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The boutique studio focuses on using locally sourced, high-quality materials and repurposing antique items.
By Sophie Killip | February 1 2021
Though 2020 was a difficult year for many, for some the extra time at home provided the time and space they needed to fully commit to projects or ideas that might otherwise never have seen completion. For Tatiana Fokina, this went one step further; last year – in the middle of the pandemic – she set up Studio Caché, a boutique interior design studio based in London that works across graphic design as well as the residential and the hospitality industries.
Fokina isn’t new to design, however. Born in St. Petersburg, she was surrounded by the city’s awe-inspiring architecture as she grew up and explains that it felt like design became “part of [her] DNA – you don’t realize how much you take in as a child. All the beauty I’d taken in over the years started to manifest. I realized that I actually really enjoy not just the outcome but the process.” Before launching Studio Caché, Fokina had worked on numerous projects – both her own and collaborations with other designers – including product and graphic design, Hedonism Wines and the Hide restaurant in London. It was after finishing work on Hide, Fokina says, that she realized design was “something I wanted to do very seriously, so I decided to make it part my career.”
Despite the difficulties of 2020, Studio Caché was born with a simple, straightforward motto: Beauty in Detail. “I try to create timeless, atmospheric spaces that are warm, tactile, natural and detail-centric,” Fokina explains. “My interiors are usually calm and full of little details that might not be picked up the first time. However, when you notice them, it awakens your curiosity; you can follow the details as a treasure hunt or trail and discover the space through the details.”
The studio has recently completed work on two projects: Hideaway, a charming cafe in Mayfair, and a private home called Lapsas Ala in Jūrmala, Latvia. While it’s not unusual for design studios to work on several projects at once, these two were made all the more complicated, as they were both being worked on during the pandemic – Lapsas Ala was “especially tricky,” Fokina says, as she “wasn’t able to travel there.”
The younger sibling to Hide, Hideaway is a cafe situated at 100 Mount St. in Mayfair; the heritage and history of Mount Street was paramount to Hideaway’s design, as was the fact that the venue is Grade II listed. “We had to be careful not to change much and to keep the Victorian spirit,” explains Fokina. “We tried to make it fit into what’s around it… The brief was that the cafe needed to be airy, welcoming and light, full of tiny details that would be a nod to the street’s past. The greatest features of the space are the antique items that we found,” she continues. “It’s only been open for two months, but it’s received a warm welcome from the Mayfair community.”
Interestingly, the surrounding environment was a huge inspiration for the interiors of the four-bedroom private family home, Lapsas Ala, which when translated from Latvian becomes “Foxes Den.” “The setting is beautiful; white sand dunes, the Baltic Sea, pine tree woodland that is very Nordic and serine,” Fokina says. “It was the key part of the brief – Lapsas Ala should be a tranquil place where many generations of the family could meet and that would work well across the seasons.”
For the project, Studio Caché “collaborated with a local architect [and used] local techniques” to create the new-build wooden house. “The area of Latvia that Lapsas Ala is in is a conservation area,” explains Fokina. “Some of the best wooden architecture is found there, and they’re very proud of that, so we wanted the house’s design to reflect that architectural heritage.”
Though still very young, Studio Caché has a strong sense of style and an effortless ability to create timeless spaces. Fokina says it’s important to her that the studio stay away from trends – unless a client wants something specific – and that she tries to create interiors that are relaxing. Another key element for the studio is a focus on using high-quality natural materials and vintage or antique pieces. “I love how well certain things age… I’m very drawn to objects with history,” Fokina says. “There are so many beautiful [objects and furnishings] that have been created already; I think it’s a shame not to use them. Time makes objects all the more unique – the signs of wear and tear actually make them more beautiful.”
For both Hideaway and Lapsas Ala, Studio Caché found ways to use reclaimed items and minimize waste. The home, for example, features several salvaged architectural elements, including antique stoves. As well as this, Fokina says that across her projects, she “sources as much as [she] can locally to reduce our carbon footprint.” For Lapsas Ala, this included the use of high-quality natural wood and stone. Meanwhile, for Hideaway, Fokina and the team spent time stripping back layers of lacquer that had been put on the floor. It was a surprise when they found a beautiful wooden flooring underneath; “You would never have known it was there,” she mentions. “We sanded it, and that was that – I’m always so happy when that happens and you can reuse things.”
The studio’s environmental impact is something Fokina is always conscious of. “Sustainability is always a big part of what we do,” she says, “It’s definitely the way the industry should be moving – even if you look at design awards, you can see that the projects that take part are putting more focus on sustainability. Clients are more and more conscious of it, and it’s becoming more common. In 2021, you can’t just ignore these issues.”