Enter The Kaleidoscopic World Of Designer Kit Kemp


Kit Kemp

Designer Kit Kemp. Photo: Brittany Ambridge

living area with red walls and matching textiles throughout the space

Photo: Simon Brown

striped textile

Photo: Courtesy GP & J Baker

wallpaper with running deers, castles, trees, and flowers

Photo: Courtesy GP & J Baker

If the recent quiet luxury trend is meant to be a visual palate cleanser, Kit Kemp’s interiors are the most delightful and sense-stirring amuse bouche you’ve ever had—color-forward, pattern-happy, and embellished with a true connoisseur’s love of global art and craft. As the co-owner and creative director of Firmdale Hotels, with properties in London and New York, Kemp welcomes guests into her bespoke, kaleidoscopic world every day on a single premise: “Even the most jaded business travelers should find something in the hotel that piques their curiosity, has a sense of whimsy and brings out their inner child,” she says.

Nestled among Tribeca’s cobblestone streets, the Warren Street Hotel, her latest hospitality venture, is a celebration of contemporary art and international artistry. Here, Kemp has gathered works by an impressive globe-spanning coterie of artisans, including Argentine designer Cristian Mohaded’s floating basket-weave towers and Ugandan artist Sanaa Gateja’s paper-bead tapestries that mingle with Christopher Kurtz’ stepping stones table. But she especially has a soft spot for textiles. “It’s the love of the loom,” she confesses. “When you’re bringing in that handmade quality, it doesn’t matter if you’re a crafter in Scotland or a weaver in Guatemala, they all have that made-by-hand feel, and you start to see the handwriting of the person who made it.”

Kemp believes every textile is threaded with the DNA of its birthplace, whether that’s India, Mexico or Estonia, and just the simple act of thinking about those places spurs her creativity. The influence of this imaginative approach is evident in her new collection of fabrics and wallpaper for British heritage brand GP & J Baker. The line’s whimsical prints feature the folkloric plates of ceramicist Robina Jack, a potato-stamped grid honoring the work of Pop artist Joe Tilson, and a colorful take on an archival 1920s woodland scene, among others. Reflects Kemp, “To look at things that fill you with love and suddenly be able to create a fabric, cushion, or bedspread around them–Isn’t that the absolute best way to design?”