Ariane Steinbeck
RPW Design Limited
  1. What inspired you to become an interior designer?

    My Godmother. She has a wonderful gregarious personality, great style and impeccable taste. However, my desire to actually specialize in design for hotels was formed while I studied at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration in Ithaca, NY, USA. Studying a hotel’s function in an interior-architectural sense was a required course, and it coincided with the birth of the boutique hotel in 1984 - Morgans Hotel in New York City, designed by Mme. Andree Putman. I was immediately hooked and have never looked back.


  2. What areas of art and antiques are you interested in and how does this influence you at work?

    It really depends on the visual interest of the particular object, furniture piece or accessory we need to find in order to create the perfect environment or accent. It’s also quite project specific. As to a particular genre or period I am collecting personally - no, nothing specific - as long as the piece makes me happy and it is a joy to look at and to use.


  3. Are there any specific sources, trends and historical eras that you often draw inspiration from?

    Not at all. There has to be an instant appeal and that’s what counts for me. I can buy at auction, from a street vendor, from a dealer, in a junkshop - price is often not related to the aesthetic value and joy it can bring. I’m not at all interested in trends.


  4. There has been a trend towards mixing old with new in the past decade, has this helped you in your advice to clients?

    This to me has never been a trend, it is how my family’s houses were that I grew up in, the houses we visited… it always has been a mix of styles and periods. You inherit certain things, you buy new items, you mix and accumulate - that’s what makes your environment personal.


  5. What top tip would you have for those interested in sourcing and adding antiques to their home?

    Keep your eyes open at all times-you won’t ever know where you might find something - especially when you travel. If you fall in love with an object, your gut instinct will tell you if you will still love it in 20 years’ time. I’d rather buy now instead of regret later. I am still kicking myself for NOT buying certain objects… I value materiality and great craftsmanship, regardless of period or cost.


    Any other words of wisdom/advice you wish to add?

    Hotel Design must be flexible… it has to adapt to locale, budget, brand and the owner’s goals as far as getting a return on their investment is concerned. However, all our work without regard to level of luxury must be the very best quality it can be--for the given budget. A painting, sculpture, furniture item or decorative object; something where even the casual observer can tell that it is not mass-produced, but rather carefully chosen… this can make the difference between an ordinary or extraordinary interior… and in my opinion, this philosophy applies to all design; commercial or residential.