"Thoughtful design and interesting use of space is at the core of everything we do."
- Lore Group
South African native and London-based Creative Director of the international hospitality firm Lore Group Jacu Strauss has an impressive portfolio and career, to say the least. After graduating from the Bartlett School of Architecture, Strauss took on the senior designer role at Tom Dixon’s Design Research Studio before joining Lore Group. Some of his many spectacular projects include Amsterdam’s Pulitzer hotel, Washington’s Riggs DC, and London’s Sea Containers. In the midst of preparing to re-open the hotels in a post Covid-19 world, we had the opportunity to catch up with the mastermind of eclectic design about his daily routine, the interiors style we can expect to find at his home and what we can all take away from lockdown.
Where is home for you?
In Notting Hill, London - although I often live part-time in other places such as Amsterdam, New York and most recently Washington DC for my latest hotel opening called Riggs DC.
What does your daily routine look like?
No day is quite the same. My morning routine involves eggs for breakfast and tea, and some skincare before getting dressed for the day. Lunch is usually a working lunch and I like sitting down to a proper supper in the evenings. Occasionally I will throw in some exercise although that often feels more like a chore.
What’s the style of your home interiors?
My own home is a mix of things I have collected over the years. Because I start from scratch with all of my projects, I do not have a cookie-cutter approach to my style. It changes and adapts, and my home reflects that in an eclectic way. I love mixing old with new.
Where’s your favourite room/spot in your home and why?
That must be on my Red Verner Panton Cone Heart chair. It just feels so special and it is particularly ergonomic.
Please can you share your top tips for how our readers can easily refresh their interiors for summer?
Firstly, don’t be too ambitious! Nothing is as bad as a half-finished job. I think something easy and satisfying to do is paint a room or the front door. And be brave about it! You can always change it back again and it will not break the bank. It is also satisfying to organise and refresh your personal collection of Tchotchkes (my favourite word to describe a collection of miscellaneous items). One thing I have been doing lately is polishing my own silver items, and it is particularly satisfying. I adore silver as a metal. It need not be very expensive, and it is good to support antique silverware sellers. A trip to the Silver Vaults in London is a magical experience.
You’ve got a day to spend at home with no obligations or distractions. What would we find you doing?
I cannot even imagine what a day without obligations or distractions are like. But on days that are quieter than usual I like to cook and I have also been indulging in painting canvasses for some of my projects. It is incredibly therapeutic, and I really recommend anyone to do this.
Lockdown caused everyone to spend more time at home than ever, which renewed everyone’s interest in their interiors and gardens. What design changes, if any, did you make to your home or wish you could have made to improve your home environment for this period?
I reduced the amount of clutter in my flat and sent loads of stuff to storage. I have realised after the last few months that we really need fewer things and space – breathing room is a luxury!
What did you learn from spending so much time at home and what do you think we can all take away from this period?
Over the years some interiors have become very beige, with many fearing that if they inject too much personality into a space it affects the resale value. I hope after the last few months that many have realised the opposite is more important and that your home should reflect your personality, however questionable it may be! I will not judge… promise!
We really need fewer things. What we have should be special and we should treasure it by looking after it. Good quality “stuff” will last a lifetime if looked after.
What exciting projects are you currently working on?
I am working on three new hotel and restaurant projects in Amsterdam, London and Washington DC. We are also working hard to re-open our hotels in a post Covid-19 world.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
We are always looking for beautiful hotel buildings that need some love. Sometimes they find us!
loregroup.com / seacontainerslondon.com / riggsdc.com / pulitzeramsterdam.com
Image credits for all unless otherwise stated by James McDonald Photography, jamesmcdonaldphotography.co.uk
Fourth Image [Jacu in red chair] by Kasia Gatkowska