very 70s,’ says Rabih.

An oak veneer kitchen with a curved breakfast bar and two high seating stools

The breakfast bar is dropped to sit against one edge

He is particularly proud of the kitchen design – oak veneer cupboards with carved recess handles, the whole encased in an ebony macassar frame, like a thick coating of liquorice. A curved breakfast bar looks like it’s been casually ‘dropped’ to sit against one edge. The aesthetic was universally loved and reproduced by the developer across a further 11 apartments. ‘I love designing kitchens,’ he says, ‘this one is relaxed and understated with a twist of nostalgia’. 

A bed with orange and lime coloured sheets, and a bedside table by its side.

Rabih used lime and orange coloured bed linens as statement pieces

Key artworks were commissioned from contemporary British artist Chloë Østmo. ‘She is super talented and I love working with her on special commissions and interiors,’ says Rabih. ‘She inspired me to develop dedicated, site-specific artworks and installations with up-and-coming artists. These creative relationships extend the style and possibilities of our interiors, developing into truly varied and happy emotional journeys,’ he explains. And, I suspect, often journeys involving trips down memory lane.