- by Eleanor Joslin
Harper’s Bazaar Interiors : A Fashionable Life
As a young girl playing with her grandmother’s cotton reels and button lace, Brigitta Spinocchia Freund could not have imagined where her fascination with fashion and furniture would lead. As time would tell, she’s steered the creativity of one of the most prestigious interior design companies in the world, Candy & Candy, and has her sights set on global domination for her own eponymous practice.
“I was obsessed with vintage jewellery and clothing from the 1930s,” recalls Brigitta, as we soak up the sun from her holiday haven on the Balearic Islands, one of the first projects she undertook when she set up Spinocchia Freund and a real tribute to her interior design talents. “My grandmother was a seamstress for elegant ladies and influenced me a lot, introducing me to fabrics from all over the world. My mother also played a central role in developing my creativity. She loved to collect antiques from the early 17th to 18th century and often took me to flea markets in Paris, bazaars in Turkey and throughout Europe, finding the most unusual and imaginative pieces. It completely opened my mind to furniture, colour and texture. Then, when I started to spend more time with my father who owned an Italian furniture business, I realised I could combine the two by becoming an interior designer.”
She was offered an amazing opportunity working for one of world’s leading luxury interior design companies, Candy & Candy, where she spent seven years designing high-end residences, superyachts and private jets. “As creative director I had exposure to some of the best projects globally and helped to develop their trademark look and style which set the benchmark across London and further afield for luxury design and development,” says the mum-of-three. “With this opportunity I was able to develop myself as a creative and I quickly learnt how to nurture a team to achieve timeless, stunning and unique interiors.”
She was able to work on many luxurious projects including La Belle Epoque in Monaco, one of the state’s most prestigious properties, the Candyscape I and II superyachts, plus a number of private jets. Seven years later, her diverse portfolio inspired her to set up her own practice Spinocchia Freund, in 2009, in London’s glamourous Mayfair. With her own company, she took a more personalised approach to interior design, focusing wholly on the client’s needs and desires to deliver unique and tailored designs.
“When I started the company I really had no idea we would be where we are today, it’s amazing,” she says. Six years later her work has spread across the UK, France, Spain and Switzerland, and she is in the process of launching a furniture collection partly inspired by the Emirates, while additional projects in Dubai, New York and Monaco are in the pipeline, she reveals. “Our clients really value how involved we get with every single aspect of their home. One of the most valuable lessons I have learnt is to always exceed the client’s expectations and never treat a project as just another project. Every time a client opens up their home to me I treat it as an honour as it’s one of the most important and private parts of their life, where they plan to raise their families and make memories that will last a lifetime. To treat it as anything less than extraordinary would be an insult.”
With her family as one of her early clients, they were able to experience this passionate ethos firsthand. Not only is their beautiful eight-bedroom Balearic villa an idyllic family retreat that affords them the utmost privacy, spread across four beautifully landscaped hectares, it has emotional ties, too. This is where she met her husband and shared their long-term dreams of owning a villa on one of the islands, something they realised four years ago. “I love projects with my family as the client as I’m able to truly let my imagination run wild,” she says, as we breathe in the heady scent of jasmine in the picturesque garden, and marvel at some of the 1,500 flowers, century-old olive trees, preserved orangery, Spitfire slide and even the Mad Hatter standing sentry at a floral crossroad. “One of the most amazing aspects of the redesign is the transformation of the grounds and gardens. I simply love the Feng Shui of the free-flowing water as it meanders throughout the gardens. Our three children love the Alice in Wonderland garden and the koi carp pond. They have so much fun being outdoors and they enjoy the freedom to run around as it’s such a contrast to life in London.”
She’s brought the adventurous nature of the outdoors inside, too, with a ‘living’ wall of plants (plus a life-size giraffe) that oxygenates the room. It’s the perfect place to relax and unwind, she says. Many luxurious elements of a chill-out holiday home have been accommodated. All the bedrooms have private outdoor terraces with stunning views of the grounds; their kids, aged one, three and four, can play in two swimming pools or watch films on the outdoor cinema screen; meanwhile, the adults can lounge on large custom-made daybeds and enjoy the poolside bar, spa and yoga areas. The majority of the villa’s furniture was designed bespoke by the London team of Spinocchia Freund, and manufactured by trusted artisans. Bought items include antiques from cities such as London, Paris and New York, a Boca Do Lobo coffee table, Fendi Casa furniture, Philip Arctander Clam chairs and sculpture by Choi Xoo Ang and Joana Vasconcelos.
There really is no limit to her imagination and she’s adept at creating luxurious escapes and havens at home for clients all around the world. Standout projects include an 11,500-square-foot chalet in Courchevel 1850, which she completed in 2013. This was an eight bedroom, ski-in, ski-out chalet with an elegant yet comfortable interior for a family getaway. “One of my favourite features of the property are the three show-stopping selenite chandeliers that hang in the dining room, and double-height living room,” she comments. “We travelled to Morocco and sourced selenite in a small town in the Atlas Mountains. The selenite ‘icicles’ were then hung from branches cast out of bronze. We also designed wall lights that look like big blocks of ice, which have a stunning effect.”
Over the years she’s travelled extensively to the Middle East and worked with private clients in Dubai and Qatar, plus a London home for a well-known Saudi Arabian family. “I loved working on these projects and the fond memories have tempted me to return,” she says. “Due to my success in Europe, now feels like the right time to venture back and I’m very excited about this prospect. In the Middle East luxury is taken to the next level, as we do with our designs, so we have a perfect symbiosis.” In the summer Spinocchia Freund will launch a 20-piece furniture collection named after the cities that have influenced her as a designer, namely Dubai, London, New York and Paris. “Of course, like any business owner, I have great hopes and dreams for where we can take the business,” she says. “As well as expanding throughout the Middle East, I plan to work on projects in North America and the Far East, too. These are regions I often visit for holidays and sourcing trips, and I love the culture and energy there. What they have in common is iconic architecture and passion for the ultimate in luxurious design and lifestyle – exactly what Spinocchia Freund offers.”